Da Musically Inclined Bomb

DePauw University's First Year Seminar on Writing about Music

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Bad A$$, Certified

Take #2

My beginnings started humble enough. I had no great desire to be a musician, and back then if you had asked me what was meant by being a musician, I probably could not have told you. My dad was the General Manager of the South Bend Symphony, so music was nothing new. Fourth grade had rolled around; this meant that the students of John Marshall elementary school could join orchestra. I do not remember being forced to join, but I believe there was an understanding that I would join orchestra. The teacher brought all the shiny new instruments and we ooed and awed at them. The teacher played the theme from Jaws on the double bass and I was hooked. This was to be my faithful steed into the world of music.
I quickly became immersed in music, but the shine was beginning to come off the apple. Needless to say music school was not looking anywhere near in my future. I was bored. The trivial bass lines made music drab and uninteresting. Keep in mind I was in fifth grade or sixth grade at the time. The solution became for me to take private lessons. This made no sense to me. Why should I do something for an hour in my house that I did not want to do for thirty minutes while getting out of class? The big reason to do orchestra was that you got out of class a few times a week, even this did not sweeten the deal.
I had a friend who played cello and around this time we would play for our church. Now this made a lot more sense to me. The music was much more challenging due to the fact that we played a duet; we both had to pull our own weight. This was no problem for my friend, but as for me, my technique and familiarity with my instrument had become quite foreign to me. My skills were greatly below my friend's.
I asked my dad repeatedly if I could quit. The answer was a resounding no. So I did what any kid would have done, I faced the facts. In middle school and high school I became interested in theatre. I wanted to be in all the plays in high school, so I was. The summer before however I played in a summer production of The King and I. The pit was a lot more fun than I thought, but the real treat was getting to see the rehearsals. I decided next year I would be in the production.
The next spring I was set to audition, I remember being so nervous that I thought I was going to vomit, although when I was on stage I was unusually comfortable. One thing I can say about me is that I have always felt a little awkward in my own skin, but on stage that went away, much like rinsing shampoo out of my hair. I left the audition humming the songs and was eager to find out the results. I am not quite sure what I expected to get, but all I know is that enough time had passed that I really wasn’t thinking about it anymore. In fact I remember my parents bringing me my tie because I forgot it for my youth symphony concert when they told me. I was so frustrated that I didn’t really think about it, but believe it or not I had a lead. The rehearsals started and I felt right at home. I did not even go out at night so I could go to bed and the next day would come. I was in love. Not only that, but I could sing. So much so that people who had studied for years were asking me how long I had studied to which my answer was never.
A friend of mine encouraged me to take lessons to develop my talent. I listened and the rest is history. I was developing at a staggering pace. I, of course, had to be told this by my teacher, because I had no way to tell, I was still very new. I went from simple musical theatre pieces to Il lacerato sprito and Madamina, il catalogo e questo.
Music however was not always my friend. Even though music is very fun, as soon as you let on you are enjoying it, someone will inevidably ask you to perform so much that your love becomes a chore and not your passion. My junior year had come and I was hot off of summer shows and getting right back into more plays and intense study of music. I was always good at balancing what I wanted to do and what others asked me to do. I would not be fortunate for very long though. The perfect storm was upon me. One day in class I had a thought that would not leave my head. A thought so miniscule that I shouldn’t have given it the time of day, but for how ridiculous it was, it would not leave me. Day after day, month after month, pounding in my head, back and forth trying to put logic to a thought that had no logic. (You will have to excuse my being vague, but I WILL NOT TELL YOU WHAT IT WAS! So please don’t ask.) But I digress. To make a long story short, I became depressed. I didn’t want to do anything anymore. Music did not bring me joy anymore. Music was a reflection of what I thought I used to be. I could not enjoy anything like that anymore. Even though, that time has passed I feel it every now and again. Much like the family member no one likes, but still shows up at Thanksgiving. In these times in my life is when I realized that music has a life too. It will be there in the good times and maybe not in the bad. I thought music was my I thought I did not care for music much anymore, it turns out I was just to upset and mad to realize that my love will always be there. I sincerely hope that none of you lose hope in music like I did once. Happiness with music from happiness from your own life, you must want to do it. I wish I had a happy ending to this tale but I don’t, because the story isn’t over yet.
That was the sad part of the story, but the truth is music is just music. You can hate it, enjoy it, love it, want it, or whatever and what makes it special is that it can make you experience all those feelings, and no matter how much you try to deny it music keeps on playing. What helps me is to keep a sense of humor. You don’t need to make anyone else laugh, just yourself. Every time I think of that, the music plays a little louder and a little prettier.

7 Comments:

At 10/01/2006 7:27 PM, Blogger Kitt_Katt said...

Ok...um "Bad A$$ Certified" why?

 
At 10/01/2006 7:52 PM, Blogger Nat said...

Because I put the title for him and he said I could put whatever I wanted....since it took me 15 minutes to get the link working.

 
At 10/01/2006 8:29 PM, Blogger Emily Rose said...

I think the best thing about music is how it is interpreted differently depending on the circumstances. Even if "music is just music" it is the simplicity of the complex subject that makes it important.

 
At 10/01/2006 9:06 PM, Blogger iheart-t-ravs said...

I like this draft-it gives a lot more detail into who you are as a musician.

 
At 10/01/2006 11:21 PM, Blogger Becca said...

Your last paragraph was so prose-y it made me smile. Nice work!

ps - Louder and prettier? I hear Ben Folds.

 
At 10/01/2006 11:40 PM, Blogger Vera Lynn Waters said...

i like your title. also, i love your last paragraph. i think it's beautiful. i don't know if i agree with you because i don't think music is just music. i think music is the only thing in this universe that matters. but i do agree with you that music is what you make of it. i think it's sad that so many people don't make anything of it.

 
At 10/01/2006 11:59 PM, Blogger Melissa said...

I know the whole doing what I want to do and doing what other people want me to do far too well..

 

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