I'm surprised I haven't done a post about this yet. Music is a huge part of my life. I've been playing the piano since I was four or five, singing since I was 8 or 9 and played a variety of instruments in between. Music was my savior getting through school. Whenever things were overwhelming or I felt stressed I would sit down at the piano and just play or hop in the shower and just sing. Music used a totally different part of my brain than homework did and it was quite literally a break for my poor tired brain. It was the perfect outlet for rage, sadness and every creative idea I had. I've tried many instruments over the years; viola, harp, ukulele, guitar, but my favorites (that I still play) are my piano, singing, and cello.
I'm classically trained. I play Bach, Mozart, Schumann and I sing Purcell and Mozart. Yes, I love to listen to opera and classical music but I have a deep appreciation (and maybe a little envy) for people who play other types of music. I wish I could play jazz, if fact I tried for about a year to learn jazz but it was so hard.
Music was not something that just came easily to me (perhaps singing was a little easier for me because I was genetically predisposed to being able to sing) and still doesn't, I've really had to work hard to reap the rewards. I will definitely admit that there were times that I wanted to give it all up because it was too frustrating. In fact I did give up piano for a full year but I missed it so much that I couldn't stand it and now the longest I've gone without playing was the 5 weeks I spent in Europe. I had this idea that music would be easy for me because my paternal great-grandfather was a professional opera singer with the Philadelphia Opera and my maternal great-grandmother was also an opera singer. My paternal grandmother was an accomplished pianist and even taught lessons. I really thought it should just be in my blood but it wasn't. It was a lot of work and a lot of time. But it has really paid off. I can now sit down and play almost anything I hear, or sing most pieces that are put before me and that it a good feeling.
If I love music so much, why did I not pursue as a career? I sing and play music for me and only me. If someone enjoys listening then that is great and flattering, but I do it because it makes me happy. I feel like if I did it for money, as a career, it would lose that ability to relieve my stress and make me happy. Plus, it is so personally. I feel like it part of who I am. Every time I would go to an audition and they would critique me, it was surprisingly hard to take because it felt like a critique of my personality. It disappointed my father very much when I decided not to enter the music department at UVic but I couldn't handle losing myself by making my music work.
I believe that music is healing. I believe that it makes you better able to handle life's challenges. Even if you do not play, listening to music can relieve your stress. I think that all children should be exposed to music and given the opportunity to try creating music. I feel like crying when I hear of music programs being cut from our schools. How can they take away from children such a wonderful opportunity to be creative? If there are any parents that are reading this, my hope is that you offer music to your children. It doesn't matter how old they are or if they are "musical", it is important to all of us. If you would like to read more about the importance of music to children, this is an essay on The Importance of Music in Early Childhood or this article called Music and the Mind.
Because I know there are not many people who read this blog, I've decided to share some of my music with those select readers. Here is a piece of music I composted for a contested on the piano, click here. This piece is one that I would use for auditions, click here. And here is a taste of my opera selections, click here. Sorry about the quality, they all were recorded on a mic on my mp3 player that was about the size of grain of rice. Hope you enjoy them.