Here is another essay from a Grade 11 Fundamentals of Music student describing her relationship with Music. It’s very personal (but I have her permission to post it) and that’s its greatest strength: It’s authentic.
This reminds me how lucky I am to teach Music to young adults who are invested in this collaborative effort. But while the ensemble is collaborative, there are individual rewards 🙂
(it’s quite long, but definitely worth the read!)
My relationship with Music; there are so many ways to think about and describe it. The way Music understands everything about me, the way Music takes care of me and doesn’t judge me, the way Music loves me and treats me kindly, and the way she makes me feel like I can put everything on the table for everyone to see without being afraid.
Lately, I have been stressed about my skills and techniques, my marks in my classes, and about getting into university. I wasn’t dealing with the stress and I was certainly not aware of all the good things that were happening in the present, so I decided to go talk to my middle school band teacher, Ms. Lansky. I realized that I hadn’t ever thanked her for motivating me to get to where I am today, so I started there and continued on about how I was and how school was going and in the midst of my little freak out, she stopped me and told me: “You can do anything if you set your mind to it and keep your confidence up.” They were some of the few words she said, but that was all I needed to hear. I later went home and played for hours and hours and I finally felt like my emotional connection had strengthened. I had finally reached where I wanted to be all along. I was upset the other day, so I put my flute together and played a song and I felt released from the anger almost immediately and sunk into a world of peace that I never wanted to leave. Sometimes I fight the fear of opening up to Music and those are the times that playing turns into practicing, but this time I was completely vulnerable from the very start, at last.
I feel like Music really understands who I am, what I love and how I feel at the present moment. Sometimes, she’s the only one able to cheer me up. I feel unafraid to be judged by my Music because I know there will be no judging going on between us. The way Music is so tender and loving makes me feel like I belong to something so great, so special and so wonderful, which of course I do! The soft and comforting sounds could ease me to sleep, calm me down or cheer me up. The way her soothing sounds make me feel at rest, like a mother talking and hushing her baby to sleep. I love Music and I was having my doubts about if this was really what I wanted to do with my life until I recently found the answer, which was a definite yes.
I think the reason why I love Music so much is that when I play, I can finally open up and show myself to everyone. It can speak louder than my words ever could. I love the feeling of being vulnerable but trusting in myself, and in Music, that I will be fine and, at that moment, nothing can hurt me because I won’t let it.
Playing with [Nikki] for the first time was an excellent moment for the both of us. It was nice to open up to her and feel comfortable right away. I loved playing with her, probably because of how she feels the same way about Music and how we can totally be ourselves around each other, knowing we won’t do any harm. We had an instant connection this year. Maybe our interests in Music, but I think there’s a stronger connection, something I don’t have with anyone else. We had a really great conversation the other day, right after she suggested that we play together, about how other people can’t get in our way of being happy and in the way of what we want to do. We gave each other hope and formed an even stronger connection between us. She told me something that’ll stick for a long time: “If things get rough, just keep smiling and you’ll get through it.” The conversation was so meaningful and inspirational for the both of us, leading us to create the wonderful experience we desired while playing together. I would normally try and avoid playing with someone else because I’d be afraid of not being good enough or getting embarrassed, but with the relationship that we both have through Music, I don’t feel the weird or awkward sensation running through me making me nervous for no reason! I feel like I am finally able to express my full emotion and thoughts through the sound I create. I love the way Music feels, reaching out and holding the hand that connects me to a different world than the one I’m used to. I don’t know how someone couldn’t want to be a part of it! For a long time, I was afraid of that connection and going to that place, but when I did, I found that this was the place that would make me a different person, this was the place that would make me a musician.
I will always want Music to be my own, unique experience, my thoughts, my emotion, and if I don’t live it, it won’t come out of my instrument or my imagination! I am not sure what made me decide that I needed to write this all down, maybe my recent realizations of my strong, undying love for Music, my friendship with Music growing stronger with each day that passes by, or my experiences with other great musicians that I understand how I feel about everything. All of this makes one of my favourite quotes come to mind:
“Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm, meaning, and happiness to life and to everything” – Unknown.
I guess you could say that I had a reawakening that made me realize all of this, but it helped me finally find what I’ve been looking for all this . I finally found what it feels like to be a musician, and yet my journey has just begun.
I love that. An authentic and thoughtful connection with Music. I feel so thankful to them for their openness, security and honesty.
Now, here’s this week’s assignment:
Ask your students to write 1/2 – 1 page about what Music means to them. You could phrase this in a few different ways:
- Describe your relationship with Music.
- Explore how you connect with Music on a daily basis.
- If Music was a person, how would you interact? Are you friends? Enemies? Lab Partners? One-Uppers?
But please include the caveat of be authentic and honest with yourself. If you haven’t built a connection of openness and awareness between your students (because that certainly doesn’t happen over night), remind them that they will not be judged or assessed on their opinion/thoughts/feelings. It’s personal and there is no right or wrong answer.
If you do it and want to alk about it, post how it went in the comments below!
PS: [ ] imples the name has been changed.