Some interests are passing fads. They come and go like changing seasons, especially while growing up. But one thing that has stuck with me throughout life is music. My tastes have inevitably changed, luckily for the better (one of the things I’m most confident in is my taste in music). The role music has played in my life is one I will forever be grateful for.
My relationship with music has been nothing short of an evolution. It began as various children’s cassette tapes that I kept in a glittered plastic container and played beside my bed to help me fall asleep. When I upgraded to a bulky cassette/CD/radio combo, I had to yell to my parents to flip the cassette for me when it finished on one side. I remember getting a box of percussion instruments one birthday, a little drum and tambourine and triangle and more. Now I think about it, my parents were brave people for I’m sure dealing with some noise.
Admittedly, I did listen to country for a few years in there. To the point that I had CMT on all day when they actually had huge blocks of airtime solely dedicated to music videos. I would be lying if I said I didn’t still recognize and know the lyrics to way too many early 2000’s country songs. I still have a soft spot of Shania Twain to this day.
Besides that, my dad showed me a lot of his CDs, typically considered “dad music.” Classic rock like Queen and Boston and Supertramp and Eagles and Aerosmith and plenty more. I’m told that when I was 2 or 3, I danced around to heavy Metallica. I cannot verify this claim, but I’m not surprised. Classic rock still makes up a majority of my musical knowledge and listening to those tunes fill me nostalgia and a sense of being at home and young, probably telling my dad to stop singing because he doesn’t actually know the lyrics.
Eventually I started my CD collection. It began with just “borrowing” some of my parents CDs to listen to at night (to this day, I still have to listen to something, whether it’s music or a podcast, to help me fall asleep every night). Fun fact: my first CD? The Shrek 2 soundtrack. I don’t regret that decision, not one bit.
The game changed when I got my first iPod. One of those classic looking ones, except mine was a mint green-blue. One of the first songs I bought off of iTunes? American Pie. And that was when everything was still 99 cents. I looked forward to whenever I got my hands on an iTunes card to see what singles I wanted to pick out. I can’t remember how big my library was at the time, but it was fairly limited.
My tastes have changed drastically, from just random songs other kids were liking and anything catchy from the radio (when I actually listened to the radio). Since then I’ve learned from others how to scour the entire world of music and what the critics like, still while having some guilty pleasures in there, too. As I myself have changed and have discovered my personality, my music has followed suit. It might be one of my favorite ways to see what I still gravitate to and what I used to listen to on repeat that now I can’t stand. I see music has a deep reflection of who I am, the parts of me I can’t always describe in words.
Besides just my listening habits, I was involved in music during my education for many years, starting in piano lessons into percussion in band and singing in choir. While toward the end of that time, it turned very competitive and stressful, whenever I see a choir perform or I listen to the soundtrack from my choir when I traveled with the Midwest Ambassadors of Music, I really do miss it. From my busy schedule, they broke up my day into moments where I could just look away from the textbooks and piling assignments.
I thank music for allowing me to express myself in ways I never could on my own. I am grateful for the initial spark of passion it provoked. And the inspiration it provided me. Sometimes it made me learn how hard I have to work sometimes, especially when I’m not necessarily gifted with any musical talent. I thank music for giving me an escape from my hectic world and mind, for lyrics that speak to the very core of my being, the sounds that send chills up my spine and goosebumps on my arms, that transport me to different times and places, building a soundtrack of memories. Not to mention, it’s a great way in general to bond with others and learn so much about them, what music speaks to them, what artists they gravitate toward.
When it was especially difficult for me to express emotions or understand what I was feeling, I turned to music. Or just ignore emotions all together when I was particularly depressed and anxious. Just listening to the same songs and albums on repeat, sometimes for hours. I still do that. Nothing is as therapeutic as a long solo road trip blasting some great music and belting off-key karaoke.
I know music will always hold a special place in my heart. Usually when people ask what my hobbies are, I don’t have much to say beyond music and maybe watching too much TV. But for me, music is much more than just a hobby. While I can by no means consider it as a career, it’s a piece of me that is essential in understanding me. Because if you have yet to see me rant about either an artist I really love or really detest, you have not really seen me.
So, as one ABBA song goes, “Thank you for the music…thanks for all the joy you’re bringing. Who can live without it, I ask in honesty, what would life be? Without a song and a dance, what are we?”
Yes, a million times. Thank you, world, for providing the beautiful gift of music and for giving it to us all.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie