Sunday, September 13, 2009

This I Believe

In addition, for the seminar I am taking, I have written my first This I Believe essay, which was really fun. We're going to write several this semester. My professor liked it and so did the other students, and since I'd like to put more effort into my blog posts, here it is:

The Crush I Composed For

I never had a really big crush until the eighth grade, and I was all of thirteen the first time I remember having my thoughts completely overtaken by a face and perfectly imagined persona. He had straight, white teeth and curly blond hair, his smile could flip my stomach in fifteen different ways, and he played the guitar.
Despite all this, what really sets this crush apart is something completely different: he was the first boy for whom I wrote music. I have been composing for five years now, so when I have any strong feeling, a new piece comes running invariably after it. That feeling, however, was the first to draw such a response. I used a fairly standard chord progression, I was later to find out, but I felt like a musical genius when I incorporated my own initials into the notes of the song. I continued to write for this boy throughout the eighth grade. Then, in high school, I continued to compose for various crushes, most of whom didn't know I was doing it. I wrote good music, I think; it was thoughtful, well-worded stuff (when there were words), and the idea of these boys inspired me to do better work.
The boys were not important, in the end. It was the emotion that drove me to music, and the reason that today, I can look through my old notebooks and amateur recordings and have a record of the way I felt from the eighth grade to the present. I know the way I felt and I know when and what made me feel that way- and what I thought of it.
Music changes people; it can affect their emotions and therefore, their actions. But as a musician, composing helps me let my emotions go. Regina Spektor, a popular singer, songwriter, and pianist, sings, "Ideas that have left you never come home." Whereas, for a listener, music may intensify emotion, writing music lets me step away from my emotions and examine my feelings with more distance. I can put everything I feel into words and music and walk away better and happier for it.
So I believe in music, and I believe it's taught me to see my thoughts more clearly- to feel more clearly, in a way. I know that composing music and writing lyrics for songs has helped me to understand myself better. I think it's also helped me not to explode. I understand now that the boy in the eighth grade- or the ninth or the tenth, for that matter- wasn't what made those years so wonderful. It was the personal growth I experienced, which always resulted in my knowledge that I had developed a lot that year, and that the music was there to prove it.
This I believe.

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