For as long as I can remember, I’ve loved music.
When I was three, the music teacher had us do a round-about, or whatever the thing is called where one group starts singing and then another group joins in after a couple of lines and then another group joins in after a couple more lines. I remember being fascinated by how the sound started out quiet and small and grew as each group joined before fading out as each group left.
When I was five, I put classical music CD’s in the family stereo and danced around my living room like I was a professional ballerina, matching my movements to the music. I let the melodies carry me to far off dreams of a big stage and a bigger crowd.
When I was nine, I went down stairs to the basement after a bad day at school and put one of my favorite albums in the old CD player and danced to every song until I collapsed on the floor, simply staring at the ceiling and letting the lyrics wash over me and replace the memories of loneliness.
When I was thirteen, I listened to music while I was working at school or at home and let the beats and words become background noise for all of the thoughts running around in my head. Math homework became easier to finish. Words slipped out of my brain and through my fingers onto the keyboard. Lyrics were memorized as I listened to the songs I was singing in chorus.
When I was fifteen, I would put in my headphones and forget the rest of the world for a few hours. I found songs that showed me other worlds. I heard lyrics that told my story. I memorized verses and choruses and bridges and beats until I could identify a song just from the first bar.
My dad sometimes expresses amazement when we’re listening to music in the car or at a restaurant and I know all of the songs. Last time, he asked how long it takes me to learn a song and I shrugged and replied, “I can recognize it after hearing it once and usually have it memorized after hearing it two or three times.” To him, this was crazy because there are songs from his teenage years that he continues to listens to, and yet still doesn’t have all of the lyrics memorized. To me, it makes perfect sense.
If you look at my Spotify or iTunes, I have tons of playlists. Some are collects of various artists or styles, other are things like “favorite songs” or “dance party,” and still others are based on things like characters or books. I listen to different ones depending on my mood, needs, or situation. For example, I listened to acoustic while working on a history project, but Fall Out Boy and Panic! At The Disco while studying for my history exam.
Music is my escape. It’s been there for me when it’s felt like no one else was, and there’s always something new to find in its familiarity. It picks me up when I feeling down or distracts me when the thoughts in my head are getting too loud. It blocks out the rest of the world and lets me live in my own. And for that, I will be forever grateful for it.