Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Music In Me

Want to read a post that is pretty disjointed and not very flowy? Then welcome! You've come to the right place.

My cousin Jen commented recently on one of my posts:

"I have noticed that you talk about music and can tell you have a love for it - but you don't have music on your blog?"

This is true, and there are reasons for that.

First, my tastes in music change constantly. I don't think I could keep up with a playlist.

And second (this may sound strange), music is a very personal thing for me. I'm not sure how to explain that so anyone could understand, but I'll give it a shot.

The earliest recollection I have of music in my life is of a beloved 8-track player in our kitchen. My mom would listen to various songs as she went about her day and I would listen, mesmerized by the melodies and the lyrics and the way the songs made me feel.

The first time I ever really performed in front of an audience was after I started taking accordion lessons. I played a song for a small group at a recital and the teacher approached me afterward.

"Why did you sing as you played?" he asked.

"Because there were words," I answered, "and the words help me know where the music goes."

"That's fantastic!" he said. And then, the unexpected words that still coarse through me today: "Keep that music in you. Don't stop singing."

And so I haven't.

I don't know... how can I really describe the music in me?

In my tween years I would sing every chance I got - others' songs as well as the melodies in my own heart, the ones I could never get written down for lack of enough technical knowledge. I would sit in my bathroom with my pink tape recorder at least once a week, recording the music and lyrics that floated around in my head so that maybe someday I could figure out how to write them down.

Music became a way for me to handle anything life could throw at me. A certain song's lyrics can speak the exact feelings of my heart. Another song's beat is the perfect rhythm to express my anger. The way some singers' voices mesh together in a perfect blend of harmonies help me feel at peace. Music inspires me.

I love playing around with different notes, trying to harmonize with the songs I love on the radio.

In my mind, poetry is another form of music. The beauty of certain words and the way they can come together to express something inside of me is almost unreal.

I love music.

Like I said, my tastes in music change constantly. I love different artists at different times for different reasons. Some for the story of how they made it big. Some for the words that are so fun to sing along to. Others for the imagery that their music brings to mind. Some impress me with their creativity or cleverness. Others help me see that I am not the only one who feels a certain way.

Emotions. Words. Meaning. Inspiration. Feelings... does any of this make any sense?

I often need to close my eyes as I listen. I always hope no one is looking my way and thinking I am asleep. Some music is just so much more when I see it behind closed eyes. When there are no visual distractions it is easier to wrap my mind around a certain phrase or harmony - and just bask in what I'm hearing.

Some music literally makes me catch my breath.

I don't know - it's kind of like trying to describe sugar or salt to someone who is unfamiliar with "sweet" or "salty".

Words are just not sufficient.

9 comments:

pam said...

Your words are more than sufficient! I love music too, but have learned from years of trying that I cannot create it (verbally or instrumentally). That doesn't stop me from singing in the car though.

Rebecca said...

Your mom listened to music? What kind of music did she like?

Cami said...

I thought it was interesting that your mom listened to music too. Isn't she deaf? Or is she only partially deaf?

Anyways, this post is wonderful. You are awesome.

P.S. Thanks for listening to my sob story yesterday. You are a true friend Sistah Blaaaaaack!

Gerb said...

pam- car singing is the best!

bec & cami - I wondered if anyone was going to catch that. I didn't want to go into a long explanation of it in the post, but she has some residual hearing and can hear certain tones. Not the words so much. She loved any song that we could interpret for her. My earliest memory of interpreting a song was one called "Daddy Don't You Walk So Fast". She liked Elvis, too. And the Bee Gees. It makes me laugh to remember how we signed "Da Do Run Run Run"! Anyway, when we kids started to enjoy our own music she appreciated all of ours as well. She used to ask me to sign "Somebody" by Depeche Mode and "I Just Called to Say I Love You" by Stevie Wonder all the time when I was a teenager.

Another thing - we would actually go to "deaf dances" with our parents where everyone had a balloon and would dance to the beat they could feel in the balloon. So they could appreciate music that way, too.

Anyway - bonus post for you who read the comments! ;0)

Gina said...

Gerb. This post is so you. You are so unique. (And by unique, I do mean the good kind of unique. You know how some people can hide their true feelings behind a word like that...ahhh...I digress.) I love that music is such a part of who you are. Your words were sufficient.

I did catch the part about your mom and the music. I gotcha.

I, too, love music. I have a horrible memory though. I can never tell you the artist names or titles. I can sing along, but I often times have the words wrong. I still love it!

Teachinfourth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Teachinfourth said...

Words and music do something to a lot of us...

When you used a few of the lines it made me think of a certain 'soundtrack' which was played around your home for awhile by many of the family members.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Tq9ML-0HEsg

Gerb said...

Gina- I'm with you on the artist names/titles. I like to listen to "My 99.5 FM" just because that computer-voice-lady says the title and artist after each song.

tchn5th- You know what's funny? I am a total closet HSM fan, but I enjoy the songs much more when I watch the cast singing them. They make everything look so fun. Not all sing-songy fighting like in West Side Story.

Richard & Natalie said...

Gerb, My cold is worse today and I am supposed to rest so I can go with some friends to see "New Moon" tonight. To pass the time I am reading back into archives of some of my favorite blogs- yours included.
I absolutely love and identify with this post.
Music is such a personal thing. I have often heard a song for the first time and had it move me in a such a way that it feels like it has reached down and illuminated something in me that was hidden; that I didn't know was there. I learn something more about me and grow more into the person I am becoming. Sometimes I laugh, cry, or simply smile, but I always have a thirst to hear it again and again. I hope that made an ounce of sense- my head is foggy, so if it didn't blame it on that. :)

I would love to see you sign "Somebody" one day. It is one of those songs that touched me like I described above and seeing it done in ASL, would be absolutely amazing.