My name, in ancient Sanskrit, translates directly to music. Perhaps it was destiny that brought along such a happy coincidence, since music has played an integral role in my life.
My mother took me to my first piano lesson at the tender age of five, at a time when I couldn’t yet speak English. As I learned a new language in school, I learned a completely different one outside of the classroom. I learned to read music much earlier than I learned to read any other language, so in essence, it was the first full language I acquired.
Music has translated into almost every aspect of my life. Early in my musical journey, I realized music’s connections to math. When I learned about fractions and percentages, my musical knowledge also expanded into sixteenth and thirty-second notes, which involved subdividing a measure into minuscule equivalent parts. It may not have been extraordinarily difficult, but to a fourth grader, learning both concepts at the same time made both simpler.
High school brought yet more connections between academics and music . When I started studying Spanish in high school, many of the adjectives I learned were similar to the florid Italian ones I had seen on my sheet music. Tempo markings in my music like allegro, which my music dictionary had translated simply to “fast,” were made clearer when I learned that in Spanish, alegre meant happy and lively. This brought a whole new meaning to what the composers of my music had originally intended each piece to be played as. Keeping in mind the new-found insight it had given me, I started appreciating Spanish and the beauty of language more. Music also showed up in my other subjects, like history. In my sophomore year English class, we were assigned to write an essay comparing pieces of art. Of course, I chose classical music as my art form, and decided to research Wagner’s famous “Ride Of The Valkyries” and Schoenberg’s lesser-known “A Survivor From Warsaw,” two completely opposite pieces. By researching their composers and the world events surrounding their creations, as well as the intricate musical nuances that lay within each, I heard the pieces with a new perspective. Suddenly, Wagner’s majestic brass fanfares sounded like nationalistic pride, and I could clearly hear the pain behind Schoenberg’s atonal orchestral melodies. Uncovering the background behind each composition was fascinating, and music felt more like a means for expressing a story than ever.
Music, of course, hasn’t only helped me in an academic sense; it has given me opportunities for leadership and self-growth. By being a part of my high school’s band, I have grown immensely as both a musician and a leader. Surrounding myself with people just as fervent about music as I am has intensified my passion, and in an effort to contribute as much as I can, I have been section leader of my section for the past two years. This has brought me many responsibilities, like managing a large group and motivating them to try their best, as well as skills like teaching and conducting.
Although I may not be the most talented musician or even be exploring music as a career option, it has given me a way of finding myself through art. The feeling I get when I can finally sight-read a piece perfectly, or introduce a lesser known artist to my friends proves to me each time that being lost in music is the most enlightening place to be.
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