Why I Do What I Do, Part 2

I promise at some point I’ll stop doing “Part 2″s to things, but I swear this one is really necessary.

Lately this has been happening a lot:

;

But in all honesty, I’ve gotten a lot of “Why music?” or “Oh, that’s fun!” or “That’s not a REAL major. Pick a REAL major” on this lately, and I’m not sure why. I mean, I do know why. General society sees music as something nonessential, or at least not in the way that I am studying it. Justin Bieber, One Direction, Nicki Minaj? A-okay! Dvorak, Chopin, Bach? Ehh. Not so much.

This is something that continues to and forever will astound me. All of our modern day Western artists grew out of the old guys, the ones that shaped Western music to be what it is today. Maybe you can’t exactly trace Justin Bieber directly back to Beethoven (note: props to WordPress or Apple or whoever decided not to put “Bieber” in the dictionary), but those guys came first, and they were basically geniuses, and they deserve all the respect and attention we can give them in order to keep them and their music alive.

Last night I played my first college concert. It was an “All-Dvorak” thing, featuring the Carnival Overture, the Cello Concerto, and Symphony No. 8. It was amazing. I’m not kidding when I say I’ve never played that hard in my life. I actually moved, which I apparently never do, and on the (barefoot–I haven’t worn heels in a while) walk home, I was simultaneously completely drained and ridiculously energetic. When I get very tired, I talk a lot and tend to get a bit philosophical, so there was certainly a bit of that going on. I really don’t remember specifics–I just remember the feeling. It’s a feeling you get after very good concerts, when you know you’re surrounded by great musicians who all care just as much or more than you do and who put forth their best to make for a fantastic performance. It’s a joyous and accomplished feeling, like you just did something really important and worthwhile. It’s this feeling that I want to continue happening in my career as a musician. This is part of why I continue to have the “fun” or “worthless” (whichever you prefer) major.

The other part occurred when I returned to my dorm after trekking barefoot across campus jabbering away. Shortly after I got back, one of my friends entered the room and informed me that the music combined with his own thoughts had moved into tears.

I MADE SOMEONE CRY. But in a good way. I have never done that before, to my knowledge. It made me feel ridiculously important. Actually, just sitting here, knowing that music can create and move so many human emotions, and that I was part of the force behind that, makes me absolutely positive that I am in exactly the right field.

Music is not pointless. It is an essential part of humanity. Without the arts, without these sounds that are emotion channeled into pitches, humans are not human. Think about everything we couldn’t do without music. No one would buy things because there would be no jingles. Movies would be boring as shit with just people talking and walking around. What would you listen to in the car? What would you do on Saturday nights? Dance to silence? And, as John Cage has so humorously showed us in “4:33” (YouTube it if you don’t know what I’m talking about), even silence can be music as well. We can’t live without it. I couldn’t be the person I am without it.

So I’m going to follow this advice and keep doing what I love, no matter what I’m told. I’ll never be a Hilary Hahn, but that doesn’t mean I can’t ever bring life to some small section of the world in the future. I’m excited!

Oh, and I might also follow this advice

~J

All credit for links/images again goes to www.whatshouldwecallconservatory.tumblr.com, which rocks and has recently become my life.

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