Music. It jolts me awake in the morning, keeps me company while driving, helps pass the time if alone and livens up writing, shower, or meal time. I use it as a productivity tool, thanks in part to curated focused playlists on Spotify.
As a toddler, the sounds of the Eagles, Motown, and Gypsy Kings permeated the halls of the house I grew up in. My parents took my sisters and I to New Jersey Performing Arts Center concerts for an annual dose of classical music. My dad also took me to the flutist James Galway’s at NJPAC, witnessing a rendition of “Flight of the Bumblebee” that stuns me to this day.
You can still catch me listening to those artists and genres mentioned previously, but I am open to taking in an eclectic array of artists, songs, and genres.
I learned to play musical instruments. I chose flute in the fourth grade, and in high school I picked up instruments found in the pit section of a marching band, from the bells to marimba and even the triangle. I spent the last two years of high school on the field, playing bass drum. The youngest sister also played drums, and as a Hanukkah present one year, we were gifted a drum set, taking private lessons with an instructor the high school band director recommended. In college, after one semester of music theory followed by private drum lessons for credit, music evolved mostly into a spectator sport through listening or attending concerts.
I saw the Eagles in concert with my dad, serving as the first non-classical concert I attended.
I took advantage of the many venues near my alma mater, Goucher. I went to see the Smashing Pumpkins in D.C., chill with Matt Nathanson at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor venue, rock out to Brand New, attend concerts at The Recher down the street, shout along to Matt & Kim at Get into Goucher Day, and listen to various artists live at the Ottobar, Sonar, and 930 club.
I made music festival going a yearly affair throughout high school and college. Vans Warped Tour and Bamboozle were the standards in July and August. While seeing hardcore band Thursday, friends and I swept up in a mosh pit, narrowly escaping with a bleeding weeks-old pierced cartilage. I crowdsurfed during Motion City Soundtrack’s set, stood in line for autographs from The Rocket Summer, and eventually convinced my parents to let the youngest sister be my summer festival buddy.
In the four years of living in Xi’an, the Strawberry Music Festival and Big D and the Kids Table were the only source of live music beyond the palpable sounds of the bar/pub performers. The Strawberry Music Festival 草莓音乐节 exposed me to new genres of Chinese music. I added Soda Green 苏打绿, Hedgehog 刺猬, and Black Head 黑撒, a local band famous for singing in Shaanxi dialect, to my repertoire. 草莓音乐节 was attended on a whim, thanks to my GRE math tutor asking me to tag along at the last minute, obtaining tickets from a scalper. I saw ska-punk band Big D and the Kids Table at the whim of a New Media student, a senior attending the class taught to sophomores after being a few credits shy of graduating.
Music, as a lifeline, pick me up and endless source of entertainment, has served me well. I do not foresee that ever changing. In related news, hubby and I will see Foreigner in concert this week 👍.
Stay tuned as only three days remain. Check back tomorrow to hear all about the last time I had myself a good cry 😢
R: What makes you feel better, always?