I am taking a Rudiments of Music class at Penn State. Here is my assignment:
In Reflection Paper No. 1, you are to reflect upon your experiences with music prior to beginning this course—as listener, as participant—and what part music plays in your life.
When I was about 5, my relatives liked to ask me what my favorite song was. It amused them to hear me say “La Isla Bonita” by Madonna. I am not sure why my family found that so funny. Today I like to think it is because I didn’t name a children’s song, and because I was addicted to MTV (in its early years). Though I never pursued music professionally, it would play a large part in my life.
Starting at the age of 6, I participated in choir all the way through high school. Initially, I just liked singing and it wasn’t until the age of 8 that I realized I had a talent for it. In third grade every recess I “competed” in a singing competition on the playground judged by one of my girlfriends. I won every single day performing popular Disney tunes. The only day I lost was when I decided to try something “edgy” and sang “Under The Sea” with an awful Jamaican accent.
A few weeks before starting high school, I spontaneously decided to audition for a performing arts magnet high school slightly further away from home. I couldn’t play the piano and I couldn’t read sheet music, but I still showed up to the audition with a music book from Les Miserables and attempted to follow the music while mimicking how Patti LuPone sounded on the CD. I was incredibly nervous, screwed up the timing at the end of the segment and concluded my performance by sighing defeatedly. All this was caught on video and given to me as a gift from my teacher years later.
Despite a mortifying performance, the instructors must have seen potential in me because I was accepted to the school. Thus began a four-year immersion into the world of musical theater, jazz choir, chamber choir, acting and dancing. This was also around the time I began discovering music by Enigma, Cirque Du Soleil, Weezer, Green Day, Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails and Andrew Lloyd Webber. I didn’t really care who was making the music, or how different it sounded as long as it moved me, and music has always moved me profoundly, sometimes to the point of tears. This was the time of typical teenage angst, and I would spend nights falling asleep with my headphones on.
After graduating from the academy, I drifted away from dreams of being a musical theater actress. I realized that though I love singing with all my heart, I lacked the passion required to live the life of a struggling artist. I sing from inspiration, not on demand. Over the years I fell in love with film and filmmaking is where I stayed. Now I enjoy the luxury of returning to my voice lessons, taking up the piano (it’s only been a few weeks now), and getting to choose this class to fulfill a requirement at Penn State. I am hoping a combination of these three learning tools will aid me in my next goal. I want to write songs for my film and video projects. I have a musical episode planned for the second season of a web series I co-created. I am currently “writing” all the songs and will be playing the love interest. I will feel accomplished if I can at least write down the main melody to my tunes on sheet music by December!