Since before I can remember, I have always had a fascination with music. The combinations of different pitches and organized sounds made my ears hum with pleasure. It is what has driven me to learn to play so many different instruments, what has inspired me to join a number of musical organizations, and what has caused me to pursue musical academic courses in both high school and college. I didn’t always understand music, but I gradually came to befriend it, and discover the rules and inner working of the musical craft.
From the age of two, when I ran up to a professional pianist in a department store and asked him to play “Old McDonald Had A Farm”, to the age of ten, I never really understood music. I had a strong appreciation for the sounds of music, but never really played an instrument. I enjoyed listening to songs and picking out the melody on a piano note-by-note, but otherwise, my journey with music had not called me to learn to play an instrument yet. However, when picking out classes for my sixth grade year, my mother insisted that I take Band, claiming that I had a talent for music that both she and my father could not comprehend. I was confused, as I had never really played an instrument, but obliged. I decided to play the trombone, and took lessons for a year before deciding that I could learn the instrument better by teaching myself. And now, seven years later, I still play the trombone, and have played the instrument in my school’s wind ensemble, marching band, and even in an All-State level jazz band, in addition to teaching myself to play similar brass instruments such as the baritone, trumpet, and tuba.
During my seventh grade year, I joined my middle school’s jazz band as a trombonist. I noticed that the band was missing a bass player, and for some odd reason, I felt called to fill this position. So over the next few months, I took it upon myself to save up money and purchase a bass guitar, and then teach myself to play it. Six years later, the same bass is currently sitting under my bed in my dorm room. During the years after taking the position of bassist for my middle school’s jazz band, I have played bass in my high school’s jazz band during my junior and senior years, played in my church’s contemporary worship band, and even taught my self how to play the upright/string bass.
From there, where do you go? For some reason, I felt called to play the drums next. I had no clue why, but I decided to trust my gut. Honestly, of all instruments, I think that the drums took me the longest to learn how to play. Every time I play, I find myself learning new rhythms, and improving my techniques, which I believe is a microcosm for life. Every day you learn something new and become more confident in your abilities. Since beginning to play drums five years ago, I have played in a band with my high school friends, and played both tenors and snare drums on my high school’s Drumline.
My freshman year of high school, I realized that I already knew how to play 2/3rds of the normal rock band instruments, so I thought “Why not learn how to play the guitar?” and so I took it upon myself to do so. Guitar came much simpler to me, which was honestly surprising. I was confused as to why, but didn’t question it. Four years later, and through this time, I have come to love taking improvised solos over jazz backing tracks, playing along to recordings of classic rock music, and have even played in the pit band of one of my high school’s musicals. Also, with playing guitar, I have taught myself to play similar stringed instruments, such as the banjo and ukulele.
Finally, I learned to play the piano my sophomore year of high school. I enjoy playing the piano, because of all instruments, it is the one I can play most easily by ear. This came as a shock to me. After five years of learning to play new instruments with ease, I wondered why everything seemed to go so smoothly. As a senior, I took AP Music Theory, and throughout the year, everything regarding music began to make sense to me. These abstract ideas I had formed over my years began to come together like pieces of a puzzle. I finally understood why certain chords naturally went together, and why there were so many similarities between instruments, which allowed me to transfer knowledge between these instruments, and seemingly learn to play new instruments with ease. To describe this newfound sense of amazement with music is difficult to do in words, but I hope that after this semester, I will have improved my writing skills enough to do so.