This is the Life

March 26th, 2008

This is the life.

Laying out, soaking up the sun,

Chatting with some friends,

Reading a good book,

Relaxing to some tunes.

This is the life.

And I could never ask for more.

Sunset in DC

Music is Power

March 23rd, 2008

Recently, Karl wrote a post about music and being in band, which now inspires me to write this. I commented on her post but as I was commenting, I realized I had way too much to say about the topic and felt that a post of my own would be so much better. So here it is:

From the second my oldest brother picked up the trombone when he was in 5th grade, I knew that I wanted to be in band and make music, too. Too bad I was only a preschooler and mom said I had to wait till I was in 5th grade. From then on, 5th grade couldn’t come soon enough!

Finally, 5th grade came and it was time to take band! I couldn’t wait! I was going to play trombone, just like my big brother. However, I had short arms and couldn’t quite reach the notes I needed to reach. Plus, bass clef and I didn’t quite get along. So, I tried the trumpet. And fell in love. As I learned more and more on this little brass instrument, I realized just how amazing music is. I fell in love with music and have loved it ever since.

Along came middle school, and the excitement of being able to go to band everyday, instead of just being able to go to it once a week. 7th and 8th grade came and went, with me making the top band in the school and even making it into District Band. Eventually, 4 years of band had passed and still I craved more. I knew that this was an addiction. An addiction to music. I wanted more, wanted to play more and hear more, every minute of every day.

As I entered high school, I made the second best band but decided that the trumpet wasn’t as much fun as it once was. I wanted to learn something new. So, when my band director asked if anyone was up for playing the French horn, since our band didn’t have any, I was first in line. The French horn definitely was not as easy to learn as the trumpet was but I was still up for the challenge. As I got better at this new instrument, my addiction returned and I continued to crave more. For once, this craving was satisfied as we began playing harder music and the music was even more challenging since I was on a new instrument. Come 10th grade, I was in the top band and with that, came marching band and another new instrument, the mellophone (the marching version of the French horn). As high school progressed, I continued with band and marching band, giving up two varsity level sports (field hockey and lacrosse) to stay with my first love. High school was a blur as I basically lost all free time to music, with playing in school, rehearsals, concerts, marching band practice and competitions, festivals, helping the lower bands and even participating in jazz band for one year. 8 years of music, and one dictator of a band director later, I still loved music and enjoyed playing it.

Sadly, I decided not to continue with band in college. I do miss it though. I never really realized just how much I can miss something until I cut myself off from it. I miss making music and working through the hard parts of the song until I get it just right. Music just has this power to it that really can’t be rivaled. This power that just infects me when I finally nail that one note I’ve been trying to reach all day, when I finally play the hardest phrase in the piece perfectly. Music’s power is so far reaching whether you’re the one playing it or just listening to it. It has this freedom to it. It just lets you pour your heart out and express your emotions. It doesn’t judge you, yet, ironically, we judge it.

Music has taught me more than just how to play an instrument and read notes, it has influenced how I live. Learning a song requires more than simply being able to play; it requires perfection, patience, and interpretation. The perfection part has a large impact on who I am, especially when it comes to grades. In music, you can’t get by with a 94% to achieve the highest grade like you can in other classes. Only a 100% is good enough. This perfection makes me feel the same about everything I do; even if I do it well, I always want to do better. Band and music have this mentality of “That was good, but not good enough. Do it again and make it better.” Music has taught me patience, that even if I don’t do it perfectly the first time, that with practice, I eventually will. It has taught me that you have to work at something in order to be proficient at it, that lazing about is not going to make you the best. Interpretation in music is also key. It’s not just notes on a page, it’s music. Playing and interpreting music influences my life because it has taught me to look at things from another perspective. To look at the meanings behind things and to not just take them at their face value.

Music has such a huge impact on my life, on who I am and who I’ve become. There is no way that I could live without it. It makes me so angry when school systems think that cutting the fine arts is a good idea to save money. Fine arts, especially music, are so important in molding young minds. Music is the best type of education one can receive; it teaches so much more than notes. To put it simply, music is power. A power that I have had the pleasure of feeling and aiding these past 9 years.

DJ Obama, Part 2

March 20th, 2008

Awhile back, I wrote a post about the use of music in political advertising, especially in the current campaign. I discussed’s song “Yes We Can” that he recorded with other celebrities, like Scarlett Johannson, Kate Walsh, and John Legend. Last night, I found another song in support of Obama and figured I’d post this one, too. This one, like “Yes We Can” is a collaboration by various celebrities but also features the everyday citizen. This one is also a folksy song (lyric wise) but is now set to a hip-hop beat. One thing that was interesting about this video was that parts of it were spoken in Spanish, bringing together more people this time. Anyways, the new one is called: “”We Are The Ones” and features such names as Jessica Alba, George Lopez, Kerry Washington, and Jamie Foxx. I’ll post more if I come across more.

I also found a video that someone made in response to “Yes We Can.,” entitled “No You Can’t.” They took apart one of John McCain’s speeches to attack McCain and encourage support for Obama. It’s an interesting response to the original and is another folksy type song.

So here are both songs:

“We Are the Ones” by

“No You Can’t”