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  • Lacie Carpenter

Music: It’s Just a Word?


Music. It’s just a word, right? Two syllables. Three consonants and two vowels. Break it down and you have nothing but an element of speech. The word itself doesn’t hold any significant meaning...no words do. They are just-words. But if you start to put words together, they make a sentence, pretty soon a paragraph; then maybe a book, or poem, or song. Yet, music, the word, seems to be used quite often. It’s constantly used in arguments in school districts, even the idea of music was banned in parts of Europe during WWII. So, why is music so powerful? Have you ever truly wondered why people play, sing, write, dance (to) music? Go all the back to the beginning of time...wherever you believe that is. Think about it. Why music? I want you to think about your all-time favorite song. Only one. Got it? Now, picture in your mind the first time you heard it. Where were you? What were you doing? What do you remember most-the lyrics, the beat, or the instruments? Mine: “Shiver Me Timbers”. Written by Tom Waits-performed by Bette Midler. I was 8 years old and it was off my first cd I ever received—“Experience the Divine.” I thought it was a million times better than “Wind Beneath My Wings.” It’s a live recording of the song and she started it off by talking. The entire audience knew the song by the first note. That was magical. In a few short fragments, Midler summed up the entire song. —“This song isn’t about the sea at all. It’s about trying to get some place, get out of it-you know, get out of whatever...just get away.” Waits’ lyrics are perfect and his clever usage of similes and metaphors aren’t cliche. It made me wonder why he wrote such words and what was happening in his life. Midler’s interpretation is what was poignant though. She caught every word and put her own experiences inside them. So that word-music.... It isn’t just a word to you is it? It’s what you put inside the word. Your experiences. Sometimes we take music for granted. Like it’s going to be in this world forever. Picture a world without music for a second. Now, imagine a world without any sound at all. Not even vibrations-nothing. Silence. It’s deadly. It’s blank. Emotionless. Think back to when you had an experience with music-good, bad, or ugly. If could be you going to a concert that your parents didn’t want you going to or performing your favorite piece in front of a live audience for the very first time. Maybe it’s a simple as signing up for orchestra in middle school or dancing in Swan Lake. The first song you wrote—the first hit song you wrote. That time when you never thought your music teacher believed in you an inch until they gave you a standing ovation at your recital. It could be a memory of your child trying to play the trumpet for the first time and it sounded like they were going to blow their nose off-then suddenly after months of ear torture, they are actually making this thing called music. Maybe you remember the time they cut all the Arts programs out of your school because fine, visual, and performing arts “don’t teach a child anything”...so say some adults who can’t remember the music in their lives. Music is a language that everyone speaks...some speak it a little more fluently. However, you can’t walk one foot and not strike up a conversation with someone about favorite singer or musician. They will smile and have an answer. (Unless you are bothering them-let’s not go up to random strangers and try this.) :) If you ever wonder why someone becomes a musician-think about why and how music has impacted your life. Amp it up about a billion times and that’s how we feel about music. We are so passionate about creating this incredible beauty that we have to shout it from the rooftops; no matter how silly others may think we are. If you wonder why we put a price on our music, know that it’s not about the music at all. The price is for equipment, time spent prepping, travel, room and board, engineers, and instrument techs... If you wonder why your favorite indie artist isn’t making it commercially, it’s because local businesses either don’t want to hire local artists or they don’t want to pay them what they deserve. (There is a time and place to play for free and it isn’t for a three or four hour show at a bar.) This is where music becomes a business. It’s a real job. The hustle is real. The rehearsals are long and hard. Our fingers bleed, reeds are broken, strings pop in our faces during performances and we have to keep playing... Music isn’t something silly. It’s a job just like anything else. Granted we don’t perform major surgery or get people out of lawsuits...but we heal the soul. We can make you forget what an awful day you had. One song can flood back memories. We can make you laugh and dance and cry. Imagine that world again. The one without any sound and no vibrations. Complete silence. Imagine the world without movies or tv’s, paintings, theatre, chairs, beds, clothes, cars, cellphones, radios, computers...the list can go on. I’ve been talking about music but I just listed many things that surround us on a daily basis-all were created by someone who had a vision. Artists. If you take art away, you’ll never know if there was a future inventor, painter, dancer, guitarist, or underwater basket-weaver... But music... It’s just a word, right?  


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