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Monday, September 21, 2009

And now, a musical interlude

Recent visitors to my blog may have noticed some jaunty little tunes emanating from the bottom of the page. I realized I hadn't really given an introduction to my newly-added musical background, so I thought this would be an excellent time for a music-related post.
Music has been a major part of my life for as long as I can remember. My mom is a rabid music lover, and one of my earliest memories is of her singing me to sleep at night. My grandparents (my mom's side) are also crazy about music. Every year since I was four, they've taken me to a local ragtime festival, and I've grown up tapping my foot to such classics as the Maple Leaf Rag and the Easy Winners. My dad's side of the family was never quite as into music, but even so, my dad enjoys a good toe-tapper as much as any of us.
Although we may not be aware of it, music is an integral part of almost everything we do. When we see a movie, there is often an underscore that we don't even notice, highlighting the most dramatic scenes of the film. When we walk into a store, an appropriate radio station or soundtrack greets us and invites us to browse the aisles as long as we please. There is music for all types and tastes: cheery, sad, fast, slow, danceable, breathtaking, etc.
Music infiltrates my life in many other ways as well. I am a hobbyist cello player, and I especially enjoy puzzling out tunes from movies and favorite artists on my instrument. When I write, I often put on a selection of Chinese instrumental music, as it helps me concentrate while also giving me energy. As far as the theatre is concerned, musicals are one of my favorite kinds of shows. From the current Broadway hits (Wicked and Legally Blonde, to name a few) to some golden oldies (Oklahoma and Annie Get Your Gun) to some obscure ones that nobody else has probably even heard off (Zanna, Don't, anyone?) my playlists are choc full of showtunes.
And speaking of playlists, this would be a perfect time to bring up yet another way that I express my creativity.
I am the proud owner of an iphone, so I can and do carry my tunes with me wherever I go. Scroll through my song list and you'll be greeted my an insane amount of variety. I'm not the type that listens to just one or two genres. If you put my ipod on shuffle, you may be catapulted from pop to 60's music to showtunes to movie soundtracks to Chinese instrumental to children's music to country pop to Christmas tunes and everything in between.
What's the story with all the variety? Well, the trick is, I keep an open mind. There was a time when I would have turned up my nose at the idea of country pop. My mom has always said she isn't a fan of country, so even though I'd never really tried the genre, I stuck with her opinion. Then I started listening to Shania Twain, thinking she fit more into the "pop" category. Then, once I found the wonderful world of Pandora, I created a station for Shania and started listening to such artists as Rascall Flatts, Carrie Underwood, and Jo Dee Messina. And I discovered something--I actually liked it!
So now I'm careful not to wrinkle my nose at something before I give it a shot. Right now in school (have I mentioned that I'm homeschooled? Hmm--material for a later blog post, I think. :P) we're doing a unit on music appreciation. We're working on the baroque period at the moment (one of my mom's favorites.) Again, I've never been much of a classical music type, but now that I'm listening with open ears, I'm finding some songs I really enjoy. Maybe some Bach will find its way into my ipod one of these days.
But the point of all this is, my music is me. Every song that I make room for on my ipod is important to me. Whether it's a tune from a silly Disney movie from ages ago, a Christmas carol in the middle of July, a Hilary Duff song with lyrics that speak to me, or dance song that's just darn fun to listen to, every song on my ipod will tell you something about me. And if you look at the list as a whole, you'll definitely get a good sense of my personality.
So that playlist you're hearing on this blog, that's a tiny piece of my master playlist. Maybe I'll post a few of my favorite artists and albums sometime--the songs that are playing are some of them. Each one will tell you something abuot me. "Breathe" is my favorite song by one of my all-time favorite artists, Michelle Branch. "Celestial Soda Pop" is the song that goes with a number at a puppet studio I work for. (More about that in the next post.) "Positivity" sums up my view of the world. "Candle on the Water" is from one of my favorite Disney movies ever, Pete's Dragon.
And...in its own way, isn't creating a personal playlist which catalogues, through notes and lyrics, all the things that are important to you...isn't that creative?