The importance of finding your song
Anna Falk | Wednesday, November 17, 2021
If you know anything about me, then you know of my love for music.
My journey to developing this passion began with dance. I started dancing when I was little (before I can remember), and I haven’t stopped since. As I picked up more styles and took more classes every week, the types of movement changed and, along with it, the music. I went from doing pliés and changements in ballet to doing God knows what in lyrical class; from Chopin to Florence and the Machine; from Tchaikovsky to Sleeping At Last.
This transition was aided by the melodious tunes from my dad’s old silver Honda Civic. On the days we went to dinner at a restaurant or went grocery shopping, my dad would put on an array of songs by U2, Pearl Jam, Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, the Killers and the like. Buildings passed, the roads stretched onwards and my sister and I jammed out in the backseat like we were performing concerts for the rearview mirror.
Speaking of, I can’t not mention music without talking about my sister. We are concert buddies, playlist collaborators, artist swappers and the most opinionated analysts of our favorite albums. She has shown me all of my favorite music and trekked with me through all of my new discoveries (though, for the record, I found Peach Pit before she did).
Up until about 8th grade, I never understood why music meant so much to people; I simply listened to whatever my family and dance teachers put on. For a younger me, it was just something to dance to in class or a soundtrack for a 16-hour car ride to Minnesota.
I don’t know when the switch was flipped in my brain, but it happened, and I became an avid music lover. I delved into the discographies of Young the Giant, Twenty One Pilots, Panic! At the Disco, COIN, Bastille and countless others. Music wasn’t simply just delightful noise, but it was a multimedia art form that could cross generations and address the masses in simple stanzas and strums of a guitar. It grasped at my heart and shook me to my core; music had changed my life.
For as long as I failed to see the light of music’s burning sun, I never learned how to play it (sans a weeklong guitar class in the summer when I was 10 and the recorder unit in 5th-grade music class). It is one of the biggest regrets from my 19 years of living. I don’t have a voice melodious or well-tuned enough to front a band, my fingers are stubby and can’t stretch over the neck of a guitar and I am not coordinated enough to learn how to use the drums or play the piano.
When I was in 6th grade, my classmates and I were given the chance to participate in band class. While I was interested in playing an instrument, I didn’t want to pay for the materials, and being in band class meant that I had to miss my last year of recess (which I definitely did not want to do).
But what would’ve happened if I decided to take that class? What if I ended up really liking the guitar that one week and begged my mom to let me learn more? What if I decided that my dreams of playing the violin weren’t just dreams, but rather how I should be picturing my reality?
I don’t expect my 12-year-old self to have made these (what I know now as) life-changing decisions. I didn’t know that I would grow to love music as I do now. I knew nothing! I was 12!
Yet, I crave this connection and intimacy with the musical form that cannot be illustrated in even the simplest of words. So, I go to concerts. I meet people with who I can join in music communion. I collect records. I write about it for fun. I continue to dance and show others how music flows in movement.
Music is something so crucial to my living; it has given me friends and unforgettable memories. It has shown me my truest self and made me face my worst nightmares. It has given me shelter from the storm of life. I don’t know where to thank music for how it has provided for me, but I know I can honor it by sharing it with those who need it the most.
The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.