What Music Means To Me

Edward Bulwer-Lytton once said: “Music, once admitted to the soul, becomes a sort of spirit, and never dies.” I love this quote because it validates my belief that music speaks directly to our souls. It becomes deeply ingrained in the very framework of who we are and it shapes us as we develop and mature as human beings.

When I was in elementary school, I would take the microphone from my toy cassette tape player, hold it up to my mom’s boom box and record early 2000’s hits that were playing on the radio (“Stacey’s Mom” and “Hollaback Girl” were two of my favorites). This collection of shaky, distorted recordings served as my original iTunes library, allowing me to listen to what I wanted, whenever I wanted.

One Christmas, my parents gifted me a karaoke machine complete with some instrumental CDs to sing along with. My favorite album featured a variety of beloved classic rock songs – Boston’s “More Than A Feeling,” Robert Palmer’s “Addicted To Love,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Down on The Corner.” To this day, whenever one of these songs comes on, I can’t help but to sing along.

My CD collection has always been extensive – everything from Johnny Cash to Parachute. Even in the age of MP3s and Spotify, I find myself gravitating towards the CD aisle in Target. There’s something about holding a physical CD in your hand, admiring its album artwork and leafing through the insert full of behind-the-scenes photos.

I’ve recently become a collector of vinyl. It all started with a visit to a local flea market, where a man was selling off his own curated record collection. For less than $10, I acquired 5 or 6 beautiful records in mint condition.

Immediately, I was hooked.

I love the thrill of digging through dusty boxes of vinyl and uncovering hidden gems. I have already collected albums from some of my favorite artists of all time - Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Elton John. I’m still dying to get my hands on a copy of Janis Joplin’s Pearl.

For me, music has always been a constant. I can associate nearly every memory I have with a particular song. By the time I was four, I knew every word to Uncle Kracker’s “Follow Me.” My dad used to sing it to me and my sister when he was driving us home from the babysitter’s house every day. I would rock out in my car seat, singing along word for word much to the amusement of my father.

When I hear The Temptations’ “My Girl,” I remember my family members swinging me around on the dance floor at my uncle’s wedding. I was six and all dolled up in a white flower girl’s dress. The alcohol was beginning to hit the adults and everyone was skipping around, belting out the song at the top of their lungs. I remember my aunt grabbed my hand and spun me around in circles. I felt like a princess.

In order to remember all of the terms I needed to know for my sixth grade science final, I made up a song to the beat of “We Will Rock You.” I walked around the house for a week, humming the song and mumbling to myself about cell division. Needless to say, I aced that test.

I believe 110 percent in the power and importance of music. It’s shaped my life in more ways than I could ever describe in words. Music has been my therapy time and time again. It has changed the way I think about certain social issues. It has brought me to tears.

Music has never failed me and I firmly believe it never will.