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My Musical Identity

Writing Assignment 1: My Musical Identity Music, in all its complexity can be seen as a living, breathing mechanism that has the ability to sink deep down into one’s soul and create feelings of awe, excitement and wonder. Music speaks to and connects people of all cultures, backgrounds and ideologies, creating a common bond between various members of the human species. When listening to a beautifully composed piece of music, I myself cannot help but feel connected to the instruments, the artists and the composer.

It has been my experience that music not only helps me learn, but also helps me grow. From an early age I grew up listening to the sounds of Motown with my dad. He would sing songs to me like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” recorded by Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terell, and I would listen diligently, unknowingly acquiring the ability to make beautiful melodies and soulful sounds with my vocal chords. Then one day it happened. I sang. In fact, to say that I sang, would be saying the least of what actually happened. I didn’t just sing, I sang well.

And it was around the age of 8 that I realized I had a gift for music, a raw talent if you may, and I was determined to use it. From then on, I sang wherever I had the privacy of developing my talent on my own. I sang in the shower, on my way to school, and even while my family was sleeping. Around that time, which was during elementary school, I wasn’t comfortable with having the ability to sing well, and while I liked to sing, I didn’t like doing it publicly. After a while, some members of my family learned that I could sing and I had no other choice but to share the talent.

It took some time but I was finally beginning to enjoy singing in front of others. I began to love music, regardless of the genre and I wanted to share it with all who would listen. Then on day, the inevitable happened. My feelings about singing changed. This significant and abrupt change in my musical interest occurred after I decided to venture out and test my singing ability before the eyes and ears of a group of judges, namely the producers of American Idol, a televised singing competition for people who want to “make it big” in the music industry.

I was 16 years old when I auditioned to become a part of the show. The auditions for that season of American Idol took place in East Rutherford, New Jersey at the Meadowlands Sports Complex on a beautiful day in August of 2006. Thousands of people came in an attempt to become a star before the eyes of the American public. Everywhere I turned people were singing and practicing for their chance with the judges. For the majority of the day I stayed with my mom, who along with a companion of hers drove me to the auditions.

The only time I went out on my own was to quickly explore some areas of the stadium and to practice for a moment. After waiting for over 5 hours, I finally had my chance to audition for the producers. Unfortunately, I didn’t earn a coveted spot on the show. When the producers didn’t call my number, I was devastated. I cried and asked to be taken home immediately. After that day my love for singing diminished greatly, and although my recovery of the rejection was rather swift, I never quite regained the desire to be a musical superstar. That incident, however painful it was, did not end my love for music.

After high school, as I began to inwardly change, so did my musical preferences. I began to listen mainly to Christian worship music, and upon doing so I realized I had a love for the art of dance. I find dancing to be such a beautiful expression of musical talent and am very drawn to it. I actually choreograph and teach dance at an afterschool program for the YMCA of Greater New York. One of my favorite pieces of music to choreograph to is a song written by John Mark McMillan and covered by the band Jesus Culture called “How He Loves”.

I sing, play guitar and dance to this song a great deal of the time, particularly because of the significance of the both the lyrics and the musical accompaniment. The lyrics, which speak of God’s insurmountable love for His people mixed with the instrumental music in the background, touches my heart in a special way. There is also a particular part in the song that I find to be the most significant element of it. Following the first chorus, the singing comes to a pause and a soft yet powerful guitar solo begins.

Whoever composed that piece of music was truly inspired. Perhaps music does to others what it has been able to do for me throughout my life, which has been to touch my heart in a multitude of ways. It has been my desire to see the art of music reach and touch the lives of many. An even deeper desire of mine would be for me to be apart of that, if even in a small way. Music does indeed connect and impact so many of us while fostering a deep sense of gratitude for its creator.

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