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Appreciating Music

By: Zhen Lin

I’m not good at music. Even though I started to learn piano since I was five, I wasn’t able to understand the logic or differentiate between the schools of classical music: Renaissance, Baroque, Romantic, etc.  My mom would sigh and shake her head when I dozed off during music shows. When it came to popular music, my younger sister and my friends often laughed at me as I still wasn’t able to distinguish very clearly among pop, rock, electronic, or even metal music. In the eyes of my family and my friends, I’m music-illiterate.


I’m not a big fan of the long, grandiose and empathetic classical pieces, whether it be symphony, opera, long piano pieces, or violin solos. The structure, complexity, and overly dramatic performance overwhelms me. I cannot enjoy the loud pop music as I feel the performers are trying to shake reason out of my head with their frenetic voices and screaming electric guitars. However, I understand many people enjoy these types of music and I respect every music form. Similarly, respect is a two way street: people who are fond of a music type must also show tolerance to those who are not.


At the bottom of my heart, I feel that I’m able appreciate music. I always hold my belief that music is for expressing our own feelings and sharing these emotions to our community. Good music helps to relieve “bad” feelings: fear, sadness, anger. It also helps to foster the “good” feelings of comfort, satisfaction, hope. Just recently, I researched history of music, and my findings strengthened up my beliefs. Music started as religion ceremony when our ancestors prayed and expressed their fear and wishes. I still have cold feet whenever I imagine myself in that infant stage of human history, when survival was so hard and when life was fraught with fear, fighting, diseases, scarcity of food and all resources. In the midst of these difficult times, our ancestors resorted to religion and prayed for protection. In order to demonstrate sincerity and eagerness, the ancestors started singing and dancing with simple rhythm, a genre of music called primitive music.    


Therefore, if a piece of music can touch my heart and bring to life emotions that everyone can resonate with, I’d be drawn to the piece, no matter if it is classical, folklore, pop, etc. Even if I still cannot distinguish between the different classical music time periods, I know the joy of feeling the heart of the musician and appreciation towards all those who have the ability to crystallize our feelings through the art of music.

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