This I Believe: I Believe in Music

by Sophia Yonezuka

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Music has the power to travel through time,to rip us from the present and bring us back to a dark place in our lives or to a moment filled with pure happiness. All it takes is the  perfect song that reflects the mood or importance of that particular memory-it sharpens it somehow. It may be the lyrics, melody, or the beat that creates this connection, but it’s always sparked by a feeling, a feeling that is deep and sincere. In this way, music keeps us going; with each note it brings us higher, giving us motivation, and promises both hope and comfort.

These are just some episodes of my life that are brought back by the miracle of music…

…I am driving with my mom to New York City, flipping through the radio stations and annoyed that nothing was satisfying me at the moment. I continue to flip when a Journey classic, “Don’t stop Believing” rises from the speakers.  My mom tells me to leave it on. I can tell by the tone of her voice that she really wants me to, so I listen.  Before either of us knows it, the windows are rolled down and we’re shouting: “Just a small town girl. Living in a lonely world. She took the midnight train going anywhere. Just a city boy. Born and raised in South Detroit. He took the midnight train going anywhere…” The farther away from home we drove the louder and more passionate we sang. The song that followed was “Benny and the Jets” by Elton John. As we approached the New York skyline, shining like diamonds against the pitch black sky, our generations were crossing, and I could see a different side to my mom that I never knew was there…

…If 6th grade couldn’t get any worse, tonight was my first school dance. My friends were on either side of me as we walked into the cafeteria. The room was covered in tacky decorations, and a disco ball left the floor spinning and multicolored. The DJ started playing “Get the Party Started” by Pink. Clumps of people were sporadically positioned on the dance floor, and they began to sway in unison to the beat. The boys eyed the girls as they giggled in embarrassment. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a line of girls sitting on a bench wearing miniskirts and too much eye makeup. They looked terrified and insecure, afraid of the risks involved with dancing in public. Suddenly a group of girls screeched as they heard the first two words of “London Bridge” by Fergie. Off to the side, the party starters, dressed in black, were teaching a group of confused kids how to dance.  It’s these songs that we danced to that bring us back to those awkward yet unifying days…

…I smell the charcoal fumes and the sweet summer breeze as I let myself drift off into a catnap. I hear the springs from the diving board as each kid makes his unique entry into the deep cool water. Adults start to howl into the young night as their summer freedom starts to kick in. The American flag bristles over the soft wind, as a reminder of the Fourth of July, when really it’s just a good excuse to have a barbeque. I feel a little parched and decide to help myself to some watermelon. I then realize that half the party is forming a dance floor in a small patch of grass. “Brown Eyed Girl” is playing in the backround as fathers make their way to their daughters. As I watch the colored sparks of light fill the black sky with a crackling sound I wait eagerly to hear which song is next. “Only the Good Die Young,” “Sweet Home Alabama,” “American Pie,” and “Summer of ’69” were the most frequently played that night. This music kept our spirits high and brought life to the world around us. It reminded us of happy times and made those summer nights last forever…

If you sing a little louder, dance a little crazier, and listen a little better you will see that music has the strength to save a person’s soul.  It moves us through life’s challenges, both happy and sad, and can transport us back to where we’ve been and where we’ve yet to go.  Music is peace. So when all else fails, at least we have that. “Hakuna Matata!”

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