Growing up I’ve always had a love of music. Before I could talk, you could witness me singing melodies in my crib. I looked forward to the year in elementary school when we got to pick an instrument and was devastated when I switched to a school that didn’t have a music program the year after.
When my mom reflects back on the year I decided to try out for the local children’s chorus she said, “I was more nervous than you were. I was worried you wouldn’t get in. You were so excited.” Luckily, I did get in and spent a few years on those St. Andrew’s church pews learning to sing pieces in English, French, Italian, and German. It was an incredible experience and my love for music did nothing but continue to grow.
After switching schools once more, I enjoyed my first music lessons right in the comfort of my school. I took piano and clarinet at the time, then spent my music classes learning every instrument I could (I guess this is why I’m a bit of a Jack of all trades) and mildly torturing my music teacher when I was bored (sorry Mr. Budding). From here, I started doing musicals in school and the rest is history. I suppose it was no surprise when I announced I wanted to take music at University.
A Complicated Love of Music
It was during University that my love of music became complicated. I somewhat struggled to be as much of a ‘music nerd’ as some of those I was surrounded by. Not once did I listen to a piece of music and enjoy analyzing it. “Oh! Listen to that modulation… Love the way it modulates to its relative minor,” others would say. Not me.
While I enjoyed my clarinet lessons immensely at University, I struggled to practice. I didn’t feel like I loved the instrument enough to be stuck in a practice room in the basement of the music building when there was so much to do outside in the Queen’s bubble and the community. So, the quality of my playing suffered from this.
My love for singing continued to flourish though. I joined Queen’s Music Theatre and visited possibly (one too many) karaoke nights. I started singing anthems and embraced every opportunity I had to sing. When my mom told me I’d “never be able to sing that” Martina McBride song, I stepped up to the challenge and pushed my voice to the next level. Music was my life. My life was music.
My mixed CDs reflected my love of music. It reflected my love of ALL music. On those burned CDs, you’d be listening to country and it would jump to heavy rap, and back to the 70s or 80s on the next song. If you ever wanted to figure out how I was feeling or what stage of life I was at, all you had to do was listen to my most recent CD.
I continued to listen to my wide-range of music after I graduated from University. Music still played a large role in my life, as I continued singing my anthems and making the odd trip to karaoke; however, it changed. I removed myself from much of what I learned at University. Avoiding almost all classical music became my norm. My clarinet began to collect dust and I couldn’t tell you the last time I sang along to musicals.
Off to the East Coast
Then, I arrived here. Music is a huge part of the culture on the East Coast. I’d argue it is even more so in Cape Breton. The island life is one of live music, singers, and instrumentalists. I can’t begin to count how many people I know that play guitar. Every time someone is in my house that knows how to play, the first thing they do is pick up my guitar (and tune it once again).
It’s been inspiring. It’s made me realize I am more of a music nerd than I thought I was. While I may never get giddy for the modulation or transposition of a piece, I can say that music speaks to my soul. Recently, I’ve started playing my clarinet again and it has a revived role in my life. My singing is more regular and varies from country to musicals. I’ve even picked up my guitar more. Now, I’m contemplating getting a keyboard again.
Whether you have a love for music or something else, I hope you find something that speaks to your soul. There is nothing more beautiful than finding flow in the things you love. Now, I must go… my clarinet is beckoning to be played.