The wings of imagination. An invisible string that connects the souls of the universe, which mankind calls music. To me, it’s the secret garden.
Music has been, is, and will always be my safe space in this wide world.
My earliest childhood memory began with music. Soothing lullabies during stormy nights. Cheery folk songs on sunny afternoons. Beautiful ballads while dancing in the rain.
At the age of three, I found my muse. It all began as I watched an episode of the Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, mesmerized by Minnie’s magnificent performance on the harp. Just like that, the harp became my best companion.
Each day after school, I hurry home to practice on the harp with a spring in my step. When I get bored of playing scored music, I improvise, creating nuts and bolts of broken melodies. Time seems to fly by, the hours feeling like minutes. On bad days, I turn to the harp for solace. Somehow, the pains, worries, and sadness in my heart dissolve into the passionate churn of harmonies, leaving me with a strangely reassuring sense of tranquility.
As I grew up, the world transformed into an unfamiliar place. Too often, the cruel realities crush our young selves’ blissful ignorance, forcing us to grow up. Exhausted from the thorny wraths of life, I turn to music: elegantly enticing, and most importantly, the only thing that retains the same beauty throughout my life. In a way, it became my therapy, the escape to a magical realm, where anything is possible. I could forget about my responsibilities, do whatever I want, and express myself fully without holding back.
My favorite thing about music is its incredible versatility. It enhances the audience’s emotion, conveying a wide range of feelings with various keys, rhythms, and tones. Would a horror movie be as scary without sinister minor melodies playing in the background? Or would a party be just as jolly without upbeat sea shanties from the jazz band? Similar to writing, music cleverly depicts scenarios, except when words trail off, music takes over and sets our minds free. I could be a mighty pirate in the Caribbean, or the brave knight battling dragons, or an evil villain the next day… the possibilities for whoever I want to be in whatever settings are endless. Besides, the interpretation of music is infinite. Every person views a song in their own way, and similarly, the song holds unique meaning to everyone. That’s the beauty of music: just like magic, it flows through us all, tying our diversity together in a united symphony.
Finally, the best part of music is sharing with our family, friends, even strangers, and how it still resonates with each one of them. Artists or songwriters compose music of any kind of genre, each piece containing its message. In daily life, music is omnipresent: we listen to pop songs in the shower, attend classical concerts during the weekend, or learn repertoires on our instruments. The form of expression is limitless – plus, anyone can perform it. Music can be so much fun. It can be a mere part-time hobby, an art form to admire, a medium to express oneself, or a lifelong comforting comrade.
I could never forget my first harp recital. Striding across the stage, seven-year-old me was petrified as I prepared to start. Yet, as soon as my fingers touched the strings, all the stress melted away as I dived into the music. Too quickly, the last note rang victoriously in the concert hall, followed by cheers and applause. Giddy with joy, I remember smiling from ear to ear as my parents congratulated me with a bouquet of sunflowers. The adrenaline of performing still flourishes in me today, acting as my motivation to practice diligently for the next time.
I often marvel at the wonders of music. How do melodies transform into such wondrous devices of self-expression? How does it unite people even from the most different backgrounds, beliefs, and lives? What is it about music that reaches pieces of us beyond words?
To this day, I have yet to find the exact answer to these questions. But I know one thing for certain: music is an essential part of my identity. It’s my secret garden, where I frolic and relax, rejoicing among the blossoms. Sometimes, it’s easy to overlook how much it shapes our lives. We should appreciate the beauty of music, have fun, and spread the joy of it. The harp is not only my musical remedy, but my portal to imagination. What is yours?
Author’s note: This is my sophomore speech from last year, and I think it accurately reflects my love for music. Even after twelve years of playing the harp, I still enjoy every moment of practicing and getting away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Please enjoy!
(Copyright Chloe Lau 2021)