I used to listen to music constantly in my life. Not only did it have the importance to me that it does to most American adolescents, but it was a way for me to connect with my family. My father died when I was very young and I often felt like I didn’t know him. His records were left behind, though, and by listening to his Nat King Cole and Frank Sinatra albums I felt a connection that I was missing. My siblings are all much older than I am and while that doesn’t matter at all now it was significant to me as a child. I would sneak their music as a way to be more like them, a way to make a relationship blossom. Their tastes are extremely different from one another, so I was introduced to so many artists and genres. And with my mother? It was the classic showtunes.
Those experiences helped me to become passionate about music and directly led me to becoming an instrumentalist myself. Thank goodness they did, because music was my safe house, my refuge. Thinking I wanted to be a music education major in school made me submerge myself even more into the art and that led to scholarships and the ability to go to the amazing university I attended. Everywhere I went, I brought music. Before MP3 players, I brought many pounds of CDs and tapes (!) to schools in the U.S. and the U.K. I walked around as much of England and Scotland as I could, my Walkman blasting. If I wasn’t wearing headphones I had a soundtrack playing in my brain. I devoured new music and old music. Classical and rock. Broadway and jazz. It was all part of me.
When Daughter came into my world, I was excited to share my love of music with her. I explored new artists appropriate for her as an infant and young child and loved it. Our home was constantly filled with notes. Husband was just like me, and although our musical tastes are not perfectly aligned, he would always play tracks that he knew I would enjoy. It was always a great source of comfort to me that my house was a musical one.
I don’t know when it happened, but somewhere along the way I lost this passion completely. All of a sudden, I almost never chose to listen to music. I would put on things if Husband or Daughter asked, I’d pick what I knew they wanted. And I certainly made a few playlists for the three day drive from old home to new. Still, I didn’t seek out new artists or albums. I streamed tv shows I loved or comedy stations on the radio and only listened to music as a sort of last resort of entertainment. I don’t even think I felt joy with it anymore. I’m sure my depression had a lot to do with it, and my lack of enthusiasm for life of course coincided with my lack of enthusiasm for music. I was sort of numb to music’s charms; it was stale in my ears.
Recently my love and passion has begun to resurface, though slowly, and I’m glad I’m aware enough to see it. There are some specific albums that have helped me along the way and some artists whose work has awakened my senses. Until I started to let music affect me again k had not realized how dull my life was without it. Now I will have songs and lyrics associated with my memories again. I will walk around with a tune in my heart because my heart has let out just enough sadness to let one in.