Somewhere around 7th grade, music started to take on a central role in my life. Around that time i started to enter the "angsty" years, and my favorite bands seemed to really know me, and be able to express what i was feeling but didn't really understand. Thus, i would listen to the same tape every day after school while i did my homework, literally for weeks. I knew the words to every song, and i could anticipate which song was coming next in the pauses between tracks. I didn't have much of an outlet for this interest because i lived on Guam, where the bands i favored did not venture.
When i started 10th grade, we moved back to the States and i discovered a whole world of young-people that revolved around music. Positive Force was a loosely organized group that primarily put on punk rock benefit shows. These seemed to happen around once a month and were held in the basement of DC churches. From this point through college, going to see bands at cheap $5 shows-- most of which were all-ages, became one of the primary ways i socialized. In addition to filling my social life, music was something that i lavished time and money on. It takes a certain amount of effort to stay current, ferret out what you actually like, and make it yours-- keep in mind this was at a time when the computer lab still had mainframe terminals and not personal computers, thus no itunes, playlists, or internet to speak of.
While negotiating the path to adulthood, music provided a visceral boost to those thrilling moments of feeling in-control and free. Driving home in the quiet dusk with a car full of friends after a full day on the river listening to James Taylor's "You've got a friend" or positively exploding with promise when "These are Days" by the 10,000 manics came on the radio as i drove home from high school graduation.
Somewhere after college music dropped a bit in my priority list. Somehow, at least for me, the freedom and independence that music provided wasn't as crucial the more i came into them by my own right. Which isn't to say that i don't care about music anymore, it's just that my tastes tend to be shaped more by what's in front of me, than by what i seek out and make my own. That's why a decent chunk of the music i've bought in the last several years i've heard about on NPR, and why my current favorite song (Cyril the Karaoke Squirrel) is from one of Henry's cds.
I'm assuming this new music class i'm taking with Silas will usher in another music phase, as i'm told i have to sing along, and sometimes solo, as well as make up rhythms and beats.. Clearly music will now be less about my independence and more about providing joy for my offspring. How fitting.