When I was 10 years old, I watched an episode of Beauty and the Beast (the TV series), and recall seeing a little boy playing the most beautiful, yet haunting piece of music on the piano. I watched – riveted, soaking in every note, every nuance, every feeling this brilliant work evoked in me. At the conclusion of the episode, I ran upstairs to my piano and spent the rest of the night teaching myself what I could by ear. It was very important that I learn this piece.
During my next piano lesson with Mrs. Lew (R.I.P.), I asked her to teach me this piece. I played what I could for her and she pulled out a big dusty book and opened it to Piano Sonata No. 14 in C# minor “Quasi una fantasia”, Op. 27, No. 2, by Ludwig van Beethoven (also known as Moonlight Sonata). I spent the entire lesson working on this piece and then had my mother buy me the music. To this day, Moonlight Sonata is the first thing my fingers play when they come in contact with a piano. This song fills me with inspiration and emotion.
I’ve always been a creative person. I spent my childhood immersed in a variety of activities – most prevalent were artistic pursuits from ballet and jazz to piano, drama and poetry. Though I didn’t know what I wanted to be when I grew up, (I rotated through a number of options: Forensic Psychiatrist, Dancer, English Professor, Lawyer, Actor, Interior Designer…), I knew that the arts would always be a part of my life. Some of my best memories, from childhood to adulthood, revolve around the arts. Some of the most impactful people in my life were those that imparted arts knowledge and opportunities for arts exploration in a variety of ways.
Don’t get me wrong, I watched the Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show for the comedy, but listened carefully to hear the classical music. And absolutely nothing has changed. When I watched the film Inception last year, I was enthralled with the sound scape of the movie. Of course, when I expressed my excitement to my friends, nobody had consciously listened to the music which I so enthusiastically referred to.
I always promised myself that I wouldn’t work in a job that didn’t allow me to be creative. And my current career in marketing allows me to express my creativity and innovation daily. From writing and brainstorming to storyboarding commercial shoots and developing marketing campaigns, my job affords me all the freedom to inject myself into my work. And if that ever proves to be not enough, I also have my other artistic pursuits on the side.
This is why as an adult, it saddens and angers me when people are quick to devalue the arts and shove arts programming under the chopping block. I could go into the intrinsic value of arts or the direct and indirect economic and employment benefits of the arts and culture in society, but I shouldn’t have to. The freedom with which I was given to explore the arts allowed me to discover who I was as a child and who I wanted to be. What’s wrong with arts for art’s sake?
By Christine, GGC staff
Do you think that children today are over-programmed? Is there room for music in their lives?