The Power of Music

//This is an essay I used for my college application. I’m going to upload my writings slowly for exposure and feedback. So please do comment below on what you thought of it! Much thanks~

“Ashley, you’ll be next to their concertmaster, over there.” I followed to where my conductor was pointing and saw a girl with perfect posture and a crazy frizz of hair. As I walked towards the empty seat next to her, I started to feel nervous. This would be my first time having a foreign stand partner. Was she nice? Was she better than me? Could we even communicate? Well, I thought ruefully, if all else failed, at least we could create music together. Luckily, Brenda, the girl, spoke English so I was able to have a small conversation with her. But as soon as we introduced ourselves, the Cuban conductor motioned for silence as we started to play the first movement of Dvorak’s New World Symphony. Although I was looking at the same notes that I had played in Canada, I started to panic. Would her fingerings and bowings throw me off? What if it didn’t sound the same as when we practiced at home? But as the cellos laid the foundation for the masterpiece to come, I felt my panic slowly melt away as I forgot about everything and was immersed in the music.

Before long, I lost myself in the symphony’s intensity. Before I knew it, I was at home among the familiar notes. As the music swelled and grew in all of its grandeur, I sneaked a glance at my new stand partner. She was wearing the same look of intensity that I was wearing and it wasn’t hard to see that she had also entered the world of the music. We were moving the same way, expressing the music the same way, and reacting to the music the same way. And it wasn’t just between the two of us: I could tell that both the Cuban orchestra and my Canadian orchestra had also entered the realm of the symphony. The music continued along its course breaking all the barriers between the orchestras. We were a team now, with the same goal to play Dvorak’s masterpiece. It didn’t matter that we had practiced the piece in different parts of the world in different environments. What mattered was that we were finally here together, in Havana, bringing the music to life. As we played each note, it seemed that we created a world of our own -a world of passion where neither language nor culture prevented us from sharing the music’s rich emotions. We were truly experiencing the ‘New World’ that had inspired Dvorak to write the piece.

After the last triumphant chord, there was a moment of silence. Everyone, even the conductors, looked around at each other realizing the magic of what had just happened. Before we played the piece, we had been complete strangers, but now, we felt as if we had spilled out our souls to each other. Clapping broke the silence. It snapped us back to reality; we had just successfully finished our first run through of the piece together! But it was more than just that; we had also experienced music’s magical ability to transcend language. Everyone in the practice room-Cubans and Canadians alike- wore the same joyous expression on their face. I looked over at Brenda, who was smiling as widely as I was, and no words had to be said to express our mutual joy.

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