June 2011 Essay Contest: How Music Changed My Life
Grand Prize Winner
Amanda Arbuckle, age 12
I first learned to play the clarinet in third grade. I am now 12 years old and have studied music for four years. Although I could already read music, playing the clarinet was still a challenge. There were many days of frustration and times when I wanted to quit, but I persevered. I am now proud to call myself a musician!
Prior to playing the clarinet, I had never performed on stage as a soloist. I was so frightened at my first recital. As soon as I looked out into an audience of smiling faces and encouraging claps, my self-esteem was immediately boosted and I gained the confidence I needed to perform. I still become nervous before every performance, but I am also filled with anticipation and pride at my accomplishments.
Scientists have even shown that playing an instrument stimulates many areas of the brain simultaneously. There is also a correlation between high academics and playing an instrument. Wow!
Practice does indeed make perfect, and practicing has paid off for me. This year I became a member of the San Diego Civic Youth Orchestra Wind Ensemble. I have loved the challenge. It is my dream to someday play in the San Diego Symphony. My dreams are big, but so is my love of music.
Music in any form is a gift. Whether you listen to it, sing it, or play it, it will change your life forever. It has changed mine.
1st Place Winner
Emmy Kim, age 12
Hi. I am Emmy Kim, I am twelve years old, and I am in LOVE with music. I started out at California Music Studios as I was going into 3rd grade. I loved piano immediately! It all came so easily to me, the notes, the sound, the music, it all made a click in my head, like a part of my brain was turned off, then all of the sudden, someone… or something switched it on. The music on the paper sort of flowed to my fingers, like magic! It’s like I saw the world in colors that was once in black and white.
When I started out, I didn’t really understand the true essence of music… But the more I played, the various emotions of the songs began to inspire the way I hit the notes. I would just have to close my eyes, and feel how the song was supposed to sound. It’s amazing how music can move the hearts and minds of those listening. With the help of my piano teacher, Miss Violetta, I am learning to express myself. I know that music is a universal language that crosses all barriers and allows us to enjoy the beauty in sounds. Music has helped me to understand the world around me better and taught me to open myself to be more confident in sharing my talent with others.
2nd Place Winner
Lixian Chen, adult
My first sensual encounter with Metropolitan Opera House was an amazing memorable experience for me. As a student, I luckily got a discounted ticket in the orchestra and I was so glad that my romance with MetOpera started with “Die Fledermaus” ever since then. It was a cold winter night in NYC during the new year’s holiday season. I was stunned by the magnificent stage with the cast and crew, and an all-house opera house packed with opera lovers, professionals and amateurs alike. The libretto and music made a perfect match to produce the desired theatrical effect, and I enjoyed every bit of the sarcasm entailed in the operetta. I was especially impressed by the drunken jailer, Frosch, for his sense of humor and irony, and couldn’t agree with it more that any video recording of operas was no comparison to a live opera show.
After that opera night, my list of operas that I watched at MetOpera just kept growing. I also started collecting “the Playbill” and each one reminded me of a wonderful night at the opera house. Across the street of the opera house, there used to be the music store “Tower of Record”, which had such a huge collection of CDs, DVDs, music scores and records. I became a frequent goer, oftentimes before the start of opera performance. Now years later, “Tower of Record” was no longer there, and I no longer lived in NY, but my love for opera and classical music never faded.
3rd Place Winner (tie)
Trisha Tong, age 8
Hi, my name is Trisha Tong. My teacher’s name is Ms. Clare and I play piano.
When I first started, I was five years old. Now, I am 8 years old. I think music is great because it is fun to hear music when you’re actually playing it. I’ve improved a lot over the past couple of years. Music is just WONDERFUL!
I will tell you about one of my music performances. I was going to play the song “Festive Sonatina”. I felt nervous, but excited. When it was my turn, I got on the stage. I played Festive Sonatina. When I was done, the audience cheered. I bowed. When I got back to my seat, I felt relieved, but proud. After all, I had just finished my third performance (my second formal recital)! I watched all the other performances that were better than me. I hope one day I can play as good as them. They had inspired me to not give up now. I’m now waiting and ready for my next amazing recital!
3rd Place Winner (tie)
Daisy Trang, age 12
Music has been the most amazing part of my life in many ways. Since the day I started my piano class with Miss Shen, I had a feeling that I would be in with music forever. In fact, I would play piano or listen to music on my free time. Miss Shen is an excellent teacher and she has taught me a lot about piano. She is the reason why I got this far in piano. I would repay her for everything she has done, but nothing seems to be better than the thing she gives me. These bigger and better things are support, and great piano lessons. I was very excited when I got the news that I was in the Honors Recital. It surprised me a lot because I never thought that I could do something as great as that. All the recitals that I’ve been in made me do a lot better in school. So, what I’m trying to say is that music has influenced me in many ways like becoming a better person, and being myself. Also, music helps me concentrate on my homework and it helps me feel very good. Music is very important to me, and it is the best part of my life. Thanks to CMS, my dream to be a fine pianist has come true. Thank you to my family, who got me to learn with CMS.