I cannot imagine my world without music; throughout the years, it has had a place in my life. It began with ballet at the age of 3, followed by the addition of tap and jazz lessons. At the age of 8, I started studying violin; although I distinctly remember my mom’s promise of opting to quit after one year (a promise she often made). Five years later, I was still a tap dancer and violinist – in addition to a singer in two high school choirs and the occasional impromptu jam session.
In high school, I became just as passionate about listening to music as I was about making it. I still recall all of my musical firsts. Counting Crows’ August and Everything After was the first cassette tape I borrowed from my brother’s room and never returned. The first CD I owned was Mariah Carey’s Music Box, given to me by my eldest cousin, who had ordered ten CDs for a penny from Columbia House. At the age of 16, Weezer was the first band I heard perform live – a concert I was so determined to attend that my mom drove my friend and I 130 miles north to Albany through a raging snowstorm. After that, I became an avid concertgoer, attending every show of any band I remotely heard of and liked. And wherever I went – especially if cruising in a car was involved – there was music.
Fortunately (or perhaps unfortunately?), my parents share my love of music. After playing Weezer’s “Island in the Sun” in the house, my dad walked around for a year singing, “Hip, hip” when he felt inspired to do so. And forever etched in my memory is one of my dad’s best gifts to my mom: a cassette tape of him singing Nat King Cole’s “Unforgettable” while my brother played piano. Also, to this day, I am inept at refusing my father’s invitations to hit the dance floor, despite his love of clapping and raising his arms while swaying offbeat. For Mom, my music remains too loud for her – as evidenced by our silent battles over the volume control – but once a year, she will emphatically tell me about a new musician she “just loves” and can I help her buy the CD?
Whether you yourself are a musician, a huge fan, or both, there is no shortage of outlets in the city to play a note or enjoy the sound of one. In this month’s cover feature, we invite you to explore the city’s early music education options, hire a teacher for private music lessons, purchase an instrument, and get inspired by two groups of talented young musicians.
As for my musical endeavors: I haven’t picked up a violin bow or ballet slippers in a long time, but you can catch me singing along to a strumming guitar or at the next best concert. See you at the show!