By: Madison. Hughes
I remember a time in grade three when my class was learning a song for an assembly. Everyone had a chance to sing and before this I had never really sang much. While we were all practicing, the teacher was walking around the room listening. When the teacher walked past me, she told me that I had a really nice voice and that she wanted me to sing a solo in the song. When it came time for the assembly I sang my solo and absolutely loved the experience. While I was nervous at first and had no experience at all, it felt as though it was something I was meant to be doing. From that day on I started singing more and more because that was the push I needed. It took this push to help me figure out that what I loved doing most was singing.
Over time I realized that I was also good at learning instruments. I experimented with a lot of different ones including piano, violin, flute, clarinet and guitar. Guitar was the one instrument that actually stuck with me when I first started playing it in high school and I have now been playing for over five years.
Playing guitar and singing have definitely made a huge impact in my life. Through ups and downs, playing and singing music has always gotten me through the toughest of times. Whether it is writing my own music, or just finding a song that fits my mood at the time, it always seems to help. When I would be having a bad day I would just come home, go up to my room, take out my guitar and start playing. There was one day in high school I had just had a fight with my best friend. I felt as though the fight was all my fault and I felt like we would never be friends again. Through tears streaming down my face and through all of the pain I was feeling in that moment, I turned it all into an original song. I played the song over and over again until I calmed down. Although I was still upset about the incident that happened, after finishing with my guitar I felt as though a weight had been lifted from my shoulders.
Music is also very important to me due to my battle with depression. A few years back I was in the hospital due to a suicide attempt and at that point in my life I can confidently say I was at my lowest. It was an extremely tough time for me but while I was in the hospital, I learned that they had a guitar in the classroom there. Since I did not have any school work to do in the hospital they allowed me to use the guitar because it helped keep me calm and at ease. It was nice to be able to share my music with others since I had not really had the chance before. It also helped me bond with the other youth that were in there with me as they would ask me to play songs for them. Being able to play my music in the hospital definitely made my stay in there a lot more bearable. It kept me calm as well as helped me make friends while I was there. It helped me to become more open as a person and allowed me to express myself. Every day I would ask one of the counsellors if I could have the guitar because that is all I wanted to do while I was in there. Having that guitar to play music really helped me get through this difficult moment because it was something that I could really connect with. While I did get a lot out of the counselling and other things we did there, I feel as though the guitar made the biggest impact on me since I could really express my feelings through my music instead of actually having to say everything.
Since my hospitalization, I have come such a long way in terms of my guitar playing. I find it ironic that the first song I learned was, “Free Falling” by Tom Petty because that is exactly how I feel when I play my music; like I am free falling. I feel free and as though all negative emotions drift away. Nothing can change how I feel about playing music. I just keep playing and free falling into my own musical world.
Having all of this music in my life has helped me become who I am today by allowing me to express who I am through sound and words. It has allowed me to share with others how you can start from such a small sound and allow it to grow so much bigger and more powerful. When I am playing guitar and singing, it is like nothing can bring me down because it has helped me through so much. There is a quote that has always stuck with me about music, “Music in the soul, can be heard by the universe” (Lao Tzu). This is one of my favourite quotes because it says that if you are really in tune with your sound and what you are playing and really feeling it, the whole world will hear it. If you just sit there and strum some chords on a guitar and belt out some lyrics, it won’t mean a thing to you. However, if you really sit there and put all of your heart and soul into it and become one with what you are playing, THAT is when it becomes meaningful and THAT is when it will become therapeutic. Music has been so impactful in my life and while there are alternatives to life’s problems, music is my medication.