Music choice creates identity

Throughout my life, music has played a very important role. I’m not a musician; I once played the saxophone decently, but other than that, I haven’t really touched another instrument. However, my taste in music is something that has contributed to my identity as a person. While my taste in movies, books, and TV are pretty mainstream, my taste in music is something that I consider all my own. It may have changed over time, but it is something that has been with me my entire life.

My first fully fledged obsession with a band was the Barenaked Ladies. This was back around second grade, and every time I even mentioned them, I would receive groans from my friends, who were clearly sick of hearing about them. I didn’t care though; I carried my listening habits with a sense of pride. Like every other kid at that age, I was concerned with trying to fit in, and not do things that others would consider embarrassing, but with music, I honestly didn’t care, and that feeling followed me through my entire life as I went from one musical obsession to another.

As I began to listen to music more fervently, I started noticing things about it. The ability for a song to relieve any amount of stress I was under was incredible. If I was tired, I could find something to perk me up. This played a key role in getting me through some very stressful moments in high school. I found that music went beyond just sounding good. It was able to invoke certain feelings, and not just through the lyrics, there are songs that I listen to that have no lyrics, and it is still easy to notice the emotions in them.

The best part of how I listened to music, though, was the sense of discovery that came with it. I never listened to the radio. One reason was that I found that most things played on the radio sounded exactly the same; the other was that I never got the same excitement from hearing a new band on the radio that I would have gotten if I had stumbled upon the band myself. There was something about just having the music laid out in front of me that made it seem bland. Discovering a band for myself made me feel much more connected to the music, and because of that, the music became much more enjoyable. Even after I became very familiar with a band’s music, I would still get that same sense of discovery every time. I remember when my cousin and I were having a conversation, and he just randomly mentioned Phish and quickly moved on; needless to say, I found them later on, and now they literally make up more than half of my music library.

My tastes are still evolving. These past few months at RPI have changed what I listen to significantly. While Phish may still hold their place as my all-time favorite band, there are a lot of new bands that I have added to my favorites list. Being in a community of people from very different backgrounds has introduced me to music I have never even heard of before. Ultimately I’ve learned to be more open to the music I listen to, because some of my new favorite bands I never would have considered in the past, and more music is never a bad thing.