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  • Robert Conforti

How to Find Yourself in Music

In the day and age of mainstream music, it may be hard to find a style that represents you. Everyone is telling you what to listen to, that new album that came out, that new artist that's hot, etc. Mainstream music is all about “how I can relate to everyone at the same time”. My annoyed music teacher would call it “factorized music”. To musicians, it's boring, repetitive, and obvious. Yet, there is nothing wrong with listening to it, I listened to mainstream stuff all throughout middle school and my freshman and sophomore years at high school. It is easy to digest, and most musicians would agree there is a certain simplicity to it that is likable, but that is why we find it boring. Music can do so much more than what is being shown, and it saddens us musicians that the coolest and best parts of this language are left out. Expanding your music taste can help expand your personality.

My evolution came from music, and its birthplace was jazz. Music is a language, and songs are the books that teach us how to interpret its complexities. Jazz songs can be seen as more intricate readings, with lots of deeper meanings and literary devices to enhance its impact, but most people are used to more action-packed or romantic readings (like pop-music). A lot of people describe jazz as “musician’s music”, because it really is the only style of music that uses the full extent of what music is capable of, and because of this it just so happens to be most musicians' favorite style. The basis of jazz is music theory, understanding how every single sound relates to one another, and how combining these sounds in different ways creates different effects. That’s why jazz has such a distinct sound. It really pushes the bounds of what's possible with music. The creative freedom that jazz gives me and other musicians helps us really put more feeling into what we want to play. We can now say the same thing in 100 different ways, rather than only in 3 ways.

To become a musician you must pick up an instrument. An instrument is an outlet, a form of expression. It is the first step in understanding yourself. Just like any language, we use music to express emotion and feeling. Similar to how writing down thoughts in a journal helps people organize their thoughts, playing an instrument can help you understand your feelings. Obviously not everyone knows how to play an instrument but take this as your inspiration to do so. Maybe you have a guitar that's been lying in the corner of your room for years that you’ve been meaning to play, or maybe you want to play but you think it's too late to start now. It's never too late. Pick up that guitar in the corner of your room, sign up for music classes at your school, find an instrument to start playing, anything that gets you closer to music can get you closer to yourself. Music is the most accessible it has ever been and there is no reason to postpone learning.

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