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Arts and Entertainment

This I Believe: I Believe In Music

Essayist Audrey Shu.
Audrey Shu
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I believe in music. Sweet melodies make me feel radiant and free.

I play the piano. As I’ve learned to play, my mom has been with me every step of the way. I remember her sitting next to 6-year-old me, sharing the same bench, the same music, as I progressed from playing single notes to mini-recitals.

My mom is a passionate classical music lover. Music takes both of us to another world.

In Mozart’s “Horn Sonata,” Mom and I are attending an extravagant royal ball.

Liszt’s “Bells of Geneva” brings us to the snowy mountains of Switzerland as church bells ring at dawn.

Chopin’s “Ballade No. 3” places us among the swaying blossoms of a meadow, basking in the warmth of the music.

My mom is also devoted to me. She sits quietly during my lessons, watching and listening to all the scales, notes and comments my piano teacher makes. During my seven years of playing, she has learned step by step alongside me. Every day, we experiment with different techniques to achieve the sound we want, exploring interpretation and expression. We discuss the composers’ stories and laugh at the odd things they did. Sometimes, our babbling goes on longer than my playing.

But not every moment is a happy one. Many practice sessions include tears. I often take out my frustration on my mom, arguing over trivial things. There are moments of anger when I just want to slam the keys and make them behave, or when I want to give up. But my mom never lets me. She might stop the practice session to talk about my attitude, or how to stay positive and not take out my frustration on others. Other times, we chug on: Mom, the locomotive, trying to pull everything together and keep moving forward, and me, the long and heavy cargo, rolling along behind. We keep on even when nothing works. When we arrive at the destination, it’s not just a victory for me. It’s a victory for us.  

I’m now 13 years old. My mom still sits next to me—on a separate chair now—listening to my developing music. If you asked me about playing the piano, I wouldn’t miss a beat to tell you about my mom. When I’m at a competition—stomach churning—the warmth of my mom is there. She can’t calm those butterflies flitting inside me, but I feel her in my heart, right there along with the music.

I believe in music. It has the power to bring people together. My mom is my best friend, and music made our relationship strong. Because that melody you hear isn’t just sound. It isn’t just music. It’s love.

 
Audrey Shu is an 8th grader at Park Forest Middle School.

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