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Winners of the River Music Experience’s “What Music Means to Me” Contest PDF Print E-mail
Music - Feature Stories
Written by Administrator   
Thursday, 07 January 2010 09:29

Winners of the RME's 'What Music Means to Me' ContestMore than 90 students entered this contest with essays on what music means to them, and six winners were drawn in Mojo's at the River Music Experience on December 17. Winners received a musical-instrument package courtesy of Milan Surplus.

The winners and their essays follow.

Grace Gerdts, age 10, Davenport:

Music means being spontaneous and creative through sound. It means feelings being created through sound. I enjoy listening to music and being able to feel what the composer was feeling at the time. Music can make people happy or sad. Music means to me feelings, creativity, and effort being put into a piece of art to make other people feel or remember things from the past. Music means a lot to me.

The experiences I have had with music have been amazing. Currently, I play a B-flat clarinet and the piano. I have been in band for three years. I take private clarinet lessons and have been playing the clarinet for five years (since second grade). I have been playing piano for two years. Last year I went to Symphony Day. That was so cool. I love the music in The Nutcracker. If I were to play an orchestra instrument, I would play the bass. I have also played the bass clarinet, too. If I won I would have another thing to add to my list. I would love to study music in the future.

Jessica Putnam, age 10, Davenport:

Music means life to me. Music means emotions to me. Music lights up any rainy day and inspires you to play an instrument, or write your own song. I am now in the Quad City Youth Symphony Orchestra, and I plan to play my heart out, and practice as if there is no tomorrow. When I listen to the radio, I feel connected to the music, as if it were to speak to me.

I feel connected to the music. When I play my instruments (violin, trumpet, and piano), I feel like an original. Feel so proud and musical. Music is my life, and without it, the world means silence.

Alannah Skinner, age 8, Eldridge, Iowa:

I love music because it makes me feel that I'm off in my own little world. The tune and beat make me feel happy. Music creates emotions in my heart. When I hear the sound of music, it makes me want to dance and sing. What music means to me is dancing, singing, rhythm, and beat. Sometimes I get a song into my head and it won't leave!

The sound of my dad playing guitar and singing when I'm sleeping makes me feel happy and peaceful. When I was born, my dad wrote a song just for me and played it on his guitar. Music brings back memories from special times in my life. It also helps me memorize stuff like Bible verses. As I'm learning to read music, it is helping me with math, too.

My mom told me that ever since I was a little kid, I would make music with everyday household objects. I would tap the bottom of pots and pans and oatmeal boxes with wooden spoons while my mom made dinner, I'd blow on empty paper-towel tubes for horns, string rubber bands across shoe boxes to make harps, and tap foil pie tins as tambourines. My little brother and I had so much fun making our own band.

Now that I'm bigger and almost nine years old, I'd like to explore real instruments and take lessons. I would like to play the flute some day. The flute would be the instrument I would like. But, I'd be happy with anything.

Jalen Jones, age 11, Davenport:

What music means to me? Music means the world to me. Music is my heart and soul. Music builds creativity, relaxes the mind, and brings cultures together. In class, we like to talk about our favorite songs, and of course, when you talk about music, instruments and dance are not too far away from the conversation. My brother and I at times record music in my dad's studio. For us music creates teamwork, discipline, and expression, because we have to patiently work together to create a song and lyrics. I like to experiment with instruments also, because I am curious of the different instruments and the sounds they create. I listen to all music genres but I mainly listen to rap and R&B. At one point I was closed-minded and only listened to one particular type of music, but I expanded my horizons. To love music you have to explore different genres and instruments. Once you learn and understand them, you actually begin to enjoy a different variety. This is good because the world is so diverse now, and you never know what type of environment may present itself, and if you are open-minded or have been previously exposed, it's easier to adapt. Certain songs catch my attention by the beat. I connect with most songs through the topics or messages. Music is like art. It helps with expression, imagination, and emotion. Music is mood-setting and can be relaxing. Music can be an escape from boredom and stress.

I do not like to clean my room, so when my parents tell me to clean it I get a little upset. When I play an instrument or listen to the radio while I am cleaning, it's mood-setting and cleaning does not seem like a chore anymore. Sometimes I like to listen to the radio because of the variety of music it plays. Then on other occasions, I like to listen to a CD or iPod because you can control what you hear. Sometimes radio can be too commercial. I enjoy listening to rap, R&B, pop, hip hop, soul, gospel, blues, dusties, jazz, rock, reggae, poems, spiritual, opera, ragtime, and spoken word. I look forward to watching how different genres of music evolve. I define all music as a form of art. Art expresses people's emotion, imagination, stories, experiences, and reflections, and music has the same effect. Music reflects on everyday issues and is mood-setting. Music an be emotional, relaxing, therapeutic, and refreshing. This is why restaurants, elevators, shopping stores, and waiting rooms sometimes play music to set the mood. If you are in a good mood, you are more likely to wait patiently, spend money easier, and enjoy your meal. Music enhances everything. When music touches bases with situations that are going on in the world or in your life, it attracts your attention and emotion.

Pablo Haake, age 13, Davenport:

Music. What a curious thing! Isn't it incredible when all those clinks, clanks, hoots, toots, and la-di-das come together into one heart-warming sound? When all the various clangings come together in silence as the baton is lifted -- and presto! Beethoven. Music takes you away; music lifts you off the ground. But with such a wide variety of choices (you could make the next note higher, accent over here), music becomes a whole new world. A realm full of bright, upbeat places, but just as close are meaningful, interesting places that make you think. There are tear-jerkers, foot-tappers, there's rock and roll, and arm-movin' rappers. What a world of music there is out there, instruments of all shapes and sizes; we can even make our voice into extravagant sounds and harmonies! And although the realm of music is never-ending, one of the most important things about music, in my opinion, is what it means to me.

Well, considering I started piano lessons when I was five years old, and slowly but surely the cello, percussion, and singing have become things I do regularly, music has become a big part of my life, and in many ways, it has changed who I am as a person. As a little boy, I found practicing tedious, and I didn't understand why I couldn't just "be good" at piano. And practicing wasn't just for going back and forth to Mr. Patterson's house; twice a year I would perform in a recital at either Augustana College or the great Butterworth Center. I knew it was important, yet I wasn't as dedicated as I should have been. This bad habit, or lack of habit, continued until I wasn't able to be comfortably playing piano anymore. I began to realize not only how vital practicing was to success, but that it was a lot easier said than done; you had to do some work. When I stopped taking piano lessons last year due to a theatre opportunity at Circa '21 (where I was constantly surrounded by great music), I started to really miss my old 30-minute lessons, and, after a year, I returned, promising my teacher that I would be focused, dedicated, and that I would work hard and practice. My following lessons have turned out to be amazing experiences, and I'm going to continue playing the piano as long as I can. All the walks to my piano teacher's house, the 10-minute periods where I would just have to finger out each and every note to learn them better, and the countless times he said, "Slow down! Easy does it" have really helped me improve as a person. Music has even given me a new view on life. In a way, the philosophy that it has given me is present many times in life. I've learned how nothing, including talent, can be a substitute for hard work and practice. I've learned to enjoy life and moments more from enjoying music, and music even helps me get through tough or blissful times. Even listening (and loudly singing) Beatles songs in the car from age six months to the present has been a fun way to be with my family and pass time on long trips to Chicago. And oh, those three-part Liverpool harmonies.

Music affects me in so many different aspects, as well as being enjoyable, and I can see myself in 10, 20, or 60 years enjoying the piano by myself, or playing the cello in a symphony, or even rocking out with 65-plus buddies on the drum set. Music has helped me improve myself, and music has become a part of me, a part of who I am. Music means a lot to me, and I'm very grateful for that.

Oliviya Caruthers, age 10, Davenport:

What does music mean to me? If you thought about it, you just might know. To me music tells my feelings, expresses who I am, and tells me a story. Sometimes I wonder what music is. I learned music is what you want it to be. I don't care what others think about it; all that matters to me is what I believe what music means to me.

Music comes from the soul and heart, whether you're singing or playing an instrument. True music that originally comes from the heart is the one people love best. I asked two people what music meant to them. The first one said it relaxes your mind and helps you go with the flow. The second one said it is freedom and is letting you be you and no one can do anything about it.

Everyone has their opinion. I have mine, and they have theirs. That is what music truly means to me in my heart. Never let anyone change your feelings about music, because music is a great part in life.

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