Violin and Notes. Image Courtesy of Million Wallpapers.
Diamond Bar High School

Music, Meaning and Life

With a hum surrounding me, I begin: the radiant and robust Introduction and Rondo Capriccioso, expanding and growing, intensifying with each bowstroke. As I reach the animato, I remember the purrs of my grandfather’s cat and its soft fur, sparking memories of childish carelessness and feline charm, meows filling the room.

Cut to the forte trills: each thrum is the relentless rumble of the bus, all too familiar from the days of having to read (and carry) the gray Foothill Transit timetables, thicker than two AP exams. Each ride was a portal to another dimension, one of calmness, of geniality, where I could stop and collect my thoughts, revisit the day and calm down. Seeing familiar faces taking the same routes I took day after day, week after week, was exceedingly comforting as I gradually understood life was regular, life had routine, life was mundane.

Allegro ma non troppo — the macabre staccatos lead into semiquaver growls of raging hatred, the same I felt for bean sprouts and coriander, the stench making me retch. I remember being a picky eater, refusing to eat “unappealing” foods — discolored radishes, mushy carrots, chunky peanut butter. This pickiness echoed my love for the finer things in life: the neat desktop, the old yet sweet aroma of library books, the aesthetic umlaut. The perfect I loved, and I loved only the perfect: the syncopated ties leading into the next measure, to the next sequence, eventually culminating in a grand little dance!

To runs and virtuosity I go, delighting in each ringing shift and perfect scale. Back and forth, back and forth, just like school days: first and second period, break. Third and fourth period, lunch. Fifth and sixth period, repeat. Oh how satisfying it is to end the trill, feel that upbow staccato run, running, running, ah! back to the first motif!

A frenzy ensues, intensifying and repeating, growing over itself, looming over the audience — I zoom my way through the expanding semiquavers and leap to the top. Enter the next theme, filling the hall with renewed life — my audition, the one I was almost late for, had gone perfectly: I received that frantically-awaited letter, the one that began, “Congratulations!” I had won the principal seat!

Delicate and ethereal, the con morbidezza comes along, tying back to the theme, going and going, with no end in sight, no plan, just passion and dedication. I am lost, just working through that sleepless night right before midterms, a masterclass and a concert — I have nothing except the next scale, the next arpeggio, the next chord — I end with a flourish and a sigh, realizing the end of the program had come so quickly; the thrill had ended.

It was that fervor I craved, the satisfaction from each perfect run, not the first place trophy or a medal. I wanted the standing ovation, the proud smile from my teacher in the back, the stellar review. Nobody cares about the plaque on the wall or the framed certificate; what really matters is the effect I had on the people around me — how the music passed a message, touched the audience. What matters are the emotions I pass, each connection I make with the listener. Without those intangible yet somehow concrete bonds, music is meaningless.

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