What does music mean to you? Read the essays submitted by our high school senior scholarship awardees for 2020.
No one becomes Adele, Beethoven, or Louis Armstrong overnight. Mastery of anything worthwhile requires passion and love, talents that I’ve learned to embrace through my musical journey. At five years young, I was introduced to classical music. The fine tunes and simple harmonics swept me off my feet, sparking my musical journey. I was learning notes and rhythms while simultaneously learning how to read and write in school. Under the study of my wonderful teacher, I excelled in many competitions and recitals. But with all the trophies and awards, I got used to feeling like music was just an individual achievement, something that one could simply profit off of. However, performing at Carnegie Hall in 2017 drastically changed my perception of music, opening me up to new people and experiences. It was then that I realized what music meant to me. Sharing this beautiful form of art allowed me to connect and bond with others over an experience. From running the soundboard for the Hunchback of Notre Dame school performance to performing with the school band at the UCLA Invitational to rocking at a Why Don’t We concert with my friends, I was able to not only bring people together to enjoy some tunes, but to also experience how music had the ability to spread happiness. To me, music is a very powerful source, one that has the ability to positively change people’s lives for the better.There is no greater joy than seeing smiles and hearing laughter of those around me as we share our devotion towards music. Music is more than a self-fulfilling goal; it’s about sharing your favorite moments with loved ones, moments that can never be replaced. I believe that music is the greatest gift that anyone could ask for. As a musician, I value the core lessons from my training, and I hope to continue motivating others on their journey towards healthier and happier lives through embracing the joy of music.
– Tiffany Phan, Mira Mesa High School
My love of music started quite anticlimactically. I never had a specific realization of the joy of music but rather a gradual draw to it. This draw all started when my family was offered a 1960’s upright Wurlitzer piano. It had a special character to it that I can never forget; a beautiful wood look with some occasional chips and discolorations. When it first arrived, I was not too interested in it but as I grew, I began to appreciate it and gradually started playing. From curiously messing around on that upright at around age 5, to now, playing on concert grands at various competitions and recitals, music has always been there for me. As I grew older, I became more serious about music. I began participating in more recitals and competitions and even started to attend symphony performances with my mom. Music became not just a form of entertainment for me, but a medium for exploration and expression. At about age 12, I discovered the beauty of composers like Rachmaninoff and Chopin. I became infatuated with these two iconic composers and was inspired by their individual styles. I was drawn to Chopin, my favorite composer, because of the beautiful singing melodies in his pieces. Around the same time, I began to realize the depth of music and its ubiquitous nature in human culture. Music is a universal language of human emotion; it’s how we express our struggles, triumphs, and everything in between. As I grew older, I became more aware of the importance of music in society as well as in my life personally. Music has also given me the opportunity to meet so many amazing people. I’ve had the pleasure of being able to work with my teacher, who has profoundly affected my appreciation of music and its meaning in my life. Instead of adopting an ultra-competitive attitude, she taught music to me with passion and optimism. She has taught me to always relax, to be detailed while also seeing the bigger picture, and most importantly, to always live and play with passion. Throughout my life, music has offered me a way to relax, explore and create. It has profoundly changed who I am as a person and has taught me so many valuable life lessons. And for that, I am eternally grateful.
– Eric Thomas, Patrick Henry High School