I do not understand music the way some people do. I am completely and totally tone deaf. I don’t know what those different highs and lows and swoops all mean, or what they are. I have a hard time differentiating different instruments when I listen to a song. I wait for the lyrics to start to 100% identify a song – if I try before then, I might get it wrong, no matter how well I know it in the first place.
This lack of understanding has given me great doubt as to my ability to enjoy music. I question whether my lack of knowledge, and therefore significantly inferior understanding, interferes with my enjoyment.
Today, I decided it does not. Today, as I was walking home from dinner, The Easy Tease “Two Shy Gnomes” came onto my shuffle and I was transported. Something shifted in my brain, and I was suddenly back in the MPR at Bard, JUMPING JUMPING JUMPING with all my friends. We’re throwing ourselves around the room, frantic energy driving through our feet and hands, as we grab each other and BOUNCE off of the walls. People are competing to see who can jump highest, during “Back of the Bus”, and everyone’s swaying to the tune of “Final Thoughts”, arms around each other. We’re sweaty and disgusting, hot and parched, dying for water. My heart is pounding and I have a massive smile on my face, as I run towards people I know and pour my energy in their direction. In all directions, there is only love. There is only people having fun.
|Salsa Dancing – Delilah Smith|
When I was back at Bard last weekend, and some of us were reunited and dancing together again. As I looked around, we were doing the same thing. Bodies flinging haphazardly, shaking limbs and grabbing on to each other. Sweating and shimmying. I pointed out that we looked like the most embarrassing parents ever, and my friend responded “Here we dance without shame or judgement.”
This is how I enjoy music. I cannot understand tone, but I get RYTHM. I hear those beats, those pauses andquicksuccessions. I feel at my most alive when I am throwing myself around, mindless, resonating off of a song. Or at least, sometimes. Those times when I can dance without shame or judgement. With enough room to really go wild. When I have someone to exchange that livewire of glee with. It’s a form of communication that is just so vivid and magical.
Music has the ability to archive memories so effectively. I hear “Vagabond’s Lament” and am wandering that path between the campus centre and Kline. I hear “Single Ladies” and remember Leila and Marielle and I watching that video and being inspired to start an awesome dance party in our flat. I hear “Mr Jones” and it’s New Year’s Eve with the family. “Call Me Maybe” comes on, and I’m in a car, driving through Wales. And, Oooooooh… when any song from “Labyrinth” comes on, I’m in San Francisco, back at Tapalapa.
SO MANY MORE.
I really wish I could understand music, but at least I know I can enjoy it regardless. Just don’t ask me to sing – some humiliations are best kept private.