Hale Snyder, '24
I love music. For as long as I can remember, music has been an incredibly important part of my life. I remember driving to taekwondo lessons in 2nd grade with my best friends, blasting the “Best Day of my Life" by the American Authors. The song would fill the car with a new energy, making every drive and practice feel like it was, truly, the best day of my life. I also remember, in 3rd grade, driving to soccer games out at the Sportsplex in Rockville. As we rolled up to every game, my dad and I would put “Eye of the Tiger” on the radio.
Even when we were playing a team much better than us, the song would pump confidence into my bloodstream, sometimes to the point where I would lose the ball after convincing myself I could get past three defenders at once.
But that’s not really why I love music. Sure, it’s great to get pumped up for taekwondo or a soccer game, but its power truly is so much more than that. When people are gathered together, nothing can bring them closer than music. Take my sleepaway camp, for example. On the last night of camp, we sit around a bonfire, singing “Rocky Raccoon” and “Wagon Wheel,” and all of a sudden, you feel like the eleven-year-old sitting next to you, that you’ve never talked to at camp, is your best friend. You can’t even really see people’s faces, and everyone has their arms around each other, swinging to the music and fighting back tears.
Now, when I hear these songs, all I am reminded of are those moments, which still constitute a major part of my life. What’s funny is that I make fun of my sister for the same thing. I’m not allowed to play “Rivers and Roads” with her because it was her graduation song. I always groan when she says that, because it's a great song, but in writing this article, I’ve realized the reasoning behind it; by listening to certain songs, we are transported into the past, whether for better or worse.
Not only does music bring people together, but it can also be something to turn to when you don’t feel like talking to someone. After bombing a math test earlier this year, I hopped in my car and started blasting Pitbull and Taylor Swift, and for a couple of minutes, I completely forgot about my problems. In that way, music serves as a distraction. There are also times when music can just make any situation peaceful. For example, when my friend and I were driving around in the dark in the rain in rural Virginia, we should have been stressed about getting home and getting to bed before school the next day. But instead, we just sat there, not even talking, listening to Tory Lanez and The Weeknd, and it was incredibly peaceful.
It’s also important to note that music still serves the purpose that I first mentioned. Last summer, before every race, my boat would gather around in a circle, listening to “Thunderstruck” and pounding on our chests. It simultaneously hyped us up and calmed us down, becoming a ritual of sorts that led to laser focus during our six-minute races. Our boat also never would have been the same without blasting “Stir Fry” as we sat in the boat by the Georgetown Waterfront, waiting for our coaches, starting off practice on the right note.
In all these examples, music serves a completely different purpose. It can be a distraction, background noise, a motivator, a memory, or hundreds of other different things, and that is why I love it.