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Ashanty Barrios 09/17/13 English 106 How I Became Literate In Music Everyone has something they are passionate

about or fascinates them in some way or another. In my case, its music. Liking music, or even just listening to it does not make you literate in music though. To be literate in music, one must learn how music works, how to play it, and how to create your own original composition. I have spent a lot of time learning how to read, write and play my own music. Along the way, I also learned how to play three instruments, the guitar, piano, and viola. Dedication and vivacious instructors have led me to continue expressing my passion for music and have influenced me into being who I am today. Let us take a step back to where it all began. I was four years old and on my way to my first concert. It was playing in Grant Park, a famous landmark in my hometown of Chicago. I was accompanied by my aunt Elba and my older cousin Jayson. I cant recall what the band was called but I do know that they were a smaller local Indie Rock band. To this day, Indie Rock remains one of my favorite genres. It was a warm day in late June. I was eating a hotdog before the show and Jayson was holding my Italian ice. I ate my food as we walked to our seats, which were close to the stage. I remember anticipating so long for the show to begin that my Italian Ice had started melting and I was growing impatient to go home. Then out of nowhere, the band comes out, donned in jeans and t-shirt and holding their lavish instruments. I noticed one of the guitars was an elegant black and white one with

what appeared to have a smaller guitar attached to it. It was like nothing I had ever seen before and when the band started playing, I was fascinated by the sound it produced. From that moment on, I was determined to play beautiful music like the band on stage. In order to play music, you needed an instrument, which was something I did not have. I had asked Santa that year for a really cool guitar like the one that the man in the band used. After all, Jayson got one shortly after the concert, and I wanted one too. Sadly, I was one very disappointed kid that Christmas. Besides clothes and small toys, my parents offered to pay for piano lessons if I really wanted to play something. Since a friend of my moms was a piano instructor, I figured I might as well. The day I met her, she seemed friendly and although I forgot her name, I havent forgotten what I learned. She showed me the proper way to position my hands and how to read treble and bass clef simultaneously. It was very tricky at first, especially when most of the music was written in minor or sharp notes. I eventually caught on since I practiced for about 45 minutes a day for an entire year. I listened to classic songs like Fur Elise and felt proud of myself whenever I mastered a famous song. This motivated me to continue playing and then later on also learning a new instrument. I played the piano for a total of two years continuously and then off and on the years after that. In the meantime, I had been saving up to buy a guitar with the allowances my parents gave me. I was able to buy a cheap black Fender electric guitar for about $120 and a book on how to play. After numerous attempts, and consistent failure to produce any pleasant sounds from it, I called up Jayson to help

me learn how to play. I learned the basic chords and simple songs. I didnt like how I sounded though, and so it made me less eager to practice. I eventually gave up on playing the guitar and took a break from playing. It wasnt until my senior year that I decided to give it another try. I missed the feeling I would get from learning new chord transitions and strumming melodies on my cousins acoustic guitar. My teacher, Mr. Hudson, was a hip, young teacher that showed us how to play some of my all time favorite songs along with some pretty cool blues songs. This was probably the reason why I practiced so much, because who wouldnt want to learn how to play their favorite songs? On top of that, my two best friends were in that class as well. They made it more enjoyable and were really good encouragement to keep playing. Since then, Ive continued playing the guitar and have learned many of my favorite songs. Before I gave the guitar another chance, I decided to take a year of orchestra. After our teacher Mr. Khuu played us each instrument in class and made us choose, I picked the viola. The sound was not as high pitched as the violin, and the cellos just seemed weird to me like the bass with its deep tones. In class we started learning scales and I really enjoyed the way the instrument rested on my shoulder and the posture we had to maintain while playing. I liked the majestic sound it would make when we played Minuet and Beethovens symphony number 7. To make sure we were actually practicing, we had mandatory tutoring sessions once a week. It really taught me how to be disciplined, committed, and responsible when it came to practicing music. Not only that, but along the way I learned how to write music as well. Considering our quizzes consisted of writing short melodies using new notes

and incorporating arpeggios and scales, this came easily to me. This was a lot of fun and even after I left orchestra my senior year, I continued to write my own music. It was a good way to be creative and express how youre feeling through a harmonic tune. It was a freedom that I really enjoyed having. From Indie to Classical music, and everything in between, having the opportunity to learn these instruments has been an amazing experience that has overall broadened my taste in music. As clich as it may sound, music has gotten me through some very jagged patches in my life. It may have been because I knew that whoever wrote the song I was listening to, they had some emotions they were trying to express as well. They set a good example of how to express those emotions in a healthy manner. Music helped me through my awkward middle school phase when I would get bullied for being the smart one. It got me through breakups and fights with friends. Most importantly however, music gave me confidence and made me who I am today. For that reason, being able to produce and play music has been an honor for me, and I am proud to say that I am musically literate.