The original blog topic for today was “10 of My Favorite Songs”. Me? Narrow my favorite songs down to just 10? That’s almost impossible. While I could sit here and name the first 10 Bon Jovi songs that came to my mind and call it a blog, that would be way too easy—and predictable. Instead, I’m writing about my most memorable musical moments.
Love At First Sound
If you’ve been reading my blogs right along (first of all, thank you), then you know that I have an extensive background in music. Not only was music a huge focus of my education, it was also my first love…
Looking back on my life, I’ve always tried to incorporate music—some how, some way—in my every day life. For me, it was the only thing I ever loved, and it was the only thing I was ever good at.
It All Started in High School…
Although I first got into music when I was in fifth grade, I didn’t realize how much I truly loved it until I was a lost teenager in high school. Joining the school band made me realize a huge part of who I was, and where I truly belonged.
I recall my junior year in high school. I took an honors English course, and for the semester’s project, my classmates and I were put into groups of five or six. Each group was assigned a British rock band from the psychedelic blues era. And my group was assigned Led Zeppelin. Score.
I was excited for this project. I did hours upon hours of research, wrote draft after draft, and to this today, I can still recall how the band first started with Jimmy Page, how Robert Plan had no sense of musical timing, how the name “Led Zeppelin” was actually influenced by Keith Moon from The Who, and how John “Bono” Bonham (NOT to be confused with U2’s “Bono”) died, which eventually led to the band’s break up in 1980.
For the “visual aid” component of this project, I worked with my musically inclined friends and fellow band members to perform a cover of “Stairway to Heaven” in front of my teacher and English class.
Needless to say, I got an A.
Thinking Outside the Box
Similarly, before graduation, part of my final for my AP Spanish class was to do a research report on a famous Spanish or Latin American figure. Easy. I chose Selena.
Because my English project was so enjoyable my junior year, I replicated the same idea for my Spanish project. I did a full research paper on Selena’s music career, and her life up until she died, all in Spanish, of course. Then, I worked with my music teacher to write, transpose, and orchestrate the multiple instrument parts of Selena’s “cumbia medley”, which I sang and performed in front of my class.
Yes, all in Spanish.
In the middle of my performance, the high school principal walked through the auditorium door, and just stood there, arms folded. I remember thinking Great. I wonder what HE is going to have to say about this…
Once my performance ended, and my teachers and classmates thanked and congratulated me, my high school principal said to me, “Julie, this is thinking outside the box. This is how all our students should approach their projects. You’re a great role model. Very well done.”
That was the first moment I thought about becoming a teacher. I thought I could teach high school kids just like me how to think creatively and outside the box, and just really make a difference and empower their lives.
No, I never became a teacher, and I have my reasons for that, but music has made a difference in my life, and I hope I have the pleasure of teaching my son or daughter that some day.
Now THAT is teaching.
An Inborn Passion
Of course I could easily write another 50 stories all about my favorite musical moments throughout my life, from performing the “Carmina Burana” at Mechanics Hall in Worcester to meeting and performing with Kenny Rogers.
But even though these moments seemed like a million years ago, music still plays a vital role in my life today. I have an entire bedroom in my house designated as my “rock and roll room”. The alarm on my phone is a Bon Jovi song. I name my pets’ names after bands and rock and roll musicians. My two cats today are “Nikki” and “Toto”, I had a kitten named “Cooper”, my beta fish is “Tico”, and the tree swallow that broke its neck flying into my bay window last week was—briefly—“Garcia”.
My college admissions essay? Music.
My first tattoo? Music.
You get the point.