Enter, the Music…

As much as I have written about mental health, and the necessity of its acceptance in the part of society, these writings only represent a small portion of who I am, and where I came from.

I was once a musician.  Skilled in my trade, and one of professional promise.

Training towards this career began at age five, when I started violin lessons at a local Suzuki school.  Of high caliber, to my benefit.  I had a private, one-on-one lesson once a week, and a few classes on Saturday mornings.  The latter was when I met the other students of my year.  Most were Chinese and Korean, and two years younger than me.  But it made no difference.  I loved music, and that was all there was to it.

Mental illness started to interrupt my studies though.  When I became depressed, I was too depressed to practice.  When I started experiencing voices in college, so too did the instrument start speaking to me.  The only way I could escape these disastrous situations, was to avoid music altogether.  A tragic compromise.

Indeed, for when I have tried to play even recently, my frame would shake, my brow developed an electrical sweat and my nerves, rattled.  An abstract experience to describe, but such is the irrationality of mental affliction.

But a miraculous turn has occurred.  I am now able to take up the instrument suddenly.  It has been twenty years, this former grief!

What happens to make this change?  Perhaps my reliance on the drug Clozapine, which never eases to do wonders for me.  The longer I am on it, the better it works.  I also have changed my attitude about music.  I first figured that I suffer from a phobia of the violin.  I then read that mental health professionals tackle phobias via Exposure Therapy.  Each time, one becomes gradually exposed to that which is feared, with more and more intensity, for lack of a better term.

And so… I and music.  Such is now my approach.  Such is now my cure.

I hope to get better on the instrument than ever before.  I hope to play it with the expertise of the best of professionals.

And still, my spirit of advocacy can stretch into my music making as well.  Because ever since childhood… I’ve despised pop music, and all the other genres one would hear on the radio.  As a five year old, I found tunes from the radio to be akin to baby music.  And while the masses may be entertained by it, it horrifies me that many simple tunes are more popular than that which requires more skill to create.

To create an analogy: I might enjoy a cardboard baby book as an infant, but I’m not going to read such books as an adult.

This is how I view popular music, in comparison to classical, as well as other forms that require earnest study.  Traditional musicks from cultures around the world fall into this respectable category, as does jazz.

But I think the fight against Top 40 is a battle long dead.  The war is over.  Classical music is merely something kept alive by elitists and specialist musicians.

Or is it?

I honestly think that rock music is bad for you.  See here: we always talk about organic food and being all natural with the crystals and the essential oils and the purified ionic water and crap… But what about organic sound?   Don’t you think it’s bad for the body, mind and soul to be pledging allegiance to electronic sounds, unnaturally vibrating within your head at 120 decibels?  And earbuds?  You think that’s natural?

I didn’t think so.  But I’m sure you’ll defend the honor of your favorite band, because they’re all rad and they said stuff no one else ever said before, blah blah.

See… This is why I’m not a professional musician.  The musical world today is so broken.  I am it strong enough to fix it.  Nor are there enough people in the world who want to fix it in the same way I want to.

Writing about this only makes me angry.  But maybe… maybe I developed mental illness because I, a very musical person, was surrounded by inorganic sounds?  By the age of five, I physically cringed with discomfort whenever I heard “radio music,” and was convinced that it was utterly evil.  CONVINCED.

Maybe this is another reason why people develop mental illness: inorganic sound.  What do you think?

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4 thoughts on “Enter, the Music…

  1. Hmmmm – That’s an interesting idea. I was raised on classical music, no Top 40 in the house. I discovered Folk and Blues early in my teens. Inorganic sounds? That voice pitch correcting gadget (True Tone?) so often found in current Pop music is horrible and I respond to it with the thought, “If you can’t hit the notes, get off the stage.” Beyond music, I do think the pervasive noise of our urban environments is harmful in many ways, and may worsen a tendency toward mental illness. This seems most dramatic in the response of some people on the Autism Spectrum to that kind of sensory overload. I’m trying to think of how your question could be studied and not clear how that could be done. It is clear that your response to certain sorts of music and sound is somehow related to the development of you illness. And, BTW, I am very glad that you are getting your music back. That is great news.

  2. first let me just say that I enjoy reading your article sore postings with that being said let me explain my disagreement with this particular entry as a professional musician at one time and professional songwriter I have to say that when I started out I started out in classical music and later learned that it was a trigger for me when I move to what is referred to as a musical Hub or you can actually become a professional top 40 you know musician Rider Ranger singer whatever in my case it was a composer and songwriter lyricist I learned early on that by having an appreciation for jazz and classical music was something I could do in my spare time but if I wanted to make a living as a professional musician at one time and professional songwriter I have to say that when I started out I started out in classical music and later learn that it was a trigger for me when I move to what is referred to as a musical hub where you can actually be cam a professional talk 40 me know musician rider her Ranger singer whatever in my case it was a composure and songwriter earlier assist I learned early on that by having an appreciation for jazz and classical music with something I could do in my spare time but if I want to make a living at my craft I had to learn the end of out and I most honestly say that from being in my beginning training and classic one Jaden in going to a school or they actually train you buy the professional to actually playing on the records and out there making a living doing it and popular music was a big guy opener and were refreshing because it give me a run appreciation and motivation to continue to stay with you no the training in morning and once I got to a level where I feel competent enough to go out in search for a staff riding position at a publishing company I miss a that writing a talk 40 or me know pot up contemporary whatever John R amazing kit is song is actually more difficult than writing a movement peace and classical music now one thing I will say I I like any other person who appreciates many John reserve music or just hasn’t appreciation for art Barro’s or is influenced by the John R Us so if I listened to a piece of jazz music or classical music I would you know incorporate that into maybe the tempo or you know that way because ever motif and you being musician I’m sure you know what to motif is eat section of a popular song the versa course dent road. Roll the bridge the chorus all that has to be different you have to start a note lower and ascend so if you have a lift from the verse to the chorus so there’s a lot to contemporary popular song riding that sound and light bubblegum so in conclusion I just want you know I didn’t hate it is and I hope it makes sense because I used the voice to I didn’t want I didn’t feel like typing it out my response so I use voice dictation software I’m still fine-tuning it I love your postings and I will continue to read them but I would love I can tell from just this particular posting out I would love to have like a Starbucks or whatever your drink of choice is since we’re both healthy advocate I would love to be able to sit down face-to-face and have a good spirited conversation about this and I hope maybe we can to be continued

    • I appreciate your candor and feedback!
      I admit, that my opinions on music are not the most “reliable.” I am fueled much by personal opinion and experience, and much of the latter has been negative. My views are much to the contrary from career musicians who are far more qualified and skilled in their trade than I, the mere dilettante. My stridency as a semi-professional will certainly rock boats, but such is free speech. I don’t want to change people’s minds and have them agree with me, but rather I simply want to be heard with no further consequence.

      Thank you for reading my articles! I appreciate your opinions, and I hope my musical inclinations will improve over the course of time.

      ~Neesa

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