Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate November 2001

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English 105 2000 What the Hell is That? "You will go nowhere if you keep up that style and attitude," my teacher says as she slaps me on the wrist. I feel worthless and I cry. Playing the violin was enjoyable- she morphed it to an instrument of torture.

"Your sound will never improve and you will never be good." My teacher's voice echoes through my head as I play for her as cautiously as the gazelle that is being stalked by lions.

I recall playing in a concert when my teacher was there; the next day she gave me a slap on the wrist for my "lazy" position during the previous night's performance. When I was young I practiced every day just to impress my teacher. She told me that it would take many practice hours to shape up to sound like a real violinist. This insulted me because judging me on how I interpreted the music is, in my opinion and my judgement, takes away the freedom of expression that we Americans supposedly have.

The violin was put aside for years; during that time, I longed for the passion and the power I felt when I played the violin. My entire family listened to country, rap, jazz, and pop music, which was fine, except that I couldn't understand why a song would be played 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and then not at all the next week. Classical music never was never handed the disability of going out of style, like most pop culture stuff has. I mean 80's music was cool in the 1980's, but who listens to that crap any more anyway? Or take hippie music from the 60's and 70's. Do you ever hear that nonsense anymore? Well, I thought so. However, if you take classical music, it has been around for hundreds of years.

J. S. Bach innovated church organ music to stand alone as performance pieces in the late 1600's to the 1750's during the Baroque period of music. His music is still performed today by many of the world's best musicians in sold out concerts all over the world. Another famous composer is W. A. Mozart, who wrote music in the classical era circa 1760-1800. His most famous song, " Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" is hummed by every child even today. There are countless other composers who wrote classical music in which millions around the world flock to see and hear performed live. For people who neither listen to classical music nor play a musical instrument, the effect of this style of music on anyone's life is incomprehensible.

I remember taking Cub Scout trips when I was in Junior High and all the kids would trade CD cases. I hated it when people looked at my CD's because they were all classical music. My friends always laughed and said "that crap is for pussies." And then I would have to defend myself and make up some elaborate lie like " I mistakenly picked up my mom's CD's this morning," or "my dad always puts his CD's in my case." I would feel embarrassed, but at the same time I felt proud that I listen to classical music, because no one else was mature enough to enjoy it. More importantly, they didn't play an instrument, so they couldn't possibly know what good music was.

I recall my freshman year in college at the University of Miami, where I studied violin and played in the orchestra. The University of Miami Symphony Orchestra was invited to the Bahamas to perform with the National Bahamian Youth choir because the caliber of orchestra required was not available on the islands. Of course our director took the invitation, and the whole orchestra went to Nassau courtesy of the Bahamian Government. During intermission of one concert, an elderly couple approached to me and expressed their appreciation of the performance because it was "so great to hear those sounds again on this island." You see, playing the violin is not only good for ones self, but for others as well.

Laughed at, maybe. Criticized, maybe. But one thing is for sure, I will always be playing dead guys' music with confidence that people will always want to hear it. And any form of expression in music is acceptable, (even if you do not understand it) because somewhere in the world, someone else is enjoying it.