I can thank Monica Valentinelli for inspiring this post.
Monica’s post Speak Out With Your Geek Out gave me a permission I couldn’t give myself with any ease: geeking out more than in passing on say, Twitter, about music. I’m Pandora happy, blip addicted, YouTube surfing, in love with music.
I’ll have a music minor when I graduate, though I did briefly major in music awhile back. I’m a geek for music, because it’s amazing. Music is in so many cultures, part of culture, part of language. It can be remixed, reinterpreted, mashed up, replayed, overplayed, never played at all, and never played enough. I’m a synesthetic, which adds dimensions to music for me that I don’t have proper English words for. Just colours and tastes.
We have concerts, radio, Pandora, garage bands, iPods, CDs, stereos, recitals, we have so many ways to transmit music when it isn’t live, and a variety of venues for when it is. People introduce each other to music, argue about it, chart courtships and lifetimes with it. Music has a history. It’s more than plain chaint, “classical music,” oldies and rock. And a part of that history is every music geek’s personal experience with it.
I grew up at the tail end of the 1980’s, leading into the 1990s. So my childhood had records, tapes, mix tapes, FM radio, concerts, religious music at services, singing in the car on road trips, and starting in junior high, vocal training before, during and after my parents convinced me to audition for a choir that had been to Carnegie Hall.
I’ve tried playing instruments. I’m a terrible violinist. I’m functionally illiterate when it comes to playing guitar. I am a just barely passable accordion player, and I have vague memories of childhood piano shenanigans. I can bang a bodhran in a crowd, and have sworn off harmonica. Being unskilled at instruments doesn’t bother me, because I had fun trying. It’s always been fun, even though my being a music geek has a bump in the road.
When I was seventeen, I was diagnosed as having considerable, measurable hearing loss. I straddled the curving line of that loss, between being able to pass as fully able to hear and being unable to function without a hearing aid. I was a teenager, and desperately afraid of being more different than I already was. Of being disabled. Of losing music. I decided to become an English major, instead of majoring in music. I stopped singing with bands and choirs, and became a stage manager. Music became a private soundtrack, a passionate love I’d evangelize for, but mostly enjoyed on my own, headphones cradled to my ears.
What I’ve learned from being a music geek is important. I experience music in my own way, and that’s more than okay. I make and hear and feel music differently than I did at ten, or fifteen, or twenty, and being a geek is partly about that journey it takes you on. Being open to letting your passion for something grow and change while you do. I learned to not give up, from being a geek about music. And I learned that you should have things you love so passionately they light the whole world up for you. That they’re worth growing and changing with, and working to hold onto.