The Aging Melody
Updated: Jun 8
By James Tapp (IG: @jimbo_tapp )
Music is something special. Even if you don't dance or sing, chances are you have a favourite song. And that's not just something that happens when you hit a certain age, it's right from the start. I got told I was dancing to the neighbour's music while I was still in the womb and I'm sure I'm not the only one. Music brings people together in so many ways, from moshing to RnV to crying your heart out over your highschool boyfriend.
Whether it was spending your Saturdays scribbling songs about your favourite stuffed animals to perform a sell-out concert for your family, jamming out on the keyboard, or maybe even banging on some pots and pans, everyone seems to have tried making music at some point. And for a little kid, maybe one who can't even speak yet, this means expression. Humans are unique in the ability to put together elements such a rhythm, melody and beat all together, with emotion being the heart of it all. Crying and smiling are all well and good, but there’s something about music that explains those feelings which will never arise through words.
Let's skip ahead a few years. It's the start of a new school year and you've just gone into Year 4. Getting older is cool and all, but now you get to be in the school band. So what instrument are you going to pick? Why are you going to pick it? As a 7-year-old, I decided to pick the clarinet. Within a matter of weeks I could play hot cross buns, within a year I knew the Harry Potter theme song. But why? Why play an instrument when it means I had to be at school early for band practice? I wanted to be cool and back then I thought the clarinet was the way to go. Oh, I also got out of class to go and have lessons.
From a parent’s point of view, instruments seem to teeter between blessing and curse. I can't imagine every parent wanting to have a kid who likes hammering away at the drums or just plays everything out of tune. So why encourage it? Learning an instrument is supposed to be beneficial towards language learning and improving memory, with research showing even learning a little bit can help build protection against neurological diseases such as dementia.
Let's skip forward again to the present day. It's been a couple years now since I stopped playing the clarinet. So have most of the people I met while playing, and if they haven't, they're in orchestras and jazz bands and wherever else a clarinet fits in. Looking back, picking the clarinet was a fatal mistake, being a rock fan and all. But while I'm not playing the clarinet, everyone knows some dude whose main personality trait is playing Wonderwall on an acoustic guitar at a party. But why? Why is it someone can grab a guitar, play a song and then probably have someone on their arm by the end of the night? Because it’s social. Music in every aspect is about how we socialise, whether it’s setting a mood, elevating a concert to new heights, or bonding you and your friends forever.
For some, shared music taste isn't a huge deal. For others (such as myself) shared music tastes get sparks flying. To prove this, I asked what instruments my mates played when they were younger, and what they wish they had learnt to play. The top answers were keyboard, drums and the guitar. I ask you, what makes up your typical band? Bingo! Keyboard, drums and the guitar. Deep down we all wish we had the ability to jam out and have a good time with our mates.
We’ve looked at the past, we’ve looked at the present, now it’s time for the future. No matter what it looks like, there will be music and chances are we’ll like it. Slowly but surely though, The Breeze might start playing the early 2000 hits, maybe a bit of Britney Spears, or for myself some Franz Ferdinand and Sufjan Stevens. Unfortunately, this means we’ll be the future boomers, with the quaranteens and whoever else follows judging us harshly on our music taste. But I can guarantee that they'll have their own music as well which we’ll struggle to comprehend. And that’s the beauty of it: no matter who is making it, when it’s being made or how it's being made, music will always be important and will always exist.