Notes on Music

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I’ve been told that great music transcends time and ages. But I didn’t fully appreciate what that meant until a few weeks ago, when I played with fourth all the way through twelfth grade musicians in our long-awaited extravaganza concert featuring every string orchestra in our area. Watching sixth graders play Vivaldi’s ‘Spring’ with bright smiles and jubilant bow-strokes, my senior orchestra mates and I were teleported back to when this melody first captured our imaginations. Playing a grand finale piece together with the entire group, huddled next to violin whizzes and bass masters of all ages, I felt a rush of excitement as we and the audience connected to share a transcendent, uniquely musical moment together.

I have conviction in music’s power to unite: a group of strangers opens hearts to share collective breath and emotion. Starting together a string chamber group, my orchestra mates and I have covered our Lamorinda area, playing Willy Wonka tunes on Halloween to the clapping hands of little princesses and vampires, and Dvorak’s lively G Major quintet for the local women’s garden club, matching the bright colors of tulips and roses. Recently, we performed at a contentious school board meeting and the audience gave us a standing ovation, all hostility evaporated.

A musical perspective adds deeper meaning to every enjoyment. Rivalries in Huck Finn’s feuding families build up with a roaring crescendo; the house of Usher takes on a whole new level of eeriness, its decrepit architecture groaning in dissonance. Traveling to Europe with friends, visiting Blarney Castle and the Eiffel Tower and feeling the sweep of history, I felt strongly connected to each culture’s voice, united by the resonant collective human experience. That resonance crosses continents and spans generations, and enriches every facet of life.

Our orchestra keeps striving to create sublime musical moments together. Recently we shared friendship and music making with the Sydney Boys’ Orchestra. By approaching life as music, I speak a universal language that connects me with my emotions and celebrates our common humanity.

With a Perspective, I’m Andrew Wang.


Andrew Wang is a senior at Campolindo High School in Moraga.