The Presence Of Music

When I studied in ninth grade in India, school usually ended at around 2:30pm, but lots of us stayed back until around 3:30pm for after school activities, studying or taking extra help from teachers. I’d have such activities too, but on Wednesday afternoons, I’d stay back and practice drawing and sketching. I’d remember taking reference from those photographs, being the only one in that room except my art teacher and her assistant, and sketching away, with music playing. The best part was the music-it mobilised me, turning me on and it’s beat was so alive. My life had a theme to it, and just gave me that internal satisfaction I’d been looking for the entire day.

Music wasn’t invented or discovered-it was always there, just progressing through different levels. Since man began chugging pots and pans, discovered or created certain instruments, and found the right implications of his voice, he collaborated with other instruments, begin picking up notes and tunes, and with the formation of schools and education systems, music became just a regular subject like maths, science or geography. One thing that makes music different is the number of implications it has-a student could learn about cultural or historical understanding of music in their own country, or it could supplement their creativity skills with learning a new instrument or creating a song. Just listening a song could increase concentration by itself-when I study or do something manual, like cooking, drawing or writing, listening to music makes it faster and so much better. Irrespective of how terrible my day has been, I start loving my surrounding. On a larger scale, the lyrics, with the rhythm of the song, can just draw together a person’s feelings in a few minutes. This could also go the reverse way and have a negative affect-if someone listens to a dark or negative song, they tend to self-dwell and could be more inclined to depression.

The best part is the invention of enormous online databases like youtube through which anyone can create their lyrics and their songs, upload it and spread a feeling of “worldwide empathy” over an issue or feeling. Some videos or recordings have such strong impression in the story or very theme of the song, that they turn viral. Take the Harlem shake which everyone knows of, or PSY’s Gangam style which nearly everyone sings to although they don’t know the lyrics. The video and tune is so catchy that the song randomly hit a few million views. Vloggers, who reach out to the world through video television or youtube establish channels or pages which can be informative, entertaining or educational. Such free exchange and collaboration of ideas has helped, and entertained millions of us, on a larger scale, a channel or story we connect could establish our link to the world.

Stressed Out?

The other day, I was looking through Quora and spotted this one this question, “I’ve been failing IIT for the past three years. Should I die?” The user had posted some background information on his wasted years-He’d been facing depression, anxiety and procrastinating, not submitting his assignments on time and as a result, performing poorly. He felt that he’d let his parents down and had failed his life entirely, with no purpose left. This kind of a situation wasn’t new to hear of-I’d read most of Chetan Bhagat’s books, where he spoke of the rigid structure of IITs and IIMs, and the issues their students faced. In fact, college life be itself was such a vital part of Indian writing, especially the vigour it demanded from students.
The papers frequently had news of ragging, exam stress and consequently, suicide. Factually, suicide rates in India and worldwide are highest in the 15-19 age group owing to Job anxiety, higher expectations and pressure to achieve more, with the global economic boom. I haven’t been facing the problem of stress or pressure in school, especially since I’m in an international environment leaning towards the UWC(United World colleges) circuit. I study and live in a pretty closed environment, with a calm and well-maintained residential life. We also have a rather strong support system and counselling to ensure that our life is the best it can be. However, tonnes of students my age don’t have this privilege. Once an student enters tenth grade, the exams, assignments and projects just weigh him or her down. Their work and student life is just rushed from there-after passing exams, work just comes pouring for each of them. How do students deal with all this work? How do they clear up all this stress?
The biggest cause for stress and suicidal thoughts with work is not doing what you want to do. Tonnes of students choose a course because it’ll get them a good job or their parents want them to, but if an internal drive or passion for something isn’t there, it’s really hard to excel in it. I once remember having a guest speaker at school, who was a Chennai student and had gotten into Harvard for his graduate course. He emphasised a lot on the fact of doing something in life which was truly something you enjoyed or were interested in. Another guest speaker had said that finding yourself a job is the combination of your what you liked, are good at and earns you money. Nowadays, even local universities counsel students and their parents to ensure that their selected course is something of interest to them. This isn’t just for students, as people world over take up jobs, responsibilities, subjects and courses because others want them to. When the world has possibly every single convenience for a regular human being, why would a person want to miss the opportunity to do what they wish? Of course, it’s important to listen to your parents, friends or relatives while deciding where or what to study or get a job, but remember that it’s your choice in the end which has an impact on the life you want to live. A positive recommendation is fine; but no website, parent, friend or blogger could make a life-decision for you.