Paynesville Press - March 8, 2006

Community Perspective

Student finds unique outlet of expression in music

By Peder Thompson

(Editor's Note: March is Music In Our Schools Month, and the Press - with help from the music faculty - will feature perspectives on the importance of music this month.)

When I look back now at the influence music has had in my life, I think about how thankful I am that my parents and music teachers introduced me to the world of music. I can't imagine not having music as a part of my life today.

My first exposure to playing music was in second grade when my parents brought me to Mrs. Virant, and later to Mrs. Zimmerman, for piano lessons. As soon as I started, I was hooked, looking forward to my next lesson. Don't get me wrong, I had my tough times, but with the encouragement of my parents and music teachers I kept it up.

I am so grateful I did. I believe piano lessons are what truly opened up the world of music to me.

Piano playing required practice, and at first my teacher had me write down all of my time each week that I played piano. As I got more advanced I was able to play without keeping track of time, which was nice, but required more motivation. Practice always paid off in the end, especially at recitals.

Piano recitals helped me to build my confidence. Playing in front an audience was also good preparation for acting and musicals.

I have been involved in a few musicals, all of which have been great experiences. Musicals have provided a way to express myself with acting and music, a wonderful combination. Mrs. Bungum, the director of the high school choir in Paynesville, has recently begun to do a musical each year with the high school and middle school choirs. I believe that this is a great opportunity for many students to get involved with music in our school, in a fun and unique way.

In fifth grade I began playing trombone, and then in sixth grade I joined the school band and choir with Mr. Vork and Mrs. Bungum. These classes were new experiences to me, especially to be able to play and sing in a group. I loved the feeling of being a part of a whole ensemble, such as a band or choir.

What I always have loved most is the contrasting and harmonizing parts, which can only be found by joining in music with others. The entire group is not always right together or in tune, but when it is, the music is fantastic!

When I entered high school, I began accompanying for choir and band ensembles. This opened another door in my piano playing. It was a completely new experience to be able to play piano, not only for my own enjoyment, but also in support of other musicians.

In middle school and high school, I also played in my church's band and bell choir. This created a good opportunity for me to use music as a way to worship. Nothing compares to the sound of music drifting towards the high ceilings in a sanctuary.

Even with how much I love playing for and with other people, I also love playing for my own enjoyment. Playing piano late at night or strumming a guitar in the evening relaxes and calms me in a way nothing else does.

So when I think about the question, "What has music done in my life?" I cannot even begin to put it all into words. Playing music gives me a way to express myself in a way words cannot. Music is like another language that everyone can understand; it just requires one to listen to its flowing rhythm.

These are just a few of the many reasons why music is so important in my life. Through my music teachers at school and many others, I have been given a wonderful beginning to a life of music. I would highly recommend that everyone find a way to make music a part of their lives!

Thompson, a junior at PAHS, plays in the band and sings in the choir.

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