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The Music of my LifePosted Wednesday, January 19, 2011, at 6:03 AM
For almost of half of my life, I have played the oboe. I began when I was 13, and up until I came to Hong Kong, was still playing at the age of 24. Even further back, at age 10, I began playing the recorder. So, it really can be said that more of my life has involved music than not.
Here in Hong Kong, I am without an oboe. I was anxious about bringing such a valuable item with me, yet of course sad to leave it behind. However, it has only been in the past few weeks that I am really missing it, as well as my fellow musicians in the Marshall Philharmonic.
Although it can sometimes cause stress, for me music is typically a form of stress relief. It doesn't matter if you had a fight with your roommate or your students were naughty or someone ran into you in the street: that hour or so of practicing is just you and the music, creating beautiful sounds and expressions where there was silence a moment before.
I am pleased to report that all the students at my school are active in music--it always makes me sad when I meet children at home who've had little musical experience. My students are required to participate in either choir or band, even in elementary school. As with everything else in Chinese education, it is highly competitive and the annual music festival is coming up soon. But hopefully, they feel the emotional and spiritual parts of music, too.
Another bright side for me here is that my school has a chapel, which isn't used too frequently, and inside there is an upright piano. In my free time, I sneak down to do a bit of practicing, and now I've about mastered Scott Joplin's famous "Entertainer." And, I know that my oboe is waiting for me when I return home this summer, even if I will be a bit rusty.
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Something about music. Something about small towns. Something about Hong Kong. Or maybe something else entirely.
Sydney is a former staff writer for the Democrat-News. She received degrees from University of Missouri in both music and magazine journalism. She played oboe with the Marshall Philharmonic Orchestra and the Marshall Municipal Band while she was in Marshall.