“Put the sounds of your house in a song”

Understanding one another is an integral part of the human experience. Empathy, compassion and understanding are central to living a good life with others. With that in mind, there’s one thing that confuses me about some people. I will never truly understand why there are those who do not listen to music on a regular basis.

Music has always occupied an enormous place in my life, despite the fact that I don’t play any instruments. When I was growing up, my mother always listened to country music stations while my father listened to classic rock. I grew up to the sounds of Alan Jackson, Guns N’ Roses, Toby Keith, Foreigner, Rascal Flatts and Eric Clapton. There was never a silent car ride when I was younger, as music always played our entire trip. Some of my earliest memories involve music.

As a teenager, my earbuds were arguably my best friend. I took them with me to school, put them in between classes and  was a force to be reckoned with should they be lost or broken. The music I listened to at the time — like Of Mice & Men, All Time Low and Never Shout Never — got me through many of the tough moments that came with being a teenager. Though I don’t listen to most of these artists now, they played a sizable part in who I’ve become.

The first two years of college, my music growth was stunted. I listened to a lot of the same music I did in high school, and I found myself not really being interested in any music, like when you don’t know what you want to eat because nothing sounds good. I didn’t want to listen to new artists because I couldn’t sing along, but I didn’t want to listen to what I knew because I’d grown sick of it all.

Last April, my friend texted me and asked if I wanted to attend a music festival called “Homecoming.” I knew none of the artists in the lineup, and it was the weekend before finals. Being who I am, I said yes. We went, and I fell in love with the headliner, The National. They’re a Grammy Award-winning band from Cincinnati. They’re what I’ve been seeking the last two years. Their lyrics are thoughtful and poetic and their music is… exciting and original. Just, wow. I’ve come to idolize this band, especially twins Aaron and Bryce Dessner. The former writes most of the music for the band, and the latter also works as an freelance composer. They’re both more than impressive to me. Now that I’m nine months post-Homecoming, I couldn’t imagine my life without this band. As a Cincinnati native, they’re my personal hometown heroes.

Nowadays, my love for music has changed as any relationship does. Instead of being in the honeymoon phase like when I was a teenager, music and I realize that we’re in it for the long run. I still take my headphones with me everywhere and use them between classes, but my taste has matured. 

The National still dominates most of my music streaming, but artists like Vance Joy, Billy Joel, The Police and Carole King are sprinkled in here and there. I also enjoy more than my fair share of Broadway musicals and annoy my friends with my renditions of Rent, Dear Evan Hansen or Avenue Q.

Music has defined so much of who I am, it’s hard for me to imagine people who haven’t felt such a strong connection to it. I have been saddened, angered, overjoyed and moved by music. I wish everyone could feel what I’ve felt and experienced what I’ve experienced with music. It’s something that holds power no one will ever truly understand.

Hannah Schulz is a junior Digital Innovation, Film and Television major from Cincinnati. She is Head Copy Editor for the Newswire.