Guest Blog: Growing Up With Music
Kayla VanWyk is a senior at Trinity Christian College and just completed an internship with Under The Radar. We loved having her on the team this last semester, and asked her to end her time with us with a blog about the role of music in her life.
GROWING UP WITH MUSIC ~ by Kayla VanWyk
Dancing around the kitchen, sliding across the hardwood floors with my socks on.. that’s how I came to love music. I grew up in an environment where music was always playing, whether my family was in the car listening to my VeggieTales soundtrack cassette tape or I was outside jumping on the trampoline with my stereo blaring or I was dancing in the kitchen with my dad. Music was a huge part of my life. And as I got older, I wanted to be up on the latest hits that were being played on the radio - I even tried to catch as much of the top 40 countdowns as I could before and after attending church. It’s fun to think back and recognize how much my tastes in music have changed and, hopefully, refined over the years. I started off listening to the classic oldies my parents enjoyed and the bluesy, folk artists my dad appreciated. I listened to fun, kid-friendly Christian artists such as Go Fish and Steven Curtis Chapman and gradually graduated to owning CDs that weren’t all Christian artists. That’s another point that I can laugh about: I truly prided myself in my CD collection, and honestly, still do even though I don’t have a real CD player to play them in anymore.
My family had everything from stacks of vinyls to drawers of cassette tapes to shelves of CDs. If my dad wasn’t listening to music through a stereo system, he was singing something on his own or playing his guitar out on the porch. Looking back on all this makes me wonder if I hadn’t grown up in such a music driven environment, would I still be drawn toward music? I guess you could say this is a classic case of nature v. nurture, but I honestly think my love for music stems from the influences of my childhood. My parents encouraged me in all forms of music, whether I was singing in church or practicing my piano or saxophone, they wanted me to work at it but still be able to enjoy the beauty that they saw in it.
I hope this is something that is being instilled in young kids today because I wouldn’t want them to miss out on the wonderful gift of music. I want them to have the same chance as I did: to fall in love and then make mistakes and find their way to a path of music that stirs their emotions and draws them in in new ways. Finding a song you love is a way to dive into uncharted emotions or simply to change a mood from bad to good.
Some might say we’re lucky to live in the digital age that we do because it’s easier to search and find new music, and I would agree with that to an extent. It is easy to search the Internet for songs, but I tend to get caught up with what I hear on the radio and struggle to move too far past that. Whereas, when I was younger, I could spend hours in a Barnes and Noble bringing CDs over to the sample station, and that’s how I decided what new CDs to buy.
I guess I sound like someone driven by nostalgia and tied to the “good old days,” but that’s not necessarily the point I’m trying to make. I simply want people to recognize the important role that music plays in our lives and in shaping our memories and our character. I’m already getting the amazing chance to watch my nephews grow up with music. Their mom teaches them to play piano and they get the opportunity to be involved in band. I only wish college didn’t separate me from them as much, so I could share the pureness of simply sitting and soaking in songs, and selfishly, I want to see them drawn to the same styles of music that I am. I want them to know the music that goes beyond what their friends are talking about from hearing on the radio. This is their formative years, and I can’t imagine having gone through my formative years without music playing in the background.
The 2007 film, August Rush, sums this idea up perfectly. If you haven’t seen it, it’s probably worth your time, plus it gives me a great quote to end my ramblings with: “Listen. Can you hear it? The music. I can hear it everywhere. In the wind, in the air, in the light. It's all around us. All you have to do is open yourself up. All you have to do is listen…The music is all around us, all you have to do is listen.”
Thanks Kayla for this article and for all your help during your internship at UTR. We know big things are in store for you!