Matt Vroman, a student in Comm 100
American poet and educator Henry Wadsworth Longfellow once said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.”
Lyrics and rhythm speak out and express feelings when words are unable to do so. For many of us, music is present in our daily lives. Some recognize it as background noise while for others it has a much different meaning. Whatever genre it may be, individuals are impacted in powerful ways.
What effect does music have on people here at Fisher? “I listen to music because it teaches me a lesson and it gives me a rhythm to life through inspiration,” said Ken Deland.
Deland is an avid country music fan who picked up a guitar this past summer and has not put it down since. Deland finds music very important as it is a way to express your feelings through art. He made it clear that through adulthood many people get extremely busy and “lose the will to dance.”
Deland has studied lyrics and how songs can bring out emotions to the listener. “Some people just have it as a background but to me, it’s stories about life.” Today he continues to jam to songs from one of his greatest influences, Hank Williams.
In the early 1950s, Williams was extremely popular, releasing songs such as “Hey Good Lookin’,” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart.” He was a pioneer for country music today by creating lyrics that expressed universal feelings among many people in America.
Erik Flores, a freshman at Fisher is also no stranger to the world of music. He grew up in New York City listening to rock with his mother while also learning to play multiple instruments. Flores plays the acoustic guitar, bass and even performed regularly with a trumpet in a Mariachi band.
Flores finds himself listening to music every day and has clearly been changed by it. “I listen to music as a way to help me concentrate and it is a way of reflection, and relaxation especially after a long day.”
Especially during the COVID-19 lockdowns, there were instances where he was lonely and music helped him through those tough times.
English Professor Fionnuala Regan added to the conversation. “I like to be exposed to all kinds of music, and I try to find value in it.”
Regan can be found in Basil 108 listening to 88.5 FM and 91.5 FM which ranges from classical to modern rock. Her favorite type of music is folk/rock but admits that limiting it to one specific genre or artist is ridiculous.
“For instance, I used to dislike rap, but I now like it particularly because of its social value,” said Regan. There is a clear appreciation here for all types of music. Growing up with a father who was a musician allowed her to be directly exposed to the world of music in which we live in today. Regan took lessons for a few different instruments but unfortunately did not continue with it due to being occupied with her profession. This being said, she is still determined to get back into it.
“Music is an essential enrichment to life, I think, so I’m happy that listening is important to me; playing would be even better.”
Rap and Hip Hop are also very popular genres today that many people can relate with. Paul Vitagliano, a freshman on the football team, grew up listening to Eminem, Beastie Boys, and The Beatles. His father was a huge influence on the music he listens to today. “When I was younger I listened to songs with my dad just for fun,” said Vitagliano.
“Now today’s music is helpful therapeutically when going through tough times, I also enjoy the meanings behind songs.” Vitagliano enjoys listening to music with friends in any atmosphere. He especially enjoys listening to rap before sporting events as a way to relax and calm his nerves.
Some of Vitagliano’s favorite artists today are Kendrick Lamar and Tyler, the Creator. These artists produce music that tells stories of their upbringings and experience with life. For example in the album Good Kid, M.A.A.D City, by Kendrick Lamar, the artist touches on how he had to grow up in Compton — a city in California very gang-affiliated and full of crime. Kendrick was not a gangster or violent person but had friends who were; hence the title of the album.
People all across the world enjoy this music because of the realism and truth behind their words. At Fisher, there are various individuals who like all kinds of music. Whether it is rock, rap, country, or hip hop, they all have tremendous influences on people. The commonality of these genres brings out a sense of relaxation, happiness, coping with struggles, and even a way to relieve stress