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Living to our own beat

Living to our own beat

Students describe the light in their art

Imagine earbuds that let out no sound. Imagine trying to sing, but no melody comes to you. Imagine your favorite song completely wiped from your memory. Picture our summers without lyrics of sunshine, parties, and beach days stuck in our heads.

School dances would be silent circles of people standing huddled together as the lights pulsed to no beat. Think about how dully and how silently our days would pass by without our favorite jams rocking in our ears. Those moments in our rooms where we just turn up the volume to drown out the noises of the world would simply be gone.

Approximately 20 percent of teens experience depression before reaching adulthood. But studies have shown that music therapy reduces depressive symptoms dramatically. A 2010 study of 200 depressed people discovered that those who listened to music for 30 minutes twice daily for five weeks had significantly improved scores on several depression rating scales.

Not even science can deny it: Music is a form of escape, expression, and excitement. We use it to tune out the world, tune into ourselves, or just let go. And that applies to all art forms. They give opportunities for us to soak it in and let it out. Not everyone is an artist, but we can still appreciate color, shapes, and abstract beauty. Not everyone is a dancer, but we can still marvel at the emotions created by movement. Not everyone is a musician, but everyone has that one song that makes them want to dance, sing, cry, laugh, smile, or just hug someone you love. Art has the power to guide us through blackness and pain, and it has the power to move us toward hope. Art is a light.

“Music has always provided an escape from the problems I’ve faced throughout my life. It’s given me hope and inspiration in times when nothing else [could],” sophomore Zach Smith said.

Smith has been playing guitar since he was five years old, and his love for music is as clear as the notes ringing from the belly of his instrument. “[Playing guitar] is like being transported to another world, where every bit of emotion can come out in the form of music instead of words, and to me, that’s a lot more powerful,” Smith said.

His weekends consist of sitting in his music room, plucking away, creating intricate, electric sound. And when his guitars are put back on their stands, he has his headphones in, shuffling through the 347 songs that exist in his music library. Music floods our everyday lives, giving us an escape from the pressures we face.

Musicians and singers are able to use their gifts as outlets for their feelings, but this theme flows steadily through every form of art known to planet Earth. Artists of all kinds create what they feel and what they are passionate about, and the arts provide a universal way for people to scream through brush strokes and cry through pirouettes.

Sophomore Ian Young can attest to this statement. Young is a spray-paint artist who creates incredibly detailed scenes of outer space using only spray-paint and the depths of his imagination. “Art has definitely affected my life in a positive way. It’s given me a different view-point on things. I no longer see anything as ‘ugly’ or ‘unappealing’. Everything contains its own beauty. Art has opened a new pair of eyes for me.” Young said.

Young has been creating art since his freshman year, and he tries his best to paint as often as he can. “[When I paint,] I feel pretty relaxed. I just enter into something similar to a Zen state. It’s one of those things where you can’t think logically, and you end up ditching your brain and just drive yourself purely by your heart,” Young said.

Beyond finding a light in the arts, we can discover who we are. Senior Gabby Hamamoto found herself when she found dance.

“Dancing has given me a sense of identity and individuality. Before dance, I was always known as ‘Guadalupe’s little sister’. And for my first year of high school, I thought that was all I’d ever be,” Hamamoto said. “[Then] I found dance, and people started recognizing me for my performances. I felt like I was actually someone. I was me.”

See, we all struggle with feeling lost, alone, or silenced. There are times in our teenage lives when we see no way out. But you just have to remember the words to that song that lifts your spirits.

“When I dance, I feel like I escape from reality. It’s like the pressures of life are lifted from my shoulders, and I am both lost and found with my emotions,” Hamamoto said.

Even here, at our own high school, there is fine art for us to find beauty in. Go to the PRHS dance show; go see the fall play and the spring musical; audition for the spring musical! Wander through the thousands building, gazing at the student art that lines the hallways. The arts are all around us. When we’re stuck in the dark, the presence of music and art can be our flashlight.

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