Things I Know 175 of 365: They gave me music

If music be the food of love, play on.

– William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night I.i.1

“I listen to different music now.”

At the end of my first year at SLA, this was the answer from one student to my question of how my students had changed in their freshman year.

She explained she’d come to the school listening to a mix of emo and pop and was leaving her first year with an appreciation of rock, R&B, Hip Hop and oldies. She even admitted to not hating some classical music. (That one was my fault.)

Other students commented on their changes during their first year of high school too. Four years later, only the music comment sticks in the attic of my brain. I’ve packed it away in the box labeled, “Things Will Be Okay.”

I come from a family of musicians. If they don’t play, they appreciate those who can. Music was everywhere as I grew up. From Tomé to Presley to Tears for Fears to Manhattan Transfer – depending on where I was and whom I was with, anyone could have been providing the soundtrack to my day.

It’s what led to the giddiness when Myspace first asked me to include what song I was listening to when writing a blog post. It always seemed silly they asked about the song and asked how I was feeling. To me, they were one and the same.

When I write, I listen to anything by Hans Zimmer, Balmorhea or Rachel’s. Lately, an album called Cocktail Mix: 4 has started to work its way onto that list.

Music is how I feel.

Rather than wading through the murky waters of a Secret Santa this year, SLA teachers had the chance to opt in to a mixtape exchange. Pick a name, compile a mixtape of at least 15 songs for that person and exchange burned CDs at the staff holiday party. It was better than any $5-limit tchotchke I’ve ever received. Try it.

I drove away from Philly yesterday morning.

As I did, I put a CD in my car’s stereo – Mr. Chase, <3 MUD.

On one of the last days of school, two students appeared in my room and presented the disk to me.

“These are songs that remind us of you,” one of the students explained.

Both of my G11 classes collaborated on the project to suggest songs which were then curated. The result was a disc I kept myself from listening to until I was safely alone, in my car, driving away from Philadelphia.

To say I was touched by such thoughtfulness would be an amazing understatement. They were caring for me.

The mix is a collection of songs I played mercilessly in class, songs we connected over and songs I’d never heard but am honored they connect with me.

I am humbled.

This mix has been added to that box in the attic of my brain.

I share it here because I hope it makes you smile the way it made me smile.

Thank you.

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