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The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

The Student News Site of Lowell High School

The Lowell

Finding purpose through music

Katharine Kasperski, Emily Yee
Katharine Kasperski
Katharine Kasperski, Emily Yee

As I grab the neck of the guitar, I still feel the same excitement that I did the first time I laid eyes on it. There’s a weightiness to it that feels appropriate, carrying all those memories. The body is sleek and well molded, resting perfectly on my lap. I flip the on switch on the amp and, after a beat, hear the faint hum that represents so many possibilities. My fingers find their place on the strings, steel digging into thick calluses, and I begin to create. 

Being creative is one of the great joys of my life that gives it purpose. Finding an outlet to express myself has greatly improved my sense of self worth, allowing me to live a more fulfilling life. Rediscovering my passion for art through music has helped me to realize that self expression is essential to my happiness.

Starting from a very young age, I was artistically inclined. To create something that didn’t exist previously felt closer to magic than pulling a rabbit out of a hat. While the scarcely thought-out scribbles of my four year old self hardly carried any artistic merit, I could still find value in them; through my own divine providence, I willed these sketches of Homer Simpson and Green Lantern into life like the benevolent deity I was. Of course, the genius of my artwork was not understood by all, and I was encouraged to try my hand at different artistic avenues.

I became interested in musical instruments after attending my brother’s violin lesson when my mother couldn’t find a babysitter. Upon dragging the horse hair across the tightly wound nylon strings, I heard a spine-tingling banshee scream that appeared to be produced by my own hand. I was again struck by my creative genius, and continued to play for another two years before my teacher suggested that I try a new instrument. 

I decided to pick up the guitar, which my mother soon shut down because I was having “too much fun.” I wanted to play the saxophone, but the music store was out of stock, so I came home with a clarinet. The rigorous schedule of practicing for 30 minutes a day seemed to be more my mother’s speed, and I played until seventh grade, when I quit because I hated the constant drilling.

This was my life’s purpose: to imbue every canvas with my art and transform the thoughts in my head into something beautiful.

Despite these musical setbacks, my creative juices continued to flow through other mediums. I began to paint, and was amazed by the way the colorful acrylics, oils and watercolor flowed like syrup from a maple tree. It was so deliciously sweet. This was my life’s purpose: to imbue every canvas with my art and transform the thoughts in my head into something beautiful.

Then, in the eighth grade, it was announced that school would be shut down due to an outbreak of a virus, and things began to change. A year of isolation during my transition to a new school left me feeling completely alone, and I started to lose interest in all mediums of art. I was already hopeless at communicating online, and being forced to stay home made me feel like I had lost all of my friends. I no longer felt like I had a community of loved ones who supported me, and I began to forget my purpose in life. I hadn’t picked up a paintbrush or a musical instrument since the pandemic began. My life became a routine, a dull numbness. My only interests were media consumption and staying shut in my room. 

Even after the lockdown ended, I was plagued by crippling social anxiety. My thoughts that had previously been sketched onto a piece of lined paper or carried out in graceful melody were now trapped with no way of escaping, not even through my mouth. I felt distant from the people who said they loved me, and therapy didn’t feel like it was helping. I found comfort in taking walks with my earbuds in, listening to music, and just when I thought I had forgotten it completely, I started to feel something that I hadn’t for years: the desire to create.

I determined that I would try and pick up the guitar again; spring break was approaching and I didn’t have anything else to do. My family members all played guitar to some extent, so we had plenty of them lying around. I dusted off the most attractive one, and strummed out an E major chord. There was something so familiar about it. A huge smile crept over my face. I played E major again and again until my fingers hurt, but I barely cared about the pain. After a few months, I got a summer job to pay for my own guitar, a Player Series Fender Stratocaster.

I can rely on the vibration of the guitar strings to resonate throughout my body, bringing me solace when I cannot find it elsewhere.

The electric signal that ran through that guitar might as well have run through my entire body. I felt the same joy as I had as a young child, creating a new sound that hadn’t existed before. I gained more confidence and felt closer with my friends, even attempting to start a band with one that played guitar. I once again felt purposeful. My thoughts screamed through my guitar, and nothing made me happier than when I was asked to keep it down.

Now music plays a major role in many aspects of my life. I can rely on the vibration of the guitar strings to resonate throughout my body, bringing me solace when I cannot find it elsewhere. I can now play the songs that were my only source of comfort years ago, allowing me to connect with my emotions on a deeper level. Playing music with my peers has allowed me to relate to them and discover new things.

Much like the art of my younger self, music is what gives me purpose in life. Whether it’s playing with my friends or challenging myself with a difficult song, music has filled the void that formed in the absence of art. I have finally rediscovered my passion for art — and I couldn’t be more satisfied.

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About the Contributors
Benjamin McDonell
Benjamin McDonell, Reporter
He/Him Ben is a senior at Lowell. He likes to play guitar and listen to music and etc.
Katharine Kasperski
Katharine Kasperski, Photographer
She/Her Katharine is a junior at Lowell. Outside of school, you can probably find her watching a film at Balboa Theater, jamming to The Cure, or taking long walks around the city, usually while procrastinating on her homework.

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  • K

    KathyApr 22, 2024 at 9:40 am

    Beautifully said, Ben. I can relate to the the stirring of joy in having a paintbrush in my hand again after a long dry season without. ( Your dad shared this with me).
    Aunt Kathy