Although I’ve been through a good amount of hardship and inconsistency in my life, one of the only constants for me has been the power of good music. I’ve always had a really diverse music taste, and many times I’ve been able to find a real source of healing among the lyrics and melodies of my favorite songs. Learning to play music has also been an integral part of my self-care routine. When I’m having a rough day, sitting down for an hour or two and learning a new song on guitar can shift my mood and help me focus on something productive.
On Penn’s campus, and throughout the city of Philadelphia, I’ve been able to find so many incredible musical outlets. One of my favorite activities since freshman year has been attending local concerts with my friends. One of my favorite venues is Union Transfer, which actually used to be a luggage transfer station for the Reading Railroad. I recently saw Julien Baker play there, and in late November I’ll be attending a St. Vincent show at The Electric Factory, another really cool venue in the city.
Another form of musical healing comes with being a radio DJ for WQHS, the student-run radio station at Penn. Every Sunday from 2-4pm, my co-host Sam and I host a show with a weekly theme. We play music, share stories, and have an amazing time – even though I spend a good amount of the show making mistakes and telling too many bad jokes. (Shameless plug, but you can see a show schedule and listen live at wqhsradio.org, and find our personal show, “StethoSound Radio” on Facebook, where we post our playlists every week!)
What’s really cool about being a student here is that my interest in music doesn’t have to be limited to my extracurriculars. This semester, for my “Reasoning, Systems, and Relationships” sector requirement, I’m taking a music theory class. Usually nursing students will take a math or linguistics class to fulfill this requirement, but I jumped on the opportunity to take a music class for credit. We learn how to read music, play piano, and we even become “ear trained” to recognize specific notes and chords within songs. Even though the course is difficult, it’s so amazing to sit in class reading and listening to music three days a week, and to know that our final project is to compose our own piece of music.
Whether it’s attending an ear-training lab for a course I’m in, going to a concert on the weekend, or sitting on my friend’s couch playing guitar with them, music finds its way into my life every single day. I feel so lucky to live in a place that allows me to access music so easily, and to recognize how much of an impact this makes on my well being.