By Hannah Beilenson
When people think of Chappaqua, they think of our schools, sports, proximity to New York. Music, however, is also very important to many people in town, as evidenced by the bands and orchestras in all of the schools, Chappaqua Orchestra, and numerous opportunities for private instruction.
But music can be more than just about learning to read notes. Many Chappaqua students, of all ages, are also learning the importance of actually composing the music that they will play.
“Learning classical music is like studying physics at school,” says Danny Golub, a faculty member at Music in Chappaqua, as well as a private instructor of piano, drums, bass, guitar, and songwriting. Golub explained that learning music uses the logical side of your mind, and you have to play it exactly the way it’s written. It explains why many children taught classical music don’t like it; it’s similar to memorizing and studying schoolwork.
According to Golub, however, music composition is more analogous to art class. It acts as a “break” from harsh studying, yet you are still learning. By composing, you learn the theory behind what you are playing, and the rhythm relative to other music. This can actually help you play more naturally. “Writing music is a good form of psychology,” Golub added. It’s not only a way of expressing yourself, but also an outlet for pent up feelings that can keep a musician grounded. And what you write may mean one thing to you, and something completely different to somebody else.
The feeling of accomplishment upon a song’s completion is unparalleled. Creativity and success builds self-esteem, important in all facets of life. “Not everything in life is calculated, you need to be able to create solutions,” said Danny. Learning to read and perform music, particularly classical music, is still important; it is beautiful, sharpens the mind, and is expressive in its own right. A balance of both is ideal; classical theory provides tools that can be used to write lyrics and compose music.
“Being able to share a song is priceless,” concluded Golub, noting that there were more opportunities for songwriters in their 20s than those still in high school. Maybe what our town needs is a place for people of all ages to share their music.
So what do you say Chappaqua: ready for an open-mic night?
Hannah Beilenson is now a sophomore at Horace Greeley High School.