Thanking my father for a lifelong love of music

A student appreciates her musical upbringing and how it has influenced her.

I grew up in a home where silence was a rarity. There was always music radiating from the stereo in the living room — the one that my father taught me to use as soon as I was tall enough to reach it.

We’d sit in front of the shelves with his thousands of CDs, and I’d pick which ones I wanted to hear. He’d remind me how to take the shiny discs out of their covers without scratching them, and we’d load them into the six-CD shuffler and press play.

There was always at least one Beatles album in the mix, and I was conditioned at a young age to know which band member was singing on any given song. A framed picture of the members — John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr — still hangs in the front entrance of my home as a reminder of what my family holds near and dear.

When there were no CDs playing, my dad was making his own music. He started playing the drums when he was 14 years old, and he’s been in a band ever since. I grew up going to his gigs, dancing to his beats and feeling my bedroom floor shake from his practice sessions in the basement.

His musician friends are like family to me — they’ve seen me grow up. Likewise, I feel like I’ve seen my dad grow and change as a musician throughout the years. He’s joined bands, collaborated with new musicians and played on a produced album.

When I was young, I would beg him to give me drum lessons. He taught me simple beats to practice. I still play every once in a while, but I leave it to him to be the greatest drummer in the world.

My dad’s musical background infiltrates every aspect of his life, thus infiltrating mine. When he starts listening to a new band, he plays it for me. We’ll talk about the lyrics together, or compare the sound to that of other artists. His wardrobe consists primarily of worn-out band T-shirts because he buys a shirt at every concert he attends. Since he brought me to my first concert as a kid, I too have acquired a ridiculous amount of band gear.

I miss my musical home when I’m at school. My dad and I are still trying to get used to the distance.

He’ll load new CDs onto flash drives and mail them to me or bring them when he comes to visit. He’ll send me links to videos he wants me to watch or tell me about upcoming shows we should go to together. Most of all, I hate missing his bands’ gigs.

It’s hard to describe the feeling I get when I watch my dad play. Drumming is such an important part of his life, and it’s clear by the way his face lights up when he’s behind his set. He closes his eyes and feels the music throughout his bones; his nose scrunches, his eyebrows dance and his body sways. He’s taught me what it means to be passionate about something. Nothing compares to watching someone you love do what they love.

I was brought up with the idea that music is everything. My family isn’t religious, and music is as close as we get to worship. It is a tremendous part of the relationship I have with my dad, and it’s the reason he feels more like a best friend than a father. I love music because of him, and that’s something for which I’ll be forever grateful.

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