the meaning of music ft. my friends

Hello, lovelies!

Music. I think it is a huge part of my life. I’ve also been pondering how music can perfectly capture what we’re feeling or thinking to a T. I’m talking about that certain song which reminds you of a certain time and almost acts like a time machine.

And I decided to get my friends involved . . .

Thanks to Annie @ Zoelogist for inspiring this post.


Dream — Pricilla Ahn

As I grow, I am cultivated by those around me and how I choose to approach my life. I have noticed that as we grow older and more self-aware, we tend to give more weight to other’s influence rather than our own, and we shouldn’t. I can’t let that happen: As a homeschooled child, I am free to pursue my individuality originally and boldly.

I Want To Hold Your Hand — The Beatles

For six years, I have worked with seniors with worsening cases of memory loss. On days when they are most lost—when the light in their eyes is replaced with confusion—if you simply slip your hand into theirs, the world seems to brighten just a little bit as their memories come flooding back.

Please Mr. Postman — The Marvelettes

My preschool teacher and I have kept up a correspondence for years. The contents of our letters, which vary from discussions of Beethoven’s Pathetique to her husband’s role as a spy in WWII to the types of weeds growing in our gardens, never fail to make me smile. The letters, though material and innocuous at times, embody a connection I would have lost. Writing my words down within the corners of small cards makes me happy to be sharing words with those I love.


My favorite song is It Is Well with My Soul written by Horatio Spafford and composed by Philip Bliss (an appropriate name). Not only is the music itself blissful (pun intended), but the lyrics are impactful. In 1871, Spafford experienced the worst I think anyone could. In those 365 days, Spafford was destroyed financially in the Chicago Fire, his two year old son passed away, and all four of his daughters died in a shipwreck. Yet, while passing the wreckage two years later, this 19th century Job still had the courage to pen the words for this classic hymn. For Horatio to exclaim that he had peace after all he had experienced is astounding. It is a touching reminder that, no matter what is happening in the world or in my personal life, I can say with assurance that it truly is well with my soul.


My favorite songs fluctuate over time as the seasons in my life change, but one among them has stayed constant: Light in the Hallway, by the acapella group Pentatonix. I was first introduced to this song by my sister, who was singing it with her choral group and printed out the sheet music for me so that we could sing it together. This tune lived far beyond the ensemble’s spring concert, quickly becoming our trademark song; we would harmonize it together as quietly as possible at airports, in cars, and while lying in bed at night. Nearly all the lyrics made it into my bullet journal at some point.

Not only does Light in the Hallway bring back nostalgic recollections from last spring, but it’s also my little lullaby; my little slice of comfort. Having shared rooms with siblings for my entire life, last summer (when my sister left for an art intensive thousands of miles away) was the first time I had to sleep on my own. Drifting off without someone at my side turned out to be harder than I thought. After countless nights of tossing and turning in bed, I turned to music to help me fall asleep. My usual favorite songs, though, didn’t really cut it– the jangly, upbeat Jason Mraz tunes and the dark orchestral showtunes that usually populated my Spotify playlists tended to make me even more awake than I already was. It was songs like Light in the Hallway that lulled me to dreamland on those still summer nights, breathing into my ear that “if you’re scared of the darkness / I will calm your fear.”

When you close your eyes and lay your head down, it really is easy to imagine a light in the hallway… and a soft voice whispering into your ear that everything will be okay. And unlike the temporary nightmares that might come, that light burns all night long.


My Favorite Song: Brahms Romanze in F Major, Op. 118, No. 5.

This piece is the most romantic — and, in my opinion, the most beautiful — of the Six Pieces for Piano that Johannes Brahms completed in 1893 and dedicated to Clara Schumann. My piano teacher calls it 悲歌 (bei ge), Chinese for “tragic song.”

I love playing it not only because of the mournful main theme and the bright middle section but also because of the backstory behind Brahms and Clara’s relationship. Brahms was the student of Clara’s husband, the composer Robert Schumann, and as Robert was descending into madness Brahms and Clara fell madly in love. However, even after Robert’s death, Brahms and Clara never married, and they maintained an intense platonic relationship until Clara’s death in 1896.

For me, and likely for Brahms as well, the Romanze symbolizes one of the greatest love stories in musical history.

Do you have a song that brings memories to mind, either fond or sorrowful? I’d love to hear what you think! Let’s chat in the comments!

live creatively,



10 thoughts on “the meaning of music ft. my friends

  1. Oh this was lovely! These stories were so sweet. There’s a version of It Is Well by Bethel Music that I find immensely calming. It’s amazing how much music can impact us.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh my goodness, this is awesome :))
    I cannot believe your friend Raya has kept up writing letters with her pre-K teacher for so long! That is so cool. Whoaaa, I did not know about the love story between Clara and Brahms, or that Brahms was that Schumann’s student.

    Liked by 2 people

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