The thing is, living with music is a complicated business. We all have our personal soundtracks, but in a musician's case (pun completely unintentional), your personal soundtrack is also your course of study and your work. It seeps into every part of your life. You wake up with it in your head. It's the last thing you hear before you go to sleep at night. And it probably goes without saying that it's what you spend your entire day doing.
Last semester, when my quartet learned Shostakovich's Quartet No. 3 and were rehearsing every day, I started having Shostakovich nightmares. I love the piece, but when you wake up at two in the morning with the thunderous first chords of the third movement crashing through your mind, it's just a little terrifying. In an effort to combine studying and working out, I discovered that the last movements of Beethoven symphonies make really excellent running music. Seriously. There's nothing like the last movement of the Seventh to get you going. There's no slowing down and walking to that.
I am about to make a shocking confession: there are times when I get utterly sick of classical music, and all I want to do is go running or clean my apartment while I listen to Taylor Swift's latest single or other pop music. It's easy to hit the saturation point as a musician, when your brain just needs a break. There are times where you just need...silence.
But even with the nightmares, the mental overload, and the constant musical commentary in my head, classical music has still been one of the most important things in my life. We have a long, twisted, complicated relationship. But it's what I turn to when I'm happy. I listen to it when I pray. I listen to it when I need connection - and connection is one of the most valuable things you get from a relationship with music. Whether you're listening to the music of a long-dead composer played by a dead performer and connecting with those pieces of their soul that are left on earth or feeling connected to the musicians on the other side of the stage during an orchestra rehearsal, or that most intimate of relationships, playing chamber music, music creates connection. Connection within yourself, connection with music itself, and connection with the very souls of the other humans you share the planet with.
I'll leave you with the most recent piece of my musical soundtrack (pun again unintentional): The second movement of Johannes Brahms' Piano Quintet in f minor, my current chamber music project. After a particularly heart-wrenching experience earlier this week, I listened to this movement on repeat for about an hour.
Music reaches inside of you, and takes all the different pieces and rearranges them into a way that makes your soul more whole and just better than it was before. At least, that's what it does for me, and that's why I do what I do.