Confession time: I have no idea how music works. All I know is that I love it dearly. Music has the ability to create such powerful emotions within my soul that every other form of art struggles to stir within me. Nothing makes me happier than singing a song on a Sunday morning, but there is so much that I don’t understand. I have tried, believe me I have, but I continue to be blissfully ignorant.
Growing up in the rural area of Hillsville, Virginia there was no shortage of strong musical roots. Bluegrass is life. Bluegrass is everywhere; church, festivals, and even along the side of the Blue Ridge Parkway. Luckily, my family was very involved in the musical lifestyle of the area. My father and his brothers would get together and sing at various churches in the area nearly on a weekly basis when I was younger and my mother had been playing piano and singing since she was in her early teens and even gave the occasional piano lesson. Being at church choir practices frequently, I tried to sing as loud as an entire choir of grownups. That tidbit plus the fact that I come from a family of boisterous individuals, I’ve earned the reputation of having a thunderous voice. So I’m sorry for everyone who has ever stood within a five foot radius when I’m singing. Basically what I’m saying is that I was raised on the musical stylings of Alison Krauss & Union Station and the Dixie Chicks. Not a bad foundation if I do say so myself.
Up until recently, I have been content singing in the car and plucking a few notes on the guitar. Last summer I realized just how musically lost I am. I had the opportunity to serve as a SummerStaff member for a North American missionary organization called World Changers. I was an audiovisual technician and was honored to work in Nashville Tennessee for about three weeks. I have never seen, met, worked with, or heard such talented people in my life. My emotions were running at a new high that they have never reached before. Being surrounded by individuals that had such a passion, talent, and artistry for music just about left me in tears. I nearly fainted on a guy when he composed a tune on a piano on the spot, so there’s that. Luckily, once I was done fangirling, I was able to learn so much from one person in particular last summer, someone who was blessed with a natural talent that she had pursued and she still remained humble. Allow me to give you a frame of reference, a very nice inebriated woman at CMAfest told me I had a nice singing voice; the talented individual I’m talking about has been playing viola for many years, performed with many other talented musicians, and even studied music in school. Let’s take it back a minute, she taught me what harmony was. HARMONY PEOPLE. That’s how ignorant I am. Thanks to her I received quite a bit of education on how music works, we even checked my vocal range and played a harp, but there still is so much I can’t begin to comprehend.
Music moves me; how it works I have no idea. Why music speaks to my soul, well at least I know that.
Chelsea Bolt is a Second Wind author of the young adult novel Moonshine. For more information check out these sites: