by Andrea Puckett

In middle school, I used to carry around a box of tapes and extra batteries for long car rides. I would spend many hours making mixed tapes of depressing love songs and would listen to Casey Kasem and Shadow Stevens count down the top 20 hits of the week so that I could record the newest songs that were out without having to buy the whole tape. In my sophomore year of high school, my grandmother brought me my first CD player.

The CD player took several batteries and it seemed that I needed new batteries after just four hours of extended play. In college, I used Napster, when it was still legal, to download music and to store hundred of songs on to my computer’s hard drive. Now, I just plug in my IPOD and put the MP3’s that I have made from the CD’s that I own or I connect to I tunes and pay a fee and download songs or I copy the CD’s that I already have to my computer and load them on the IPOD.

Shuffle This
For Christmas, I received an IPOD shuffle that holds 512 gb of music. I found that this was great. I could listen to at least 100 songs of music on a machine that is only slightly bigger than a stick of gum and I could recharge it by plugging it into my computer. I felt so trendy going to the gym and having my IPOD displayed around my neck. It is a phenomenon that I have noticed whiled going to the gym that everyone has an IPOD.

When I look back upon the history of radio, it fascinates me to think about how it has changed over the years. My great grandparents had a Victrola that my mother would play with. My grandmother enjoyed listening to soap operas on the radio before television was invented. My mother enjoyed listening to her Beetle record albums and then to her eight tracks of the Oak Ridge Boys. Today, I have the luxury of listening to satellite radio, which features different genres of music twenty-four hours a day.

XM Satellite Radio
I received XM satellite as a gift for my car approximately four years ago and cannot say enough good things about it. It has made road trips a pleasant experience because there is always something on it that everyone likes to listen to. My boyfriend has an XM My Fi and we don’t buy CDS anymore because of the variety offered with satellite radio. Satellite Radio is a lifesaver as I am trying to maneuver my way through traffic jams and helps me keep my sanity because it offers me options to listen to without commercial breaks. Also, it is a very family friendly item because it offers ways that users can block channels on their radio that may contain adult language.

I have always had a love of music. It began when at age three I would listen to my Disney records then extended into my days in marching band. My friends like to go to concerts and music festivals. They have taken me with them to Voodoo Music Festival, which is traditionally held in New Orleans. Now that I have been introduced to new artists through satellite radio I now like to go with my friends to not only pop rock concerts of known artists but to a variety of concerts that often feature unknown artists. The line up at Voodoo fest is amazing and includes artists like Green Day and Kid rock to Jurassic Five and Baby Chaos.

There is a certain charm in being young and free to take a road trip with friends to experience good music and good times. Voodoo is a two day concert that is amazing because not only do you get to listen to great bands but you get to enjoy the night life and food that New Orleans just to be known for. This year the concert was held in Nashville, TN due to hurricane Katrina and we didn’t get to go but we are planning on going next year to create more good memories and to experience the music.

Ultra Music
Ultra Music Festival is held in March and is a festival that my friends and I drove 18 hours to Miami, FL from Virginia to see. Again, we hit the road to experience the music. The festival features electronic music and is near to Miami Beach. Bands such as Tiamo Moss, Infested Mushroom, and Paul Van Dyke lit up the night. At the time that we went to Miami, FL, I wasn’t educated about what electronic music was when I attended the concert, but just being there I learned that it was a genus that I really liked. We had a blast getting away from our daily concerns and driving away from the winter cold in VA. We plan to travel back there in March 2006.

Music is more than just what you listen to but it can help you add flavor to your world. Often, music is not about a lyric or a rhythm but is about the entire experience. The new advances in music have opened my mind and my ears to different genres and new ideas.

I am sure that there will be more advances in music but until then I am going to sit back and enjoy what is happening right now. Music has the power to help us escape from the world and helps enhance different moments. It transcends past race and culture and expands our minds one lyric at a time.

My music education has come mainly from my friends and my high school marching band. However, my love for music and the power that it has over people’s minds and emotions transcends words. What I have learned from my friends is that musical tastes vary but really listening to music and hearing what people are saying with the tone of their voices is more important than what they are saying. I admit that I do not have a good ear for music like most of my friends but I do know that I like music and that I have to be open enough to listen to all forms of music and see where it takes me. Wouldn’t life be nice if we had a soundtrack that accompanied our moods like they have in movies? We don’t have a soundtrack that followers us around but if we allow music to enter our lives we could have a personal soundtrack that accompanies the drama of life.