The other night I went to the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra’s (PSO) performance of “Brahms v. Radiohead”, the first installment in a new concert series called FUSE @ PSO, which blends classical music with contemporary artists. This particular concert combined Brahms’ 1st Symphony (1876) with Radiohead’s groundbreaking album “OK Computer” (1997).
I’ve always enjoyed classical music, but I have little interest or knowledge of Brahms. I know he wrote a lullaby or something (I think). But that’s about the extent of my knowledge of the famed composer.
Radiohead, on the other hand, is one of my favorite bands. I’ve seen them live several times and have been a devoted follower of their music for years.
I really enjoyed the concert, especially how the orchestra interpreted and gave new life to some of my favorite Radiohead tunes. It was fascinating to hear how the contemporary music, when played with things like violins, cellos, flutes, and kettledrums, was so similar to music that was created almost a hundred and fifty years earlier, and it really made me interested in hearing more of Brahms’ stuff.
So why am I telling you this? Well, as I was sitting there at Heinz Hall, I was thinking how important it is to have these types of experiences in your life that pull you out of your comfort zone, expose you to new things, and open your mind.
If you’re going off to college this fall, this is your chance to start with a clean slate. It's a chance to experience new things and expose yourself to new ways of thinking. It’s a chance to discover a new you, so to speak.
When I was a freshman in college, I thought I knew everything there was to know about me. After all, I had spent the past 18 years of my life learning what I did and didn’t like.
But then I began meeting people from so many different places with so many different backgrounds. In the first couple of weeks alone, I was exposed to all kinds of new music I had never heard before; I made friends with people from towns I had never heard of; I heard stories that were so different from mine. It was like I had landed on some undiscovered planet where everything was new and exciting.
And I loved it.
It wasn’t long before I started noticing changes in myself. It was as if I had spent my entire life building up my personality, brick by brick, and now the walls that I had come to know so well were crumbling. And not in a bad way, either. Because underneath a brand new me began to emerge, and I was surprised at how much I liked what I saw.
The point I’m trying to make is…when you go off to college this fall, go into it with an open mind and allow yourself to experience new things. If you were a jock in high school, maybe try out for your college theatre group. If you’re from a small town and have never left the state, let alone the country, sign up for a study abroad experience. If you only ever listen to pop music, maybe delve into folk or indie rock.
That’s probably the best thing about college: You don’t have to be who you’ve always been. Nobody knows you or knows what type of people you hung out with in high school. This is your chance to be whomever you want to be.
Just like you get a whole new sound when you combine Brahms with Radiohead, when you experience new things and new ways of thinking; you get a whole point of view.
Try it. You might be surprised at how much you like the new you. ~