Jun Lee, Saratoga, California

“To me, music has been one of the necessities in life. When I was in elementary school, my parents would tell me, “You should learn at least one instrument to play music because that’s going to help in the future.” When I was young, my mom would play Eine Kleine Nachtmusik by Mozart every morning, and my mom would tell me stories about her favorite songs and artists such as ‘You Raise Me Up” by Josh Groban or songs written by Andrea Bocelli. Just like that, I was naturally introduced to music; first, I learned the piano because my parents encouraged me to, but it didn’t go well because I lost interest midway. Next was violin, flute, so on and so forth. Then, my childhood friends and I joined a guitar club — the beginning of something more special than just trying to learn an instrument. Playing with my friends was something different — we practiced together, laughed together, and eventually held a local guitar-trio concert.

It was the first time that music made me feel I’m where I’m supposed to be— a sense of belonging. However, I stopped playing guitar in high school because of the school workload and preparation for standardized tests. Thanks to quarantine, I started playing guitar again, and between those times, I started listening to different genres of music — mostly rap and R&B. Though time passed and I matured a little more, I realized music still is like a friend to me. When I’m “blasting” music with my friends in a car, music elevates the mood, making the moment ten times more joyful, which adds to my happiness. When I’m sad, music gives me hope — as if it’s telling me that it’s ok to not be ok, and there’s a way out. When I’m angry, music calms me down. Even when I’m bored, music cures my boredom. Just like that, music creates a melody in my monotonous life.”

— Jun Lee, Saratoga, California

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