i invited my good friend and roommate, jenna griener, into the radio station one saturday morning. after a quick swap of words - our usual back and forth banter - we settled down and began our journey into jenna's musical mosaic. music has always been a part of our relationship and so in my own naivete, i believed that i had a pretty good understanding of what her relationship with music looked like. and that's where i was wrong. jenna's responses solidified this idea that a person's relationship with music is ever changing and expansive. Even though we had discussed music so many times before, she completely surprised me with so many stories about her life and music that i had never heard before.
I opened the interview asking jenna about the first time she remembers music taking a key role in shaping her life. while she could not pinpoint a specific moment, she said that her understanding of music was heavily influenced by her parents. music was an important aspect of her parent's connection as jenna tells us a quaint story about her father habitually playing "Cable Car" for her mother, his rational - "If you knew someone's favorite song, wouldn't you play for it every time that you got". both her mother, an avid church music listener, and father, a guitarist and lover of all things musical, sewed thier musical identity into the creation story of jenna's relationship with music. the emphasis on parent's shaping her understanding of music taste continued on throughout our interview. the way she spoke about the great impact of lyrics on her life was such a strong connection to her parent's philosophy. in the playlist she provided me, each song crafted lyrics about such human issues, which was just another way that showed jenna's intentionality with music. her words remind us of the influence on the shape of music reveals this amazing feat of humans. we have such a heavy influence on each other's perceptions and shaping our minds, which has a physical manifestation in the music taste that we develop.
possibly one of the most important element of music revealed itself in the way she spoke about how music aided in her relationships with people. she paints the memory of people in light of the music that they shared. her family members, her friends, each relationship that she holds as integral to her identity has impacted her musical taste. and in this way, the beautiful stories about jenna's relationships - we are reminded of the interconnectedness and power of the capability of music to bring people together. there is something inside of us that is moved by the ebb and flow of rhythm, which jenna describes as being the most human connection we have, "every human is musical, i mean we have a beating heart". the insight of these words left me completely speechless. with each story about another person shaping her relationship with music, it was so obvious the intentional and impactful way she interacted with the people in her life and her music. a life lesson was in the making, with her responses i was overwhelmed with this human truth that music allows us as humans to understand each other and, as a result, love each other with so much more intention.
along with her relationship with people, music became an integral part in understanding herself. surprise, surprise, the peak of emotional connection and understanding was most needed in high school. jenna laid out the different themes of music she connected to in high school, with nirvana being her baseline. in understanding life events and the continually changing of herself, jenna resonated heavily with kurt kobain's "Montage of heck". she describes his work as a sort of structure for all the chaos that is going on in a teenager's head. connecting her consumption of music with building a relationship with herself.
jenna ended her interview with her current musical theme, which is encompassed by the song "the middle" by jeffrey martin. this song highlights the importance of taking comfort in "the middle". there is a lot of gray area in life and instead of seeing this as humdrum, we can reside in this space because there is nothing to prove, "closing your eyes is not the answer to the riddle, i found it in the middle". Overall, her interview was a wonderful outline of music's ability to connect us to our inner most emotions and thoughts. through this understanding and clarity, we can more build greater relationships with each other.
stories told by musical enthusiasts !
The Musical Mosaic offers a weekly podcast, playlist and publication based on an interview with Andrea Simms and fellow musical enthusiasts. Here is a place where mere mortals can make sense of this world by discussing our relationship with music.