Creative minds at Berklee are more than just musicians: they are artists, finding new ways to express themselves in all walks of life.
Berklee is known for its singers, songwriters, producers, and musically-driven students. It is in this regard that I present three unique pieces from Berklee student writers.
The first piece is an expression of how music heals in mysterious, yet tangible and physical ways.
“The Healing Power of Music” by Imran Hossain
“Music Heals. Music, when consciously created and expressed with healing intention can be tremendously healing. A lot of times people think of healing music as using tuning forks, or singing bowls, or associate healing with new age music and singing mantras. It is not the tools that make music healing, it is the intention in how they are used. The reason music can be so powerful is because it is the technology of sound and vibration. It harnesses the very fabric of which our physical and non-physical reality is built.
It is becoming more common knowledge that matter is simply energy vibrating at a certain speed, or frequency that allows an object to appear as a solid material. Matter can take different forms when its frequency is changed. A great example of this is water, when the water molecules slow down, i.e. decrease in frequency, they freeze and become ice. By altering the speed of movement of water molecules using temperature, we can change its form.
So how does this relate music? Well music can operate like temperature. By resonating with certain frequencies, we can effect the structure of not only matter, but all forms of energy. Thoughts, emotions, and our spiritual frequency all work with vibration and resonance. Just as the vibration of a low E on a Bass guitar carries that message to our ears, which resonate with that note and allow our brains to interpret that data as what we perceive as an “E”, our thoughts and emotions also work with resonance.
The energy we embody, be it thoughts, emotions, or frequencies such as unconditional love, or joy are all carried by the vibration of sound, which acts as a container for these energies, and take them to its various destinations. When you play a C7b9 chord on a piano, with joy in your heart and with positive intention, the sound carries that love to all the places that it reaches.
On the physical level the sound is carried to bodies around us, to the walls, to the trees if we are outside, or to someone’s ear drum, to the water in the glass in our practice room… but there is also a lot going on besides the vibration physically resonating with an object. The intention and energy in the form of thoughts, emotions, and intention is being carried through the sound wave, much like an overtone or higher harmonic of a note. It is carrying information that our ears are not designed to hear, but is felt using a different type of hearing; it can be “heard’” by our emotional field, mental field, and spiritual presence.
This is why music can “give us the feels”, this is why we are inspired to move our bodies and dance to a jammin’ groove, this is why we cry when we hear something beautiful, and why even when someone isn’t technically a virtuoso on their instrument or isn’t singing completely on pitch, we can see the beauty because beyond the physical expression of notes, we are also listening to their expression as a spiritual presence, which the music is a reflection of.
Intent is one of the most important things in creating music. As musicians we must be conscious of our motives in creating music. If we create with the intent to uplift and inspire and for the joy of playing music, our listeners will feel that intention and joy. If we create music to make money as our main agenda, or we create music to gain personal recognition, it is certainly possible to gain those things for some time, but our soul will remain unsatisfied. I think making money is an amazing thing and very important, but for me personally never comes before the joy of making music and my own authenticity. Our soul wants to express the Joy and Love and to share that with others, but we must consciously align with that part of us for it to become a reality.
Intention effects the music we make, and it effects how our music effects others. When we make our intention to uplift and inspire others, as an expression of joy, we can have a truly positive impact on the world around us no matter our level of ability.”
There are many rumors going around about the haunted 150 dorms, but this writer finds that she is haunted by her own mind.
“Untitled” by Anonymous
“The ghost in my dorm room is my best friend. We spend a lot of quality time together these days, alone, in silence except for the echoes of laughter in the hallway and sirens outside.
It likes lighting up my phone to tease me, as if to trick me into believing that someone else texted me. It’s a funny joke and provides me with the opportunity to text someone about the ghost that haunts my dorm room. It gives me a topic of conversation when I run out of small talk during an awkward first encounter.
Most people think I’m kidding, but I know I’m not. While the ghost itself might not physically exist with me in my dorm room, I know there is something else that’s haunting me.
But this thing doesn’t have a name. It follows me. Entertains with me. Gets in my head. Every time we fight, it always wins. Even though we might not have the healthiest relationship, it’s the only friend who has never left me. Never abandoned me. Never left my side.
This old friend of mine is part of me, one that I try to introduce to others. However, they always reject it, rejecting me. Or they choose to ignore it and don’t understand when I can’t go out sometimes or when I disappear.
They don’t understand my phantom friend. So I call it my ghost.”
This writer describes a thrilling adventure involving a character with a double-life.
“It’s easy. Head to a bus stop, roll a die. Add two and raise the result to a power of 3. Remember this number for later. Run a 3-digit random number generator that many times and find the mean of the results. Take the bus with the closest number to the answer after you pass as many stops as the number you remember from earlier. Guaranteed success”, I exclaim, my eyes gleaming with excitement.
Sparing him none of the barbs on her tongue, Emmy cuts back ,“When has that ever really worked?”
“Two days ago, last Friday, the weekend before that and – most memorably – the Dastardly Damning December Day.”
“You mean, the duhduhduhduh for short?” she suggests, rather mockingly. “Exactly.” She was right. That was the abbreviation I had in mind. I never understood the mockery, and moved on very quickly. And so I begin to tell her the tale of the DDDD.
Executing my precise and infallible algorithm, I found myself at the third quaint and secluded bus stop of the day. Anant was with me, as he always is in times of crisis – bless that dear boy’s soul. I knew, before I even got onto bus 117 that something was off. I attempt to subtly signal Anant to get up and follow him. Anant, of course, misses the cue many times, lost in his own mind, the goof. “God dammit, Anant. Get up and follow me” I command in my best stage whisper.
“Why? Are we going?”
“Just shut up and come…I’ll explain later.” I start walking away from the bus stop briskly, Anant inexplicably struggling to keep up. “Care to explain now?” he asks.
“Did you see the guy standing over there? To the right of the bus stop? No! What the fuck are you doing? Don’t turn around!”. Can you believe he was about to give us away? “Ok, ok”, he says, panting, “But I didn’t see anyone. I’m pretty sure we were the only ones at that bus stop.”
“You have never been the brightest of the illegally imported grey market lightbulbs. I get that. I’ve never held that against you. But even you can’t have missed the man behind the tree; not with that overpowering Hugo Boss cologne and irresistible chiseled jaw line. He was on our bus before this. Kept falling forward into me every time the bus stopped – I just assumed the poor chap had a shaky grasp of the concept of inertia. But seeing him lingering at the bus stop like that? He’s up to something, I know he is.” I start to walk further away, even more frantic than before.
“How do you know it was Hugo…no wait. Rehan. What could he possibly want with us?” “Not us. Me. I haven’t told you this, but…”
“…I was sure he was after the goods I’d stolen from the The Alleged Assassins – a local gang – a few weeks before the dastardly day.” Emmy doesn’t seem to be buying it. She opens her mouth, pauses at first, and then, “Bollocks”.
I knew it. Didn’t buy it at all. “Secondly: Alleged? Alleged Assassins?”
“Well, they have to play it safe, you know. Nothing can be used against them in a court of law. Anyway, here they were – they had finally tracked me down, the goons, and caught up. I wasn’t gonna let them keep the illegal substances till I’d snail mailed it to the police station down the street, and for that I needed time. I needed to make a break and hold them off one last time.
“Snail mail? Why didn’t you FedEx it?”
“I’m no longer allowed to use my dad’s credit card.”
Turning a corner, I find it safe enough to stop dead in my tracks; enough time to take a breath, and break into a full sprint as far away from the Hugo Boss-wearing handsome devil as I can. Anant, much like before, remains lagging behind. I’ve got to recommend him some cardio one of these days.
And so we ran; like a cheetah whose lunch had been thrown out of a balcony, or a Lewis Hamilton recently overtaken by a Jensen Button; or a –
Whoops. Sorry Em.
I slow down, panting. From behind, the faint but heavy smacks of converse; Anant comes running.
Where the hell did that saala go? Oi asshole! I have asthma ok? It isn’t easy to run with that shit! Its genetic and my family doesn’t tell me anything! They’re all secret agents and the only thing I know about my family is from whatever classified documents I can steal. Like – you know your blood type, na? I didn’t know my blood type. I had to steal a file to know my blood type and got convicted of espionage as a 4 year old! It’s bullshit!
“Hey bud, it’s okay, shhh… we’re almost all good now. Was it O-? I’m so sorry for your loss.’ “What? No. What do you mean almost all good?”
“He could’ve GPSed me in the bus.”
“Did you just use GPS as a verb? You can’t do that.”
“We’re going to have to leave our clothes here, Anant.”
“There is no way. In the world. That I will ever. Take my clothes off. Here.”
And so we walked home, naked and vulnerable, but satisfied that we had done our duty and protected the things that matter most: papers of questionable importance.
“Quite the story, huh? Being hunted by a spy, getting a tracker planted on my person.” I look into Emmy’s eyes, trying to get a read – “Somehow I don’t think that’s what happened…” she says. Well, you can’t win them all. “Luckily, I was one step ahead of the goons – I got rid of everything.”.
“Wait, wait, wait. You just threw it away? Did you keep the important things? Phone, Cash, ID?
“No, of course I didn’t keep my valuables. I was only one step ahead, not two.” My Baby-GTM alarm beeps at my side. “Well, that’s my cue. I have to go.”
“Where? Another adventure?” She looks up at me wondrously as I vacate my seat. “Not…really. City Hall.”
“I can’t… just…you understand.”