Mirror Asks

by The Dartmouth Mirror Staff | 10/1/15 6:20pm

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Alison Guh /The Dartmouth Senior Staff
Source: Alison Guh /The Dartmouth Senior Staff

1) What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Why was this the kind of music you listened to?

“Growing up, I listened to everything. I didn’t quite develop my own musical preferences until later, so what I listened to on a given occasion was largely dependent on whom I was with: oldies with my parents, Broadway and hip-hop with my sisters and pop with my friends.”

— Sarah Kovan ’19

“I grew up listening, almost exclusively, to Sarah McLachlan and The Corrs. Sarah McLachlan’s albums “Surfacing” (1997) and “Afterglow” (2003) were constant fixtures in my life — playing while my mom cooked dinner, during road trips and in the background at family holiday parties. The first concert I ever went to was Sarah McLachlan’s with my mom when I was eight or nine (among a lot of older middle-aged couples). When she sang “Stupid” (2003) I covered my ears, scandalized that someone would use such a mean word to title a song. The Corrs were a random, lesser-known Irish band that my parents had heard live on a trip to Dublin. My dad was a particular fan of theirs, and he would often play their songs at any time of day — when I sat at the kitchen table doing homework, when my sister and I were playing with our Barbies or even when he was fixing things around the house. I particularly associate The Corrs with my father because he and I often used to put on “shows” when I was little, ballroom dancing around our living room to their music, with my mom and toddler-aged sister as the sole audience. Oftentimes when I tired of twirling around, I would ask him to sit down and do my own solo expressive dance to the music for the three of them. Now, when I hear Sarah McLachlan or The Corrs I’m almost always transported back to a specific time in my childhood, especially those dances with my dad.”

— Caroline Berens ’18

“Growing up, my siblings and I listened to a bunch of music that my parents liked: The Beatles, Elton John, George Strait, The Who and a bunch of other popular parent songs. When we were little, we always had dance parties in our living room after dinner and usually listened to CDs in the car, so I think we were just exposed to one type of music. I didn’t really listen to the radio much growing up because our ‘family computer’ had one playlist of oldies and we would just listen to that all the time. So, needless to say, when we started having mixers in middle school and I went to bat mitzvahs, I felt a little awkward about the fact that I didn’t know any of the fist-pumping songs everyone else did. Luckily I was able to catch up.”

— Lily Hines ’19

“I grew up with a southern mother, a music enthusiast father and a professional actor uncle. Thus, I spent my childhood listening to a terrific hodgepodge of country music, classic rock and Broadway musicals. Driving to school in the morning, we could be jamming to anything from the “Guys and Dolls” (1955) soundtrack or Dolly Parton. To this day, my iPod remains a confusing and colorful landscape to all who probe it.”

— Mary Liza Hartong ’16

2) Do you play an instrument? Do people in your family play instruments?

“I would regard my family as being very un-musical in the sense that nobody in my family plays an instrument. In middle school and junior high we were required to play in the orchestra for at least two years so I played the violin, but I was so awful that my mom let me stop after the required amount of time. That being said, I have so much respect for people who know how to play an instrument, I would really like to take piano or keyboard lessons sometime. I definitely think being able to play an instrument is a great life skill.”

— Lily Hines ’19

“I sang from age five through high school, when I performed in an all-girl pop rock band. My uncle plays the piano, so our favorite pastime is gathering around it and belting out Broadway ballads. Maybe one day I’ll pack up my life and my Dartmouth degree and pursue the stage. Until then, the shower remains my captive audience.”

— Mary Liza Hartong ’16

3) Has your preference for music changed when you came to college?

“My preference for music has not changed much since coming to college, but the difference between the music I choose to listen to on a daily basis and the music that most people want to listen to on a Saturday night is becoming increasingly apparent, so I would say I listen more of a variety of music now.”

— Sarah Kovan ’19

“I’m not sure I’ve been here long enough for my music taste to have changed drastically. I do love listening to my friends’ Spotify playlists, and like to follow a bunch of different genres of music, but I think my preference has evolved a bit since high school. Freshman year of high school I was very into the Justin Bieber/pop genre, but I have really always (ironically enough) loved the oldies rock music that my parents had us listen to growing up, along with some country music as well. I really love John Mellencamp and Billy Joel, but also like more relevant artists like Kygo and Misterwives. I definitely think my style has changed, but for me, it’s mostly stayed true to the old 80s classics.”

— Lily Hines ’19

“I discovered this genre of music that I like to think of as car music. As in, teenagers listen to this music in their cars, as in Billboard 100 pop hits, as in cool kid music. It’s the kind of thing you’d hear and think, ‘Am I supposed to dance? Oh dear God don’t make me dance!’ but then you do dance, because you just can’t not.”

— Mary Liza Hartong ’16

4) What does music mean to you?/What role has music played in your life?

“Music was perpetually playing in my house when I was a child, and that trend has continued into my adulthood. I listen to it when I read books, write papers, walk to class, exercise, answer blitzes, fold my laundry — any time I’m not speaking to someone, I’m usually listening to music. Misplacing or forgetting my earphones can be disastrous. From my perspective, music vastly enhances the quality of my everyday life — it can make homework less miserable, books more compelling, can catalyze my creativity. I listen to a wide variety of genres depending on my mood and the task at hand — everything from classical music to angsty rock to Taylor Swift to hip-hop. I would be completely lost without music — life would be vastly more boring, I think.”

– Caroline Berens ’18

“I love listening to music, especially when I go on a run, but I would definitely not consider myself an intense music curator. As I said above, I get a lot of my music preferences from what my friends are listening to, and unfortunately I don’t play an instrument so I feel like I don’t spend as much time hunting for new bands that I like compared to somebody who is around music and the making of music as much. But music is definitely something I put on when I want to relax.”

— Lily Hines ’19

“I have songs for every occasion. Pensive songs —Billy Joel’s “Vienna” (1977) —break up songs (Bonnie Raitt’s “I Can’t Make You Love Me If You Don’t” (1990) — happy songs (Stevie Wonder’s “Isn’t She Lovely?” (1976) -— what have you. They’re there when I need ’em, when friends are busy and poetry just won’t cut it.”

— Mary Liza Hartong ’16