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“This Amazing Life” was born out of a desire to create new accessible and meaningful music for middle school singers. Chris Larson at Wayzata Central Middle School and I worked together to build a project in which the student singers would help create a new piece of music. I gave them three writing prompts, which they answered one at a time, not knowing what the next would would be. The prompts “Sometimes...,” “But I always...,” and “Dear future self...” yielded amazingly diverse answers. Yet in the scope of the responses, there were a few common themes: passion for hobbies and activies, self- doubt, a conflict between wanting to fit in and also wanting to be noticed, and a call to themselves to live an exciting, meaningful life. Big ideas for 6-8th graders, but ideas that they obviously push around in their brain quite a bit.
I took these pages of raw material and organized them into a cohesive text that becomes a universal access point for others to get to know them as a generation and as individuals. Their words are honest, blunt, poetic, and so hopeful. We talked about the kinds of songs to which they are drawn and tried to pinpoint the musical and textual qualities that are responsible for eliciting their emotions. So when it was finally time for me to sit down and craft music to support their ideas, I took my cue from our conversations and wrote a song. A song for them to sing, to believe in, and to own.
- Timothy C. Takach, 2015
Sometimes I pour my heart and soul into football.
Sometimes I look at pictures of cats.
Sometimes I drink hot cocoa and play video games.
But I always brush before bed.
Sometimes I think the world will never be perfect.
Sometimes I don’t try my best.
Sometimes I get left out, watch the hours go by.
But I always feel like I’m on fire, I feel like I’m free.
Sometimes I feel like I’m invisible,
But when I want to fit in, everyone notices me.
I can do anything when no one’s around.
And I’m always scared of failing.
Sometimes I wish the world wouldn’t judge me.
Sometimes I feel I can’t be myself.
Sometimes I fake a smile to hide my pain.
But I always know you’ll be my friend.
Appreciate what you have
And what you’ve gotten to do.
Appreciate where you are now
And where I am too.
The life you live is amazing.
There are so many people that love you, including me.
Be kind, smart, brave, creative,
The world depends on people like that.
Sometimes I forget who’s watching.
Sometimes I remember how good I am.
Sometimes I get pushed down again
But you’ll always be there for me.
That’s all I ever wanted.
- Middle school students of Wayzata, MN
- Compiled and edited by Timothy C. Takach