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The French Horn

Kristen Dooley, 13, US

Playing the French horn is like soaring through a warm, spring sky with the joyous sun wrapping me in a protective world that is all my own. Playing makes me feel good, both physically and emotionally, and it allows me to escape from the everyday perils of life. Some of the happiest times for me are when I’m playing a beautiful, flowing song on my French horn.

Playing the French horn has a way of always uplifting my spirits, even if I don’t do well. When playing a difficult song correctly for the first time, I can’t stop myself from smiling. The euphoria that performing gives me is unsurpassed. At times when I’m not playing my best, I am still happy because I am making music. I use playing as a therapy; I can relax and just let the notes and rhythms flow inside of me. The feeling of power it gives me is unique, for I don’t receive such a strong emotion from many other places. When I am making music, I can do anything I want if I try hard enough. This sensation is something that every happy person has somewhere in his or her life.

The moment the mouthpiece touches my lips, I begin to feel like I am the healthiest person on Earth. I come alive. My body and mind wake up and become extremely attentive. As my back straightens, I stop slouching in my chair. Even if I have a runny nose or a cough, it always seems to stop when I’m about to play. With the first blast of air I push through the cold instrument I feel myself warm up. At the first glorious note, every muscle in my body relaxes, as
if something very heavy had just been lifted from my body. The more I play, the faster my fingers press the valves and the faster my tongue moves to make all the notes clear and concise. My cheeks begin to flush and my lips begin to tire. At this moment, I know I am truly meant to play.

As I am playing, I forget all my troubles. I travel to a place that is reserved just for me. I don’t care about anything except for the music that is surrounding me at that instant. It sits in front of me on my stand. It flourishes in my mind; it is given
emotion from my fingers, methodically pressing the valves. It comes to life as it escapes the bell of my French horn, and that life is kindled in my heart. I treasure these times and always try to prolong them. When the time comes for me to stop playing, I can feel myself slowly drifting back down to Earth from my private haven, where I am peaceful and safe. I keep the blissful feeling as I once
again enter the real world.

Playing the French horn has transformed my life. I can channel my thoughts, concerns, joys, and merriment through my music. My body and mind are cleared of troubles and I am instantly morphed into a new, happier person.