Mathematical solutions mimic musical melodies

Lucy Raleigh

In African villages, a beat of a drum accompanied by the twang of a thumb piano. In a concert hall in France, sophisticated sounds of a violin sing out as the bow pulls across the strings. In China, the sharp call of a bamboo flute piques the interest of a passerby. In The United States, pop music plays through the window of a passing car. Music is a constant; a unifying force for humanity and though music is different around the world, freshman Joey Hendrix sees music connect the human spirit, transcending language barriers or cultural boundaries anywhere in the world.

“Everywhere you go music is always the same,” Joey said. “Whether you’re in India or somewhere else, an A is always going to be an A. [Music] is all about symbiosis. People want to make sure their music sounds the same wherever they go.”

Coinciding with the technical sameness of music, music can also serve as a connector for musicians and listeners on an emotional level.

“Music is something you can put your passion into,” said Joey. “If it’s a fast, angry song, you can be more dramatic and connect the song to your emotions. If it’s a slow, legato-ish song you can play with melancholy emotions. While different people recall different experiences to get this passion, it’s the same for everyone, regardless of barriers like culture or language.”

Joey sees music as a way of understanding the world and how it corresponds with mathematics.

“Music is also very mathematical,” Joey said. “You look at notes and the different ways things fit together. The mathematical patterns in music have definitely made math easier, because musical and math patterns coincide.”

Math isn’t the only thing that comes along with music, but also the creative thinking and emotion that is required when playing or composing music and the skill set allowing one to juggle all the different parts of a musical composition.

“Music stimulates the brain,” Joey said. “It invokes creativity, mathematical skills, and emotion. you have to think about music theory while composing, and you have to multitask and separate the movements in your brain while still keeping in sync. You have to feel the emotions that are put into a piece, while still remaining in time and pitch. Music, to me, is an unbelievably complicated though process that blends together in such a simple way, and it keeps exercising your heart and mind in such a way that other art forms can’t emulate.”

Joey shows promise as a musician, and his dedication to the art has been recognized by others.

“Joey is a very dedicated and consistent member of the orchestra,” orchestra director John Lemons said. “He has improved his guitar skills by playing guitar at Feast Of Carols, and he is on track for becoming a regional musician.”

Although reluctant at the beginning of his musical training, Joey is appreciative of the lessons he learned in his first few years of playing.

“I wasn’t grateful at first,” Joey said. “I was so mad at my mom for making me take piano lessons, but those lessons were a gateway to other musical aspects which make up a big part of my life today. I still use the theory techniques I learned while taking lessons to improve my current skills.”

Finding friendship through music can also aid in the growth of an artist. Joey started playing with fellow freshman, Carlos Martinez, in orchestra during eighth grade and the two immediately hit it off.

“Playing [with your best friend] is really cool because we both grow at the same pace,” Carlos said. “Sometimes he grows and learns something faster than I do, and then I catch up to him or vice versa, and that brings us closer together.”

The complexity of music can be encouraged by healthy competition as both Joey and Carlos try to one-up each other.

“[Joey] shows me something he can play, and I show him something I can play,” Carlos said. “And each time we show something to each other it’s more difficult than the last thing we showed each other.”

Carlos and Joey’s dynamic works well for them, and Joey hopes to continue to play with a tight-knit group in the future.

“I like playing with small groups more than with myself,” Joey said. “So I’d probably join a small ensemble or maybe even a band.”

Joey has big hopes and dreams for his future as a musician, and plans to go as far as he can in the professional world.

“I would love to be a professional musician someday,” Joey said. “It would take a lot of time, energy, and hard work to become that good, but I think it’d be very fun to do, and to be paid for playing music.”