East alumnus Patrick Kelly (’21) expresses art through music
If orchestrated properly, the harmonic blending of instruments coming together at a musical performance can be truly breathtaking. Some might describe the experience as pleasurable, some might say music can be groundbreaking, and some (daringly so) might argue that music is an art. Over time, music has proven to be a respected form of self-expression, so what is the debate about music being an art form? Art is defined as an expression of creative and imaginative skills, which completely applies to music.
In favor of music being considered an art form, an East musician, Patrick Kelly (‘21), shares the role music has had on his life. Kelly is set to attend the University of the Arts in the fall which means East’s music department is just the start of Kelly’s musical career. Kelly is well-versed in the instrumental side of music as he plays the saxophone, piano, drums, guitar, and base. If you didn’t think all that was enough, Kelly also participates in vocal workshops at East, being the co-officer of Stay Tuned. Kelly said he has always felt a natural gravitation to music.
“Even when I was younger I would watch movies and would be humming the soundtrack,” said Kelly. Kelly found the East music program to challenge him both physically and mentally by pushing his comfort with music. While not entirely deciding what specific field of music Kelly hopes to pursue after college, he definitely plans on continuing his passion.
“Music allows me to express myself in ways that words cannot,” said Kelly. He goes on to say how music provides a sense of escape by creating an ideal atmosphere and evoking certain emotions. Kelly believes an activity qualifies as an “art” if it reflects emotions connected to the world, society, or one’s personal story.
“Music is like painting a landscape but it isn’t necessarily the deep blue ocean or the puffy clouds you would be able to see in a painting, but rather feelings that are brought up due to music,” said Kelly.
Music is like painting a landscape but it isn’t necessarily the deep blue ocean or the puffy clouds you would be able to see in a painting, but rather feelings that are brought up due to music.
— Patrick Kelly ('21)
In fact, Kelly finds music to be one of the most readily accessible art forms as well as a very understood art. “It’s not like you need a degree to like a song or you need to study music to say a song is good, but the more you learn about music and notice the details the more you start to see who that artist is through their work,” said Kelly.
He believes people often misconstrue the meaning of “art” and only apply its definition to visual forms of expression. Musical performances being an audible form of expression, do not always receive the same recognition as a dance recital or historic sculpture. Despite music not being a tangible experience, artists can still provide a deep emotional connection to their audience through their words.
“When it comes to poetry, the word schemes really can move people and can paint pictures in people’s heads. Like that, music can as well,” said Kelly. Not only that, but music can alleviate pain by connecting that artist to the song they perform. “Stay Tuned performed at a memorial for one of my late friends and we kept going through our arrangement again and again, but then we took a moment to close our eyes and sing it and just feel all of the emotions and it just meant a lot to me,” said Kelly. He remembers this specific moment as “therapeutic,” and helping him to release some of his frustration.
“The idea of multiple people contributing their own story and their own voice is quite beautiful,” said Kelly.