For senior Max Meadow, music is much more than a background noise


When senior Max Meadows’ dad struggled to learn how to play guitar, no one expected his surrendering of the instrument to inspire a musical passion down the line; however, after learning both the guitar and the piano and beginning his own musical production, Max has taken over where his dad left off.

“Music is super important to me,” Max said. “I listen to a ton of music. I love music, and it’s something that I’ve always wanted to make myself.”

Since as far back as eighth grade, Max has been fascinated with certain artists. He began his own musical journey his sophomore year when he learned to play the guitar. Soon after, this led him to learn the piano. 

“We found a guitar in our basement because my dad wanted to play the guitar,” Max said. “He never did. We found it, and I was like, ‘I want to learn to play guitar.’ So, I started taking guitar lessons for a long time—not a lot of time, like a year—playing songs that I wanted to know, and eventually, I moved on and started playing piano as well.” 

Not long after, Max decided to begin composing and working on creating his own music. 

He decided that while listening to music will always be an influential part of his life, he wanted to be able to put his own emotion into his music, and not just listen to what other artists had already created.

There’s always going be two kinds of people: supportive people and people that think that you’re stupid for trying.”

“It started out where it’s just like, ‘I love the songs, and I want to play these songs,’” Max said. “Then, I went to something where it’s like, ‘I want to make my own because there [are] all these emotions or different things that are in this song.’ I wanted to learn how to make that for myself with my own emotions and things like that.”

Recently, Max began adding to his list of musical talents and started work on the vocal aspects along with the composition of his music. 

Singing is new to Max, and it doesn’t come as easy to him as other parts of music do, but it is important to him to continue to train his voice and figure it out. 

“Right now, I’m doing vocals,” Max said, “which is a challenge because I’m not a good singer. My voice is not high enough to sing the high part. So then, I’ve been traveling to try to train my voice, which is not easy. Even though I’m not the best singer, you can always get better. Also knowing how to produce music, you can always make yourself sound good. So there’s always a way.”

Music has always played a crucial role for Max in one of two ways: listening or creating it. Yet, learning to create his own music has completely changed the way Max now listens to it. 

“[Making music is] so different,” Max said. “Just sitting there and listening to music anyone could do, I’m always listening to music. But then actually sitting down having an idea and having to actually think out that idea is so different, because you just sit there, and it doesn’t become an idea in your head any more. You have to actually think, ‘What is the key of this? What is the tempo [going to] be?’ And it’s so much harder, which is why I’m still trying to learn all of it before I put anything out.”

He pays so close attention to music, that he tends to receive lighthearted remarks from his friend’s about his noticings.

“My friends would say as I do [pay close attention to music],” Max said, “because whenever I listen to a new song, I’ll always be sitting there and I’d be like, ‘Wow, I really like this part of it.’ And they all told me, ‘no one knows what you are even talking about.’”

His scrutiny of songs has made casually listening to music more of a task than a past time, but it has led him to an entirely new character in his music taste. 

“I think that I noticed the production of music a lot more now,” Max said. “It used to be kind of underground artists, where they’re kind of not as good. But now, as I’ve listened to more and more music, my taste has come to people that are super specific with the production they do with things like reverb and all the plugins they use and the sounds, like the little atmospheric sounds behind songs, and all that. Everything is really particular now that I listen to. Which, to me, I like a lot because I like all those little thought out sounds.”

Through listening to music, learning other artists’ work, and composing his own work, Max has learned a new passion that he hopes will carry on throughout his life as a career or something he can do as a hobby. 

He is lucky to have a support system in his family and friends, and as he begins to produce music, he knows that they will be there to help him as he learns the ropes.

“There’s always [going to] be two kinds of people,” Max said. “[Supportive] people and people that think that you’re stupid for trying. And so it’s the people that support where it’s cool that they support you, and for people that think you’re stupid for it, it sucks for them to have a negative mindset.”