Finding Music: Following the Concussion

by David Summit

Finding Music: Following the Concussion by David Summit
I hear music in my head; it writes itself for me. It feels as if I have been dialed into a radio frequency of sounds, words, images and stories, and my body is just the antenna. My life from that moment on became who I was before and who I am now.

Listen to the album while reading the text.

Our June, Us All

I was 22 years old and finishing my final year of college. It had been one year since I quit the long string of pop punk bands that I had been in since I was 14 and I was living on the couch of an ex-bandmate’s house in Providence, Rhode Island. Until the life changing events that were about to unfold, music had simply been a math to me.

Although I was in school studying classical guitar and been in numerous pop punk bands, I never considered myself an “artistic” person. I spent my entire musical life mastering all the rules, learning as much music theory as I possibly could, memorizing the context, histories, and methods of the greatest composers; unable to put any of them into practice. Writing pop punk music was sterile, uninspired, and proved to be more systematic in process, and definitely did not represent or come from any sort of deeper emotional or spiritual place.

There were times I had tried to write my own music but all compositions failed to embody any sort of meaning or message and lacked character. My musical output was not dissimilar to my lifestyle at the time: following the typical path of academic expectations, living in materialism, and only putting my energy and thought into the concrete world in front of me.

I was planning on staying at this ex-bandmate’s house through December, until I sustained a concussion to my left temple at the end of November. In the realest way, my life from that moment on became who I was before and who I am now. While most enlightened and mindful individuals search for a way to live egoless, my trauma swiftly pulled the rug out from underneath me and discarded my ego completely in a single moment. I immediately found it difficult to concentrate on notation sheet music, was plagued with consistent daily headaches, difficulty sleeping, feelings of vertigo, severe anxiety and panic attacks (something I had never had before), these electric shock feelings in my head that not a single doctor could explain, and the most life changing of all: complete disassociation.

I felt depersonalized from reality and could not tell real life from a dream. My student teaching advisors knew something had changed. I was still a great teacher and musician, but I was “different.” Many of my fellow students and friends couldn’t understand why I was acting “not myself.” When I moved home my family told me that I came back, “a different person.” Everyone could feel that something had changed but couldn’t put their finger on how. I can only refer to this past self as a different person.

At first, I wanted to be who I was before but that person was long gone. I don’t mean to make this sound completely negative, nor do I desire pity: there is some incredible beauty in the changes that occurred (as soon as most of the side effects of the concussion faded). The most prevalent and peculiar is how the concussion changed art for me. I hear music in my head; it writes itself for me. It feels as though I am a muses’ marionette that guides my hands into writing things I would have never dreamed of before. The three years following the concussion I wrote three full albums of music with ease. It feels as if I have been dialed into a radio frequency of sounds, words, images and stories, and my body is just the antenna.

Our June, Us All was written in the first year following the concussion and then recorded over the following two years. The music of this album was written through me so quickly that I had to scramble to assemble some sort of recording method to capture it. I knew that this project was not meant for a typical recording studio scenario, so I bought the cheapest microphone and software I could buy and performed all the parts on my own using elementary school instruments from my first teaching job, and instruments that seemed to fall in my hands at exactly the moment the album called for them.

The loss of self after the concussion left me to redefine every aspect of my life spiritually, emotionally, physically, socially, and artistically. Our June, Us All focuses on love; learning to let go of what love meant to who I was before, and learning to accept what love means to me now.

David Summit

Bandcamp

Album
Providence, Rhode Island
Alternative, Folk

Powerquadrant

Advertisements

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.