How Music Influences Fashion and Self-Expression

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Updated: Aug 29, 2023
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Felsenfeld’s Musical Rebellion

In his essay “Rebel Music,” Daniel Felsenfeld writes about how he became a composer of classical music. He starts off by telling about the times when he was a young boy and how he grew up with parents that were anything but educated in music.

When he was a child, his mother signed him up for piano lessons, but it was never anything that he enjoyed enough to make a hobby out of. At seventeen years old most teens struggle with identity-seeking.

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Whether it’s trying to find a friend group, trying to find a passion, or in this case, searching for some rebellion. Felsenfeld’s colleagues looked to punk, grotesque clothing and music while he disinterred Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. He remembers feeling like it was the first time he had ever heard real music. Felsenfeld would drive to school blaring Beethoven but would quickly change to a radio station because he was ashamed to be listening to something much less mainstream. He says his “passion for this “other” kind of music felt like the height of rebellion.” (Felsenfeld 3). He was the most peculiar teen, and this music style was exactly what he was searching for.

Just like Felsenfeld, I am so grateful to have been able to find something that I am so passionate about at such a young age. When I was three years old, I can recall being thrilled when my parents told me that we would be going to my grandmother’s house to visit. Going to my grandmother’s house to me meant that I would be spoiled rotten and more than likely given a chance to show my family a prodigious fashion show displaying my grandma’s finest, most high-end collection of footwear.

Childhood Memories and Fashion

I had a fascination with shoes and clothes that only my grandmother could concur with. She understood me the most, regarding my age; she related to my fashion style and wanted to help me in any way she could. The first thing I would do when arriving at my grandma’s house was a sprint to her closet and start lining up which shoes I wanted to wear first. I would stumble out of her room, waddling around with my toddler-sized feet barely balancing on her three-inch heels. The show would end with applause from my entire family and my grandma telling me to “make sure I put all the shoes back where I found them!” My fashion shows would be the conversation piece at the family dinner every year; everyone would talk about my style selection and how cute they were.

At this moment, I knew I had an infatuation with clothes and fashion that would hopefully become a part of my future. My other grandmother lives in Delaware, and every year around Christmas time, we would make the trip up North to go visit. It was a tradition of ours to go to the mall and spend some time in my favorite store for tweens, Justice. It was more than just a store to me; it was a gateway to shopping heaven. My grandma knew about my obsession with clothes, and her way of supporting it was dropping some money on me at Justice each year. I knew my parents did not want me to spend all of my grandma’s money, so I told them I would try, but that was never the case. Shoes were my main obsession, so I would always leave the store with an eccentric pair. I would eventually strut them around my elementary school with hopes of looking just like my favorite Disney Channel star Hannah Montana. Unlike Felsenfeld, I had a few family members that would help inspire me because they shared a similar fondness for style as I did. Whenever I talk to one of my friends and they are concerned about current fashion trends or what outfits to wear, they always turn to me for advice.

Fashion Challenges and Future Aspirations

Week after week, I’ve spent countless hours searching the latest fashion fads on Pinterest and scrolling through Instagram, so I never disappoint when leaving the house. I love being able to inspire my friends and help them feel their best in outfits. My favorite text messages to receive are when my friends send pictures of clothing items and say, “This looks like something you would wear.” I love having my own personal style and being able to showcase myself through what I wear. Although, I wish I had a greater financial income that could support my love for clothes. All the current clothing lines are pricey and unobtainable at the moment. Re-wearing outfits I had previously worn or had already featured on my Instagram page is an expensive habit that I despise. Also, trying to be original in my style with the resources that I have is difficult because there are only so many combinations I can put together. These are just some problems that come with wanting to always look my best.

Finding My Fashion Path in College

Since I am a freshman in college, I now struggle with the big question of what I want to major in. What do I want to choose as my career path for the rest of my life? Like Felsenfeld discovered classical music, I discovered my love for fashion, and it is something that forever changed me. I dedicate my time and money to becoming as exposed to the topic as possible.

Hopefully, I will be able to turn this into a career just as Felsenfeld did with his love for classical music. I hope to one day work with professionals and become a member of the fashion realm that I once admired from my computer screen. Researching the majors that go along with being a fashion stylist is my first step on this journey. I hope to take it in order to have a career that I enjoy and look forward to being a part of every single day. To me, that is worth all the hard work in the world. I am so grateful to have been able to find something that I am so passionate about at such a young age.

Works Cited

  1. Psychology Today. (2019). The Neurochemistry of Music: How Music Affects the Brain and Mood.
  2. Beethoven, Ludwig van. Symphony No. 9 in D minor, Op. 125.
  3. Erikson, Erik H. “Identity: Youth and crisis.” WW Norton & Company, 1968.
  4. Felsenfeld, Daniel. “Rebel Music.”
  5. Breward, Christopher. “Fashion.” Oxford University Press, 2003.
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How Music Influences Fashion and Self-Expression. (2023, Jun 17). Retrieved from