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Music of Our Lives

Inspiring Music for our Lives - National Survey and Writing Contest Summary Report

Music of our Lives - StageofLife.com

Looking for inspirational songs and music?  You've hit the right web page.  Below you will find nearly 200 essays from people about the songs and music that inspires them, along with the survey and writing contest summary report from the StageofLife.com blogging contest in which we asked people to share a story about a song that was incredibly inspiring to them at an important point in their life.

The Numbers...

  • 9,680+ people visited the Stage of Life writing contest pages during this writing prompt from over 100 countries and 50 US states.
  • 456 people fully answered the music survey (results below).  The majority were teens.
  • 190+ people from various life stages (teens to Baby Boomers) submitted a qualifying essay about an inspirational song (see below for essay links).
Writing Contest Background - Music in our Lives
Music plays an integral and emotional role in our lives.  There was the song that was playing in the background during your first kiss.  The song you picked for your first dance at your wedding.  The song that helped you through a difficult time.  Or the song you and your friends belted out at the top of your lungs one summer night around a campfire.

We all have stories and memories tied to songs that have become a part of who are, because music plays an integral part of shaping our identity as we mature through life.

StageofLife.com's Inspiring Music Writing Contest ResultsConsider these quotes about the importance of music...
  • "Music was my refuge. I could crawl into the space between the notes and curl my back to loneliness." --Maya Angelou
  • "Music doesn't lie. If there is something to be changed in this world, then it can only happen through music." --Jimi Hendrix
  • "Without music, life would be a mistake."  --Friedrich Nietzsche
  • "If music be the food of love, play on."  --William Shakespeare
  • "One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain."  --Bob Marley
  • "Music is the art of the prophets and the gift of God."  --Martin Luther
  • "Music is a moral law. It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything."  --Plato
  • "Nothing separates the generations more than music. By the time a child is eight or nine, he has developed a passion for his own music that is even stronger than his passions for procrastination and weird clothes."  --Bill Cosby
So the essay contest writing prompt for July & August 2012 was simple:  In 500 words or less, share a story about an important moment in your life and how music, or a song, played its role.  The writing contest prize included a Stage of Life SWAG package that contained $100 in sponsor gift cards.  For the "record" - Stage of Life hosts national writing contests each month.


PART I - MUSIC SURVEY RESULTS and STATISTICS

High School students and music tastesBefore submitting their essay, everyone was asked to complete a short survey about their attitudes towards music.  456 people answered the Stage of Life music survey, of which, 413 were ages 13-19.  Because of the overwhelming amount of teen responses, the below survey data was filtered to include just the teen results.

Key music statistics from the teens taking the survey revealed that...

  • 34% of teens like the music their parents listen to.
  • 10% of teens state their parents have no clue about what type of music they listen to while 83% claim that their parents like all or some of their music.
  • Nearly 1 in 2 teens (49.2%) spend $0 (zero) per month on music as they either download it for free or burn it from friends' music collections. 
  • 38.7% of teens buy 1 album a month (spending $10-$15 per month), and only 2% of teens report spending more than $50 per month on music.
  • 41% of teens bought a CD or paid to download a song/album WITHOUT having first heard the music simply because of a good review or it was recommended to them.
  • Stage of Life Teens and Music Survey Results35% of teens rank "Friends" as the #1 source to find out about new bands or music.  Also ranked high as sources for music are internet/blogs (22.3%) and the radio (19.4%).
  • Interested to know what songs teens most recently downloaded or want played at their funeral?  Check out our full StageofLife.com poll results and music statistics by clicking on the PDF to download and/or print our teens and music survey results

PART II - MUSIC ESSAY THEMES - TEENS

Music and Teens - StageofLife.com reportAfter taking the music survey, people submitted their music essay to the StageofLife.com writing contest.  From the scores of qualifying essay submissions from students (high school and college), several universal themes and trends emerged about how young people, in particular, feel about music:

  1. Music is Life: Without music, these teens agreed that they would be “lost.” Their lives would be a lot quieter and a lot less special.
  2. Music is Helpful: Music was there to help these teens through particularly troubling or difficult moments of their lives: death, depression, self-harm, and break-up were all soothed thanks to the lyrical inspiration of their favorite, meaningful songs.
  3. Music is Strength: On the same token, music gave these teens strength to persevere through the tough moments in life. Some of these songs saved these teens’ lives; others reminded them that they mattered.
  4. Music is Memories: Songs hold specific memories—sometimes more than one. These teens were flooded with fond and sometimes bittersweet memories when listening to these songs.

READ THE MUSIC ESSAYS

Immediately below, you'll find the links to the StageofLife.com winning essay, our runners-up, semi-finalists and scores of other essays from a wide range of people (teens to Boomers) about music.  Please take a few moments to read an essay or two. If you have the time, make a comment on the responses you enjoyed the most.  We know the writers will love hearing your positive input (they'll get an email notifying them if you comment on their writing contest entry).

Music Essay Winners:Writing Contest Winners - Music Essays

  • 1st Place:  My Song: “I Wonder” by Kellie Pickler made me think about the mother I never had by lpd811 (This teen writes letters to her birth mother)
  • 2nd Place:  My Song: “You’ll Be in My Heart” gave me the strength to accept what cannot be changed by suddenfury (This song helped me cope when her father suffered a traumatic injury)
  • 3rd Place:  My Song: “Us Against the World” by Coldplay gives me hope after my soul mate’s passing by charleytagg (She is never without his love)
  • 4th Place (tie):  My Song: “After the Storm” Understands Why I Hold by abigailmumm (Her father received a devastating double diagnosis)
  • 4th Place (tie):  My Song: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bob Marley gave me the strength to overcome life’s struggles by jpeschard (His parents discovered his most well-guarded secret)  STAGE OF LIFE EDITORS NOTE:  The song, "Don't Worry, Be Happy" performed by Bobby McFerrin, not Bob Marley.  Bob Marley died seven years before the release of "Don't Worry, Be Happy."

Runners-Up:
  1. Writing Contest Runners Up - StageofLife.comMy Song: “Eyes Open” Helped Me Fight the Night by minito50 (This teen was inspired to get to work)
  2. My Song: “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” by Joyce Hager (A love story in song form)
  3. My Song: “Both of Us” by B.O.B. feat. Taylor Swift is the story of my life by livisan (This song accurately describes her struggles)
  4. My Song: “Hammers and Strings” by Jack’s Mannequin made me worth something to myself by Writer Selbe (She found reassurance in a song that sounds like it was written for her)
  5. My Song: “I’ll Be There For You” showed me that high school friendships weren’t going anywhere by KL94 (High school graduations brought bittersweet feelings)
  6. My Song: “I Will Wait For You” by Connie Francis reminds me of my childhood promise by ShaunaMarieJ (She made an important promise to her grandmother)
  7. My Song: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz by iJulestheWorld (A Yale rejection made this teen stumble over her “life plan”)
  8. My Song: “Shattered” (by Trading Yesterday), just like my amnesiac ex-best friend’s memory by KuronoxShizaya (Her friend suffered a terrible accident and was left with few memories)
  9. My Song: The album “Tennessee” saved me from myself by amanda.tucker (She turned to bad decisions after an unexpected breakup)
  10. My Song: “Till I Collapse” by Eminem was my lifeline in tenth grade by thocho23 (He struggled with adapting to a new school 10,000 miles from home)
  11. My Song: My love song made by the universe by AlyRose (This song can’t be accurately described)

Music and Life - StageofLife.com writing contestSemi-Finalists (in no particular order):
  1. My Song: “The Christmas Song”, sung by Nat King Cole, fills my mind with wonderful family memories and life lessons by momaloft (She hopes to share life lesson with her children and grandchildren)
  2. My Song: “Taking You Home” by Don Henley was the perfect wedding song for Sue and I by Tom_Leskiw (He searched for the perfect song for a second marriage)
  3. My Song: “Citizen Soldier” by 3 Doors Down: It’s Me by derrick.jayska (This song calmed him down when he was deploying overseas)
  4. My Song: “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band reminds me that my marriage is worth the effort by momaloft (This song calms the anger in their relationship)
  5. My Song: “Everybody Hurts” pulls me from the abyss by jildaleigh (This song restores her faith in herself)
  6. My Song: “I’ll Be Missing You” by riserthinking (This song reminds this teen of pleasant memories with an old friend)
  7. My Song: Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by watchinxfileswiththelightson (Taylor Swift understands her hard break up)
  8. My Song: “Anthem Part Two”—Unifying a Generation by jwilson (Adults need to give teens more credit)
  9. My Song: “Breathe” for Jared by defalinician (A story of sadness for an old friend)
  10. My Song: “Don’t Cha” helped mend a broken heart by lookingforanswers (This fun and silly song helped cheer her friend up in her time of need)
  11. My Song: “Yellow” by Coldplay Taught Me the Art of the Stars by marameama (The stars are peaceful)
  12. My Song: “Patience” was an everyday reminder by amanda.tucker (Don’t give up on love)
  13. My Song: “Heaven is a Place on Earth”. Really. by zenarein (Fond memories with friends)
  14. My Song: “Hey Jude” by artfreak889 (A poem about the famous Beatles song)
  15. My Song: “Alice” by Avril Lavigne reminds me of my struggle finding my major for college by fluffystatickitty09 (She couldn’t decide on a major)
  16. My Song: “Home” by Phillip Phillips lets me know that home is wherever I am with the ones by lookingforanswers (Good feelings during the Olympics)
  17. My Song: “The House that Built Me” the song that points me to where I belong by yancy1 (This song helped her through a tough and difficult time)
  18. My Song: “I Believe” reminded me that I really do believe by efeldan (This teen successfully ran a half-marathon)
  19. My Song: Be “Mean” (by Taylor Swift) all you want but see if I budge by swohsmsj (She was horribly bullied by adults and kids when she was growing up)
  20. My Song: “Party Rock” in the House Every Saturday by parkman2626 (This song broke up the monotony in a tough biology SAT class)
  21. My Song: “Ronda Alla Turca” by Mozart taught me nothing’s perfect by emily.jamison1 (This teen learned more about music from this song than anything else)
  22. My Song: “Stand By Me” reminds me of the unwavering devotion of my best friend by SmilinAlltheWay (Her childhood best friend continues to stand by her side despite their distance)
  23. My Song: Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” helped me on by ecat197 (This teen wouldn’t let rejection get her down)
  24. My Song: “Superstar” and how Chinese pop inexplicably helped me become more confident by Hatman (This song helped this teen loosen up in a scary situation)
  25. My Song: “Sway” helped me remember the love instead of the distance by madeline101 (Her boyfriend asked her out in a romantic and unexpected way)
  26. My Song: “Teenage Daughters” by Martina McBride taught me that boys leave but moms stay by horsekisses1 (A bad break-up inspired her mom to show her how much she loved hers)
  27. My Song: “What Makes You Beautiful”: the song I should NOT have danced to by katie_selena (She had an embarrassing interaction with her crush)


All Teen Music Essays

Music essays written by Stage of Life teen writers (alpha by song title):

32 Flavors

  1. My Song: “32 Flavors” Reminded Me I Am Special by basketballplayer1 (She found confidence in a life-changing song)

100 Years

  1. My Song: “100 Years” by Five for Fighting Made Me Sixteen for a Lifetime by WiseBroad (Technology isn’t everything)

Aaron’s Party

  1. My Song: “Aaron’s Party” by Aaron Carter helped me through middle school by Lifexlove (This fun song helped cheer this teen up)

After the Storm

  1. My Song: “After the Storm” Understands Why I Hold by abigailmumm (Her father received a devastating double diagnosis)

Age of Worry

  1. My Song: “Age of Worry” A piece of hope by TheFobsterGirl (Don’t be afraid)

Alice

  1. My Song: “Alice” by Avril Lavigne reminds me of my struggle finding my major for college by fluffystatickitty09 (She couldn’t decide on a major)

All Signs Point to Lauderdale

  1. My Song: “All Songs Point to Lauderdale” by A Day to Remember points me on my journey by clegan777 (This teen just wants to feel freedom)

All You Did Was Save My Life

  1. My Song: “All You Did Was Save My Life” reminds me to never give up by Kristen L (“You saw hope in the hopeless”)

Always Been Me

  1. My Song: “Always Been Me” If Every Song is a Memory by AshlenS (She lost her uncle to suicide)

Am I the Only One

  1. My Song: “Am I the Only One” Sing on the golf course by extremelysarah (They played and sang this song during golf team practice)

Amazing Grace

  1. My Song: Mourning the Missing with “Amazing Grace” by runnerunner13 (This hymn makes her think of her uncle)

  2. My Song: “Amazing Grace” Music as a Healer by [email protected] (This song comforted him when his mom died)

American Idiot

  1. My Song: From “American Idiot”s to National Champions by azalea.fire (Her academic team focused better thanks to this Green Day anthem)

Angel by Your Side

  1. My Song: “Angel by Your Side” by Francesca Battistelli reminds me that there is an angel by my side through all of the rough times by baby.benga (This teen’s friend is her angel)

Angel of Music

  1. My Song: The “Angel of Music” helped me discover my passion by ncmyrick (This teen wants to pursue musical theater)

The Anthem

  1. My Song: “The Anthem” by Good Charlotte reminds me to be myself by Nlavigna (The boldness of this song empowered this teen and her friends)

Anthem, Part Two

  1. My Song: “Anthem Part Two”—Unifying a Generation by jwilson (Adults need to give teens more credit)

Baby

  1. My Song: How “Baby” by Justin Bieber helped me reach Nirvana by kittyhearted (Middle school graduation left her feeling bittersweet)

Bad Day

  1. My Song: “Bad Day” by Daniel Powter brings me back to my childhood by irenegreen21 (Bad days pass)

Banana Pancakes

  1. My Song: “Banana Pancakes” brings back my childhood by mosicles (This song reminds this teen of the “good things” in life)

Beautiful People

  1. My Song: “Beautiful People” by theneonadolescent (We triumph and suffer together)

Bittersweet Symphony

  1. My Song: “Bittersweet Symphony” Moving Along by Rosie_Frank2 (The world we live in is so full of tragedy)

Blackbird

  1. My Song: “Blackbird” Bringing me to Memories by zenarein (This teen survived depression and self-harm)

Born to Express Yourself

  1. My Song: Lady Gaga and Madonna are a recipe for success when you are “Born to Express Yourself” by horsekisses1 (Her indoor color guard won with this inspirational song splice)

Both of Us

  1. My Song: “Both of Us” by B.O.B. feat. Taylor Swift is the story of my life by livisan (This song accurately describes her struggles)

Boys from Back Home

  1. My Song: “Boys from Back Home” by lbohl (She doesn’t want to leave her hometown)

  2. My Song: “Boys from Back Home” Friends Forever by crayfish (Life is just getting started)

Breakaway

  1. My Song: “Breakaway” inspires me to do everything to accomplish my goals in life by alyssafestin (Take a chance and reach for your dreams)

  2. My Song: “Breakaway” …at least from my past by McIntireJA (This song gave her hope)

Breakeven

  1. My Song: “Breakeven” by The Script reminds me that all hearts fall to pieces by Mka3912 (Her life was a living hell)

Breaking the Habit

  1. My Song: “Breaking the Habit” by Linkin Park illustrates how quick we are to mute pain and hide it from the world by jgrossbard (Reach out when you are in pain)

Breathe

  1. My Song: “Breathe” for Jared by defalinician (A story of sadness for an old friend)

Bye Bye

  1. My Song: “Bye Bye” by Mariah Carey reminds me of a family never forgotten by Loco4koko (Even though a person is gone, they are still in your heart)

The Call

  1. My Song: “The Call” Soundtrack to the Stages of my Life by jordanhi (This teen is confident for the future)

Call Me Maybe

  1. My Song: “Call Me Maybe” by austinh (This teen associates this song with Boys State)

Car Wash

  1. My Song: “Car Wash” by Rose Royce reminds me to celebrate the little things by HDP44 (This song makes her want to dance)

The Chair

  1. My Song: “The Chair” by George Strait brings tears and somewhat a smile to my face by DemiJuliet (This song brings bittersweet memories about a good relationship gone bad)

Champion

  1. My Song: “Champion” by Chipmunk feat. Chris Brown inspires me of how I feel like a champion by zaynferoze (This teen challenged himself to do better)

The Climb

  1. My Song: “The Climb” In Memory of Morgan Mysza by afenner (Obstacles will come and go in life)

  2. My Song: “The Climb” by Miley Cyrus by student1 (This teen was placed in a treatment facility for anger)

Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue

  1. My Song: “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” by KasieVega22 (Respect and support the troops)

Crying For Me

  1. My Song: “Crying For Me” by Toby Keith helped me get through losing two great people by bgj2827 (This teen missed two close relatives very, very much)

Dark Blue

  1. My Song: “Dark Blue” brought me out of dark times by technobecian (She moved beyond her “dark times” with the help of this song)

Days Like These

  1. My Song: “Days Like These” by jordan2013 (This teen wants this coming school year to be the best)

Delilah

  1. My Song: “Delilah” by Mavado (it gave me and my girlfriend the idea to name our daughter Delylah) by dosh06 (This song makes him think of his daughter)

Does Anybody Hear Her?

  1. My Song: “Does Anybody Hear Her?” reminds me that there is still home hope out there somewhere by musicgirl1997 (Music “bandages” her wounds)

Do What You Want

  1. My Song: “Do What You Want” by Evanescence/Amy Lee by faylynn (Never do something because someone else is doing it)

Don’t Cha

  1. My Song: “Don’t Cha” helped mend a broken heart by lookingforanswers (This fun and silly song helped cheer her friend up in her time of need)

Don’t Stop Believing

  1. My Song: “Don’t Stop Believing” by Journey reminds me of college bowling night by amyg091 (Fond memories are found in this song)

Don’t Worry, Be Happy

  1. My Song: “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by Bob Marley gave me the strength to overcome life’s struggles by jpeschard (His parents discovered his most well-guarded secret)

  2. My Song: The smile on my face was a result of “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” by princess madihah (Scream with joy on the roller coaster ride of life)

Down by the River

  1. My Song: “Down by the River” by Ralph (He wrote his own song)

Exitlude

  1. My Song: “Exitlude” by The Killers helped me part ways with a part of myself by Parikshit_cm (This song provided a cathartic experience)

Eyes Open

  1. My Song: “Eyes Open” Helped Me Fight the Night by minito50 (This teen was inspired to get to work)

Fifteen

  1. My Song: “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift eased the nerves I had as I, for the first time, pushed open the doors to a brand new school by KaceyJaceyXD (As a freshman, you don’t know who you are supposed to be)

  2. My Song: “Fifteen” by Taylor Swift by roseykarina (Starting high school was a scary experience)

Fighter

  1. My Song: “Fighter” by Christina Aguilera and how it affected my past and my present by Melanie (This song triggers happy memories from the past)

Firework

  1. My Song: “Firework” by kat (Your favorite song should get you through things)

Fly

  1. My Song: “Fly” by Nicki Minaj always gives me hope by yetta1ready (This song fills her with determination)

Fur Elise

  1. My Song: Perfecting “Fur Elise” by Ludwig Van Beethoven by mosicles (This song reminds this teen of the rewards of struggle)

Give Me Your Eyes

  1. My Song: “Give Me Your Eyes” by Brandon Heath—the Joy You Can Learn from a Song by MeTheAwesome1 (This teen vows to minister someone everyday)

God Gave Me You

  1. My Song: “God Gave Me You” by Blake Shelton expresses how supported and loved I am by BlueWaterLily (This song restored her faith in god)

The Good Life

  1. My Song: “The Good Life” Perception is Everything by shay2013 (Break free from negative perceptions)

  2. My Song: “The Good Life” by carloscafe (Life shouldn’t be wasted by thinking about all the things you could have done)

Good Morning

  1. My Song: “Good Morning” made me realize that I need to forget about yesterday, and look toward today by Godslittlewriter35 (This song cheered her up)

Hammers and Strings

  1. My Song: “Hammers and Strings” by Jack’s Mannequin made me worth something to myself by Writer Selbe (She found reassurance in a song that sounds like it was written for her)

Heaven is a Place on Earth

  1. My Song: “Heaven is a Place on Earth”. Really. by zenarein (Fond memories with friends)

Here For You

  1. My Song: “Here For You” Showed Me That I Would Get Better by MikkiB326 (Imperfection is beautiful)

Hey

  1. My Song: “Hey” by The Pixies is why I am still alive by emilykaufman (This teen had a difficult life)

Hey Jude

  1. My Song: “Hey Jude” by artfreak889 (A poem about the famous Beatles song)

Hold on to What You Believe

  1. My Song: “Hold on to What You Believe” by Mumford & Sons. The song that made me believe by bizzy13 (This song pulled her out of the darkness and into the light)

Home

  1. My Song: “Home” by Phillip Phillips lets me know that home is wherever I am with the ones by lookingforanswers (Good feelings during the Olympics)

Honestly

  1. My Song: “Honestly,” I’m Finally Free by purplejazz16 (She was able to move on after a sad ending to a friendship)

The House that Built Me

  1. My Song: “The House that Built Me” the song that points me to where I belong by yancy1 (This song helped her through a tough and difficult time)

I’ll Be Missing You

  1. My Song: “I’ll Be Missing You” by riserthinking (This song reminds this teen of pleasant memories with an old friend)

I’ll Be There For You

  1. My Song: “I’ll Be There For You” showed me that high school friendships weren’t going anywhere by KL94 (High school graduations brought bittersweet feelings)

I Believe

  1. My Song: “I Believe” reminded me that I really do believe by efeldan (This teen successfully ran a half-marathon)

I Can Only Imagine

  1. My Song: “I Can Only Imagine” by jmorris (This teen lost her uncle)

I Don’t Want to be Me

  1. My Song: “I Don’t Want to be Me” by Amanda Clemens brings me back to seventh grade by Purplerain105 (She found friends in middle school)

I Just Haven’t Met You Yet

  1. My Song: “I Just Haven’t Met You Yet” by Michael Buble comforts me when I’m lonely by juliamargaretjones (Heart break and impatience were conquered by this song)

I Learned From You

  1. My Song: “I Learned From You” by Miley Cyrus reminded me of how much my parents gave me and how I should give back by fablehavenfairy97 (She will not let her parents down)

I Will Rise

  1. My Song: “I Will Rise” assured me that my grandma is in a better place by faithmunoz (Her grandmother “rose” to heaven)

I Will Wait For You

  1. My Song: “I Will Wait For You” by Connie Francis reminds me of my childhood promise by ShaunaMarieJ (She made an important promise to her grandmother)

I Wonder

  1. My Song: “I Wonder” by Kellie Pickler made me think about the mother I never had by lpd811 (This teen writes letters to her birth mother)

I Won’t Give Up

  1. My Song: “I Won’t Give Up” by Jason Mraz by iJulestheWorld (A Yale rejection made this teen stumble over her “life plan”)

If I Die Young

  1. My Song: “If I Die Young” by The Band Perry showed me my worth by nikac (This teen was inspired to find happiness in sad situations)

  2. My Song: “If I Die Young” and how I didn’t want to by lscott2092 (This teen learned to seize senior year and live her life)

Into the Mist

  1. My Song: “Into the Mist” saved my relationship with my father by flanagan-fantasies (Music is communication)

Iris

  1. My Song: “Iris” by The Goo Goo Dolls helped me when I was broken by alyy.mariie (This song brought her closer to her mother in tragic circumstances)

Juicy

  1. My Song: “Juicy” by Notorious B.I.G.: My life as a lyrical masterpiece by Nnwaoha (This teen was oppressed and denied happiness)

Just a Kiss

  1. My Song: “Just a Kiss” by Lady Antebellum: A Tribute to the Guy Who Sees Me as a Friend by mia.williams10 (This teen is confused about a close friend)

Keep Your Eyes Open

  1. My Song: “Keep Your Eyes Open” by was my one-song summer soundtrack by discovery. (Break free from your shell)

Knives and Pens

  1. My Song: “Knives and Pens” saved my life by JAZZ (This teen suffered depression and anxiety from a really young age)

The Last Night Alone

  1. My Song: “The Last Night Alone” by Skillet leaves me remembering that only a few people have really by RainStorm (This teen was distraught because people judged her)

  2. My Song: “The Last Night” helped me overcome my depression by 95_celeste (“Stories aren’t worth telling unless they have a happy ending”)

Like Toy Soldiers

  1. My Song: Eminem: “Like Toy Soldiers” by sosa (This teen had a tough childhood)

Listen

  1. My Song: “Listen” by Beyonce Knowles inspired me to stand up for myself by kmurphy91 (Listening and speaking are the keys to communication)

  2. My Song: “Listen” was my doctor by sicajung11 (The only song that made me cry)

Little Miss

  1. My Song: “Little Miss” by DreamyGal (This song helped this teen through bad depression)

Live Your Life

  1. My Song: “Live Your Life” by Jay-Z reminds me of how everyone should follow their dreams by yussufwelch (This teen got rid of his “haters”)

Mahler’s 5th Symphony

  1. My Song: “Mahler’s 5th Symphony” by Andy Park (This teen was inspired to play like the artists in this song)

Mad World

  1. My Song: “Mad World” by Tears For Fears embodies my philosophy of nihilism by mhill (“Maybe without music, one cannot understand humanity”)

Mean

  1. My Song: Be “Mean” (by Taylor Swift) all you want but see if I budge by swohsmsj (She was horribly bullied by adults and kids when she was growing up)

More Time

  1. My Song: “More Time” by Needtobreathe gave me strength to wait on love by possibilityforsimplicity (Love is worth waiting for)

Need You Now

  1. My Song: “Need You Now” by Lady Antebellum reminds me of how I fell for the exchange student by MorganneJR (This teen remembers a fond friend)

Never Grow Up

  1. My Song: “Never Grow Up” by Mildstart (Taylor Swift understands all teen girls)

Nobody’s Home

  1. My Song: How Avril Lavigne’s “Nobody’s Home” got me through a rough time by andigiete10 (Eighth grade was particularly rough for this teen)

Not Alone

  1. My Song: “Not Alone” by Darren Criss taught me to accept myself unconditionally by warblerinlove (This teen felt empowered by this power ballad about love and friendship)

Now or Never

  1. My Song: “Now or Never” by hannahpansy (This song comforted her during a difficult time)

Numbers

  1. My Song: “Numbers” draws focus to the soda, not the can by OliviaZZZ5 (This teen can’t wait to be free of high school’s pressures)

One

  1. My Song: “One” by U2 helped me make an important choice by sbhargaw (This teen was moved by the hope in this song)

One Tin Soldier

  1. My Song: “One Tin Soldier” by cjm2016 (This song reminds her of her brother)

One Voice

  1. My Song: “One Voice” by Heliyanah (This song reminds her of her mother)

Ours

  1. My Song: “Ours” by Taylor Swift taught me to live life by my own rules by lindsayo50 (This song, unlike others, is extremely relatable)

Patience

  1. My Song: “Patience” was an everyday reminder by amanda.tucker (Don’t give up on love)

Paradise

  1. My Song: “Paradise” by Coldplay by Smiley_0913 (This teen has suffered a lot of hurt)

Party Rock

  1. My Song: “Party Rock” in the House Every Saturday by parkman2626 (This song broke up the monotony in a tough biology SAT class)

Passengers

  1. My Song: “Passengers” by Hawthorne Heights gives a harsh realization by YourLeastFave (The media teaches teens that bad decisions will make them celebrities)

Perfect

  1. My Song: “Perfect” by september27 (You are perfect no matter what mistakes you make)

Phineas and Ferb Theme Song

  1. My Song: “Phineas and Ferb Theme Song” by artfreak889 (This teen doesn’t want to grow up)

Pomp and Circumstance

  1. My Song: “Pomp and Circumstance” Timeline of my High School Years by yoojin3795 (This teen will be walking in graduation next year instead of playing it)

Pray

  1. My Song: I am thankful and want to make a change because of “Pray” by princess madihah (“Can someone please tell me how to make a change?”)

Price Tag

  1. My Song: “Price Tag” by stardance (There is more to life than money)

Rise to Me

  1. My Song: “Rise to Me” helped me maintain hope while my brother was in a coma by mere_z (This song embodied her older brother)

Rondo Alla Turca

  1. My Song: “Ronda Alla Turca” by Mozart taught me nothing’s perfect by emily.jamison1 (This teen learned more about music from this song than anything else)

Safe and Sound

  1. My Song: “Safe and Sound” by Taylor Swift featuring The Civil Wars recognizes the evils of war by Sunnyday123 (Peace is the most important; war is unnecessary)

Satellite

  1. My Song: “Satellite” An Anthem for My Grief by trentonalexander (This lost his siblings before he got to meet them)

Scar Tissue

  1. My Song: “Scar Tissue” by the Red Hot Chili Peppers reminds me that everything’s okay by klskendall (This teen was inspired to play bass and cello like Flea)

Secrets

  1. My Song: “Secrets” by One Republic reminds me of my lifestyle by JustAlice (Musings on this teen’s life)

Shake It Out

  1. My Song: “Shake It Out” by Florence and the Machine taught me to move forward by DanaMarieXD (It’s hard to be strong when things fall apart)

Shattered

  1. My Song: “Shattered” (by Trading Yesterday), just like my amnesiac ex-best friend’s memory by KuronoxShizaya (Her friend suffered a terrible accident and was left with few memories)

Skyscraper

  1. My Song: “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato helped me discover my inner strength by rosiebaek (This teen is tired of being compared to others)

  2. My Song: “Skyscraper” brought me into the light by lollilols (Life goes on)

  3. My Song: “Skyscraper” by Demi Lovato showed me that I am strong enough to stand on my own by writer-mind (She was too concerned with failure)

Smile

  1. My Song: “Smile” by Michael Jackson helped me to stay strong through my loneliness by Lennylen (She had a hard time making friends after moving)

Someone Else’s Story

  1. My Song: “Someone Else’s Story” by Musical Chess by RavenRayne17 (This song helped her through a bad break up)

Someone’s Watching Over Me

  1. My Song: “Someone’s Watching Over Me” by Hilary Duff brought me through my granddad’s death by KaceyJaceyXD (Believe in yourself)

Something Like That

  1. My Song: “Something Like That” Summertime by Eugene (This song sparked interest in agriculture)

Somewhere Only We Know

  1. My Song: “Somewhere Only We Know” by Keane helped me get my crying out by mackenziebeth (When this teen lost her best friend, Keane helped her get her feelings out)

  2. My Song: “Somewhere Only We Know”: The Place that will Not Forget Me Either by Somethinker248 (Music is poetry)

Stand By Me

  1. My Song: “Stand By Me” reminds me of the unwavering devotion of my best friend by SmilinAlltheWay (Her childhood best friend continues to stand by her side despite their distance)

Stars

  1. My Song: “Stars” by Warpaint lulled me to sleep after surgery by kelseybundra (This song helped this teen through a tough time in her life)

Star Spangled Banner

  1. My Song: Jimi Hendrix’s “Star Spangled Banner” by sophiacat (This version of our country’s anthem was, this teen thinks, more powerful than the original)

  2. My Song: “The Star Spangled Banner” America’s Chorus by jozieg (When this song plays, everyone focuses on America)

Starry Night

  1. My Song: “Starry Night” reminded me of my memories by dreamhigh41 (This song makes this teen nostalgic)

Stop Crying Your Heart Out

  1. My Song: “Stop Crying Your Heart Out” by ClaudiaR94 (Her parents “divorce” was eased by this song)

Stronger

  1. My Song: “Stronger” encouraged me to stay strong by kmurphy91 (This teen stays strong in the face of adversity)

  2. My Song: “Stronger” by ashanti.muhammad (She survived a painful injury)

  3. My Song: Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” helped me on by ecat197 (This teen wouldn’t let rejection get her down)

Stupid Girls

  1. My Song: “Stupid Girls” To the Ones Trying to Find Themselves: Don’t be a Stupid Girl by silence (Conformity changes girls)

Superstar

  1. My Song: “Superstar” and how Chinese pop inexplicably helped me become more confident by Hatman (This song helped this teen loosen up in a scary situation)

Sway

  1. My Song: “Sway” helped me remember the love instead of the distance by madeline101 (Her boyfriend asked her out in a romantic and unexpected way)

Sweet Thing

  1. My Song: “Sweet Thing” by Keith Urban. Zachary Calleb, you’re my Sweet Thing by MaddieKaye (This teen lost a close friend)

Tears in Heaven

  1. My Song: “Tears in Heaven” taught me to cherish every moment by sj (“You never know what you’re missing until you lose it”)

Teenage Daughters

  1. My Song: “Teenage Daughters” by Martina McBride taught me that boys leave but moms stay by horsekisses1 (A bad break-up inspired her mom to show her how much she loved hers)

Tennessee

  1. My Song: The album “Tennessee” saved me from myself by amanda.tucker (She turned to bad decisions after an unexpected breakup)

Tera Nasha

  1. My Song: “Tera Nasha” by babiixx (This song still gives her goosebumps)

Three Little Birds

  1. My Song: “Three Little Birds” keep me afloat on even the windiest of days by krispy15 (Her best friend was in a terrible accident)

The Thrill

  1. My Song: “The Thrill” Summer never ends when I hear this by bschmidt (This teen loved this summer)

Thunder

  1. My Song: “Thunder” Looking Back and Moving Forward by paigestartsiwithap (Songs hold a lot of memories)

Till I Collapse

  1. My Song: “Till I Collapse” by Eminem was my lifeline in tenth grade by thocho23 (He struggled with adapting to a new school 10,000 miles from home)

Titanium

  1. My Song: “Titanium” by David Guetta empowered me to continue staying strong by mjoannac (This teen is the only one who can plan her future)

Today My Life Begins

  1. My Song: “Today My Life Begins” with one door closing and another one opening by riserthinking (This song comforted her when she received devastating news)

Unwanted

  1. My Song: “Unwanted” by Avril Lavigne made me feel more understood by Forgotten Shadow (This teen found comfort in a song)

Us Against the World

  1. My Song: “Us Against the World” by Coldplay gives me hope after my soul mate’s passing by charleytagg (She is never without his love)

Viva La Vida

  1. My Song: “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay inspired me to go on by korithestar (This teen felt suffocated by the isolation of homeschooling)

Weightless

  1. My Song: “Weightless” by carlylikeshercanon (This teen had a miserable sophomore year)

Welcome to the Black Parade

  1. My Song: “Welcome to the Black Parade” by Natali_21 (MCR saved this teen’s life)

Welcome to My Life

  1. My Song: “Welcome to my Life” by Simple Plan really strikes home to me by RainStorm (You’re not the only one in a bad situation)

  2. My Song: “Welcome to my Life” by Lizzmacklin (Bad things can’t break you)

Win

  1. My Song: “Win” Over Pressures: A Soul Inspired by Music of Decades by Gelmar.Rivamonte (Ask for guidance and strength)

What Makes You Beautiful

  1. My Song: “What Makes You Beautiful”: the song I should NOT have danced to by katie_selena (She had an embarrassing interaction with her crush)

Whenever You Remember

  1. My Song: “Whenever You Remember” by Carrie Underwood gave me comfort in lonely times by writer-mind (This teen misses old friends)

While I Was a Youngster

  1. My Song: “While I Was a Youngster” Castles in My Head by kleaen (This teen has high dreams)

Who You’d Be Today

  1. My Song: “Who You’d Be Today” Death Tore the Pages by checktheBECK10 (“Don’t let death write your story”)

Who You Are

  1. My Song: “Who You Are” saved my life by danilb96 (This teen suffered physical and emotional abuse)

Yellow

  1. My Song: “Yellow” by Coldplay Taught Me the Art of the Stars by marameama (The stars are peaceful)

You Raise Me Up

  1. My Song: “You Raise Me Up” by justinshieh (His middle school experience was very difficult)

Your Woman

  1. My Song: “Your Woman” by White Town was my stay strong song by kelseybundra (She learned that her crush was not right for her)

You’ll Be in My Heart

  1. My Song: “You’ll Be in My Heart” gave me the strength to accept what cannot be changed by suddenfury (This song helped me cope when her father suffered a traumatic injury)

You’re Not Alone

  1. My Song: “You’re Not Alone” by Feathered-Pen (Hope is possible)

OTHER

  1. My Song: My love song made by the universe by AlyRose (This song can’t be accurately described)

  2. My Song: The Music of Christ Helped Me Reach God by ninjasareawesome (She was moved by a Christian speaker’s voice)


Other Life Stage Essays about Music:  Homeowners, Singles, Parents and Baby Boomers

A Certain Romance

  1. My Song: “A Certain Romance” by the Arctic Monkeys by AurumPhoenix (This song reminds her of old times with good friends)

Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore

  1. My Song: “Can’t Fight This Feeling Anymore” by Joyce Hager (A love story in song form)

Can’t You See

  1. My Song: “Can’t You See” by The Marshall Tucker Band reminds me that my marriage is worth the effort by momaloft (This song calms the anger in their relationship)

The Christmas Song

  1. My Song: “The Christmas Song”, sung by Nat King Cole, fills my mind with wonderful family memories and life lessons by momaloft (She hopes to share life lesson with her children and grandchildren)

Come Down in Time

  1. My Song: “Come Down in Time” by Elton John was the perfect song to get me through the long night by Tom_Leskiw (He appreciated the song’s uniqueness and mystery)

Everybody Hurts

  1. My Song: “Everybody Hurts” pulls me from the abyss by jildaleigh (This song restores her faith in herself)

Greatest Love of All

  1. My Song: Whitney Houston’s “Greatest Love of All” – 1986 by TrustingGodsPlan (She is reminded of a dear friend who passed on too soon)

Imagine

  1. My Song: “Imagine” by John Lennon – the world will live as one by Imagine (She hosts kids from foreign countries)

Karma Police

  1. My Song: “Karma Police” by Radiohead broke the chains on my wrists by jaspersilence (This song changed his life)

Lemonade

  1. My Song: “Lemonade” by Cocorosie (For Jan-Puu) by AurumPhoenix (She was inspired by her sister)

Taking You Home

  1. My Song: “Taking You Home” by Don Henley was the perfect wedding song for Sue and I by Tom_Leskiw (He searched for the perfect song for a second marriage)

We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together

  1. My Song: Taylor Swift – “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” by watchinxfileswiththelightson (Taylor Swift understands her hard break up)

Writing Contest Archive - Students

Writing Contests and Teen Trend Reports

StageofLife.com Student Writing Contests

Below you will find all of the monthly writing contests and teen trend reports from the last five years hosted by StageofLife.com.  Our dedication to digital literacy efforts have reached over 1,000,000 students and teachers in the last half decade, received mention on TIME.com, and features in the news.  Feel free to click through and read the top essay submissions from any given month.  StageofLife.com is honored to be one of the most-visited writing contests for students in the world.  We love working with you as we celebrate the journey as life-long readers and writers...

2016 Writing Contests

Writing Contest for High School Students

2015 Writing Contests


2014 Writing Contests

 2013 Writing Contests





2012 Writing Contests

2011 Writing Contests

 2010 Writing Contests


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