Esther Bock talks to her friend Kristen Murphy before a performance at Gallery 115 during a recent Fourth Friday event in Madison. Murphy was Bock’s high school choir director. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/krtichie@madisoncourier.com)
Esther Bock talks to her friend Kristen Murphy before a performance at Gallery 115 during a recent Fourth Friday event in Madison. Murphy was Bock’s high school choir director. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/krtichie@madisoncourier.com)
Esther Bock can't really remember a time when she wasn't humming to a tune or singing along to a song.

It's always just been a part of life for the 2013 Madison Consolidated High School graduate.

"Music just comes to me," she said. "I hear music in everything."

From noises on the street to songs on the radio, Bock can usually pick up some kind of melody and recreate them on the piano or guitar without sheet music. Her keen ear for music comes in handy since she never took lessons for any of the instruments she plays.

"I taught myself everything," the Dupont resident said. "I can't read notes."

Bock began playing around on the piano when she was four. Since then, she taught herself how to play the guitar and the drums.

Bock also began writing music tunes when she was 12, but she didn't really take it seriously until the death of a close friend a few years ago. She wrote a song and sang it at the visitation as a way to help herself and others deal with the sudden loss.

"I didn't really have to think about it," she said of the song. "I couldn't really process anything."

Instead, the words just came to her, and she wrote them down.

Little by little, she kept writing.

Sometimes songs just come to her within a few hours, but others can take days to finish, she said.

Even though Bock had an interest in music, she didn't always perform her works. In fact, she's just begun to share her talents with a wider audience in the community. A few weeks ago, she performed at Gallery 115 as part of Fourth Friday events in downtown Madison.

It was the first time she's done a public performance like that, Bock said, even though she's sung at a few weddings over the years.

She's also performed with others during high school choir shows, but only stayed with the group for a couple of years during school. Choir just wasn't for her, even though the group helped her to learn some stage techniques, she said.

Yet a performance at an FFA state convention at Purdue a couple of years ago helped Bock to realize musical performances is what she hopes to do more than just once in a while. She remembers thinking during her performance that singing in front of a crowd filled with friends and strangers alike was one of the best feelings ever.

"I want to touch a lot of people (with music)," she said.

As her fan base continues to grow, she's considered doing a reality singing competition. But that's not really a serious focus for now. She knows reality shows often take days for try-outs without success, and she isn't trying to launch her music career quickly.

She's patient, she said.

Instead, she plans to continue to continue to write and perform at community events. She also hopes to earn a music degree after completing college.

"I've never worked at anything so hard," she said. "For some people, music is a hobby. For me, it's my everything."