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    The Soundtrack of Our Lives

    Recently, while watching an episode of Biography about the movie Jaws, my mind wandered back to the summer of my tenth year, to our family vacation in Florida and a visit to the theater where we saw, of all things, the movie Jaws. Don’t ask me why, on a family vacation to the beach, we wanted to see a movie about a man-eating shark loose in the ocean ravaging innocent people, but that’s what we did.

    The year was 1975. No one had heard of Steven Spielberg yet, but everyone was talking about this movie.  The terror! It all came down to one thing:  the soundtrack. They played a short section of the film without the music, and then they played the same section again with the music added in. What power those few notes held! And I mean that literally, for John Williams chose to utilize only a few notes to instill terror and fear into those watching the film — and it worked, brilliantly! Would this film have reached the same heights of success had it not been for those famous notes?

    I began to think about how our each of our lives also has a soundtrack attached to it — much like a movie does. From the nursery rhymes that our mothers sang to us when we were toddlers to the songs we were taught in Sunday School. The songs we learned in elementary school or the one that we played for our first piano recital. We remember our first dance or the music we listened to the first summer we drove our own car, and the tunes we listened to on the radio during our first date will always take us right back there! Who can forget the music from our senior prom, the first dance at our wedding, or even a favorite Christmas carol that we never tire of hearing?

    These are the sounds that are the soundtrack of our lives, for our lives are filled with music every day. When you hear talk of cutting music programs from our schools and distributing those funds to other, “more important” programs, remind those people about the music that makes up the soundtrack of their lives. We are not talking about simply a “subject,” but a real part of who we are. We are exposed to music in some way almost every minute of the day through the internet, in advertising, on television, radio… it is everywhere.

    Those who want to dismiss music from our schools might not be swayed by research demonstrating that children learn better when they are exposed to music, or that it makes us better, more rounded adults;  but maybe they can identify with something that tugs at a memory within them — something from their own soundtrack. We all have one, it is the soundtrack of our lives.

    Doug McComas
    Music advocate, church choir director, pianist, vocalist, private music teacher, sacred choral editor at J.W. Pepper, supporter of Pepper's southeastern US customers from our store in Georgia

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