You’ve probably heard the term. It commonly describes the music with which a person identifies as running parallel to their lives. The music heard the most over the years or that which simply meant the most can be thought of as a soundtrack accompanying a lifetime. The songs often attributed to be representative of one’s life are those from the time of youth, perhaps because of the magnified importance of coming of age. Passions ran high and those times seemed so important. The formative years are important, but they don’t necessarily represent the big picture.
Imagine your life as a big picture, that is, a blockbuster movie of epic proportions. It doesn’t matter if yours is an “ordinary” one, as most are, if by ordinary you mean the usual growing up in one place, having an average education, a blue collar or middle management occupation, marrying and having children who aren’t perfect but who make you proud anyway. Every life is unique, most are noble in some way and there are highs and lows that make for all the drama a story needs. Your life is worthy of a soundtrack and you have written the score for most of it already.
Your varied and colorful past started with a glorious or harrowing or sad or some other non-boring birth filled with emotion for you and those around you. Do you know your own story in that regard? If so, you can easily find the music that applies. If not, you can imagine the kinds of tunes that may have been rolling around the mind of your mother before, during or after you exited the birth canal. Maybe she loved music and played it for nine months when you were in the womb. Yeah–you may have even had those melodic images in your own mind as you were making your grand entrance.
As you grew, you were probably subjected to plenty of music in the house, the car, in school and the myriad of other places where music is played for public consumption whether you want it or not. If you had an older sibling, they could have led the way with the music of their teen years and shaped your own tastes. Even if you were raised in a musically silent household and you heard it sparingly because you lived in a remote area or everyone was listening to their own on electronic devices of one kind or another, there is a music that can be added to this movie to convey the feel of your earthly existence. Specific songs aren’t even necessary if you don’t have any that specifically apply or stand out for you. If yours has been an action-packed ride, your music may be upbeat in an exciting way. Be it Beethoven, Beyonce or B-52’s, there’s a style out there that both fits your demeanor and your perception of your own personal journey.
Of course, no one’s life is on one constant pace. You press forward and climb at times, you coast when you can or must. There are many genres that fit these scenarios. For instance, the graduates soar to the music of Pomp and Circumstance when they march in their commencement ceremonies. A death dirge may accompany a funeral service and give the deceased their dignified, somber swan song. Even on a daily basis your musical choices may vary from softer fare in the morning to hard-edged selections in the daytime and evening hours with relaxation strains in the hour leading up to bedtime.
Some believe that eclectic options provide humans with the best opportunity to reap the maximum benefits that music has to offer. “Variety is the spice of life,” the saying goes. The more open and receptive a person is, the more enjoyment is to be had by the the listener. To be limited to listening only to pop, hip hop, classic rock, country, jazz or classical to name a few possibilities is to deprive oneself from the pleasures and assimilation of assorted musical forms. World music, for example, allows you to see through the eyes and ears of many other cultures with their varied rhythms, with their diversified instrumentation. Full ranges of emotion are available to listeners moving outside their comfort zones. They add to life experience in this way and that extends to life in general. Exposing oneself to travel and new experiences broadens the horizons that enrich lives in ways that could hardly be imagined. The soundtrack of your life is still being written. May it be a masterpiece.