In just about every junior and senior high school across America, kids have the great opportunity to get into a musical program of some sort. Maybe you were a singer and had awesome vocals, so you jumped into choir to be the next “American Idol”. Or maybe you heard some sick beats or a beautiful movie soundtrack and wanted to be the musician yourself, so you joined the band. Hopefully if you’re still in school right now as your read this, you’re doing one of these programs yourself! If so, congratulations!
Whichever program you were (or are) in, you have to admit: music in our lives is a total given. You were raised with music, even if you don’t remember. Your mom sang you lullabies as a baby to drift you to sleep. You probably drummed and hit stuff as a young child to get attention, or naturally played with one of those adorable musical-xylophone toys. And if you’re like me, one of the first songs you learned is the national anthem in elementary school.
Music is a fantastic thing; forever woven into our lives even if we don’t care to admit it.
Turns out it also teaches us some important things about life, too.
The emotions of your everyday life
You know what the neat thing about music is? It’s always different. Sure, some tunes might sound similar, or the theme of the song might be similar—but at the heart of it, every song is different. Every song expresses a different emotion in the most subtle ways; it gives a different mood to every scene. It’s made up of a lot of different individual notes, each with a very distinct purpose.
Similarly, emotions and life—yours, mine—work the same exact way. One day you might feel melancholy and randomly sad; the next day you might feel unbelievably upbeat and optimistic about life. Yet every day remains its own day—it brings its own set of challenges; and its own set of triumphs. Each day and what comes with it is distinctly set apart for the exact moment you are living.
And really, that’s the magic about it all—any given song; any given day—once you understand what you’re hearing, you really understand what you are feeling as a song progresses. It could be a high crescendo (when a certain note or part of the song gets louder) of euphoria or a stinging staccato (when a note is sharply hit or separated from every other note) of rage—once you get what you’re listening to, the whole context of a song gets a little more clear.
Put your emotions and your days into a similar perspective. Every day you hear a new note; a new section, and at first listen you don’t get entirely why it is relevant to the whole. But one note or section of an entire song does not a whole song make!
Creating your score
We all want to make life something worthwhile, right? We want that next promotion; we want first place; we want the best outcome for ourselves and our loved ones. Although you and I aren’t always guaranteed those things, there is an opportunity that still comes out of striving for good, whether we achieve them or not. We fit all the notes together, piece by piece, beat by beat, and slowly start flowing them together.
We create our own scores. Our own masterpieces of emotions and achievements.
In an interview with Vulture, Michael Giacchino—composer of music for such amazing films like: Up, The Incredibles, and Super 8, he says this:
“Take it feeling by feeling. It’s a very emotional process for me. Whatever I put down, I want it to be a reflection of whatever I felt at that moment.”
Creating your own score for your movie, known as “Your Life”, is a long, emotional process. It takes time to sift through your thoughts and ambitions; your fears and failures; and even your successes. It takes multiple drafts of notes upon notes, and varying degrees of moods to craft a finished product. But you have the opportunity to shape the notes on your sheet of music—you can run with the flow of it.
Don’t feel ashamed that your score might be rough now, or hasn’t even gotten close to the finished product. Keep yourself motivated to let the writing process work! Because, as Clara Schumann said,
“There is nothing greater than the joy of composing something oneself and then listening to it.”
The art of improvising
The last, quick thing I wanted to note is this: don’t be afraid of improvisation. Really. Some of the freshest tunes in jazz, and the most beautiful sounding pieces came from people screwing around and improvising! In all this talk about composing your own life scores, you should keep in mind that spontaneity can bring about some of the greatest moments. You can try to plan or structure how things will work all you want—but sometimes a little improvisation makes it a whole lot richer to the ears, and to the heart.
Each one of us has an epic piece of music.
And although they may all be different, we all have a tune that lives inside of us and is being actively written and rewritten every moment.
Written by: Michael “Bboy Roach1” Roach