Once there was a man who was struck by lightening and suddenly had an insatiable appetite for music.
Another man had the worst case of amnesia in recorded history but could still learn and play classical music on the piano.
A third man suffered from Parkinson's disease and could not even button up his own shirt...unless he was humming a tune that he knew from his youth.
These stories in Oliver Sacks' Musicophilia tell of the power of music.
I'm still in the process of finishing my short film. Post-production is the biggest pain in the rear for anyone who has absolutely no skills in it.
My friend Dave is helping me with the score.
I liked my rough cut even without the music. My Assistant Director, Director of Photography and my Editor were completely amazing and helped me get the shots I needed to make what I saw in my head.
Yet when Dave put music behind it...
Everything got better.
Earlier in the year I wrote a blog about how PIXAR can be tempted to do visually what bad after-school specials blatantly do audibly: they use their craft to tell you how to feel rather than the enhancing how the story feels.
Whether you agree with that or not isn't really the point. The point is that music is so...powerful.
Music is like nitrous oxide in the gas tank of a story. Put it in an empty tank and the tank might explode. But combine it with the gasoline of good storytelling and-- watch out-- your soul will soar, dive, weep, laugh, reflect, live in ways you didn't know was possible.
Music is like nuclear power: it can create unbelievable good and can be used for unbelievable harm (i.e. the Jonas Brothers).
Music not only adds to the stories we tell. Music adds to the stories we live. Like the man with Parkinson's who literally needs music to put on his clothes. Or the man who tragically cannot remember who his wife is but can find joy in Beethoven's 5th.
Music can be a healing balm, or water in a desert that helps parts of us grow that are too fragile to stand up on their own.
What is the music to your life? What's your soundtrack? And what parts of you do you keep hidden that only music gets to see?
Posted on Wed, February 17, 2010