Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Awakening Memory Through Song

I'm a music teacher so it's probably not hard to believe that I have very strong memories tied to music. I think everyone experiences this to some degree. Think about it, you're driving along and a certain song comes on the radio, suddenly you're transported back in time, you just seem to remember a situation to the letter. I feel the the strongest connections to my emotions when I'm listening to music that is attached to a memory. Smell does it to some extent, for instance I love the smell of WIU's music building in the early Summer, it always reminds me of summer camp. Anyway, my point...here are a few songs that have been coming up recently and bringing up some intense feelings for me.

In the Shining of the Stars - Sheldon - This one means as much to me as the smell of Browne hall in June. I played this in JH concert band camp in between my 7th and 8th grade year. I was from a small school and band wasn't exactly the way to make you cool, in my junior high. As we played this great commissioned work at the concert, I realized I wasn't alone in my love of music. I was sad that the week was ending, but I made some friends that I still talk to today in that band in 1997. I'm playing it with my middle school band now at SIMS and every once they strike just the right balance and I feel like I've come full circle.

Love Song - Sara Bareilles - My second year teaching I was working for the El Paso-Gridley Schools. There was a pianist who we had kind of adopted into the drumline and convinced to stay on for concert band as well. I was fortunate that she was a kind girl and responded to our needs for a jazz pianist as well. I think she played this song every day at least twice in my room. She had just kind of picked it up and it always made me smile because it was so catchy and because I was glad she just wanted to play all the time. It came on tonight and prompted me to write this post.

Where the Streets Have No Name -  U2 - This is my ultimate confidence song. I put it on before I go into interviews, when I'm driving to school and need to gear up for a tough day, and when I'm just starting to feel like I'm not worthy. I keep it on a CD in my car at all times. It's just good karma. I listened to it the day I got my first job offer and the day I got the first job I took. I listen to it while I'm filling out graduate school applications. When I listen to the slow, humming intro in a suit and my Oakley sunglasses I truly believe I'm invincible.

Follow Your Heart - Urinetown - It's easy to have emotions attached to musicals and I like musicals so I'm sure I'll have a lot of those on here. This was the first big song I remember rehearsing with Jes, my fiancee, last Spring when CP did that show. It was my first bigger gig as a theater music director and it was Jes' first lead at players, the theater she had been singing at since she was in grade school. The reprise was actually the best part because she downstage right by the small combo pit I was conducting and she looked right into my eyes when she was singing. I'll never forget how that feels. I love hearing her sing, lucky me for marrying a vocal major huh?

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