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A Sublime Soundtrack Found in Music Therapy

Posted by on in Ideas in Music Education
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One of my favorite capabilities of music is it’s power to transport you to a certain time and place. Do you ever listen to a song and you are immediately reminded of where you were and what you were doing while it was playing? Over the years you develop your very own soundtrack to your life. To this day, when I hear Sublime’s “What I Got,” I am taken back to my first car……a teal ’92 Hyndaui S’coupe that shot smoke out the back every time I turned the key in the ignition.  I can still smell it, still feel the sun shining through windows as popped it my Sublime cassette tape. (Yes, CASSETTE TAPE!) The music brings me back that feeling of freedom, as a new driver with nothing but possibilities in front of you. 


Songs become associated with moments in time and they run the gamut of emotions. From the good times to the bad, the songs are there bearing witness to your life. “We Are the Champions” by Queen cheered me on in triumphant times and the album Little Earthquakes by Tori Amos got me through the sad times. (Most effective when played through several times on repeat.)

As a music teacher, sometimes we even develop a love/hate relationship with a song. For example, working towards a district wide concert where the finale song was a collaborative effort of 20 different schools that I got to travel to, I knew I had selected the perfect song! However after singing the lyrics and teaching the choreography to a few hundred students for over a month I was calling it something else. Until we performed it all together…..because then it was absolutely PERFECT! The students and teachers all fondly remember the concert we worked so hard towards every time we hear “We Are” by Keke Palmer.

I encourage you to take a few moments to consider your own soundtrack. Make a list of the songs that hold great meaning to you.  Maybe ask your students to do the same. Add the songs to a playlist for a day when you need a morale boost or are feeling nostalgic. I listen to my playlist from time to time in the car, and though my teenage years are far in the rearview mirror I can still feel the sunshine even on the cloudiest of days.

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  • John Mitrano Sunday, 10 August 2014

    "Sublime style still straight from Long Beach..." Awesome song.
    You're so right! It's amazing how much a song can do so many years later. I think a great example of this that I still hear on the classic rock stations is "More Than A Feeling" - a nostalgic song about a nostalgic song!
    Everyone should make their own "feelgood" mix - instant sonic therapy! What a great idea...

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