Memories - An Article on How Songs Help You Write Your Life Story
a Chord for Memory"
Gilbert © 2004
have experienced this many times in your life. A song comes on the
radio or stereo and you are instantly transported back in time. For
some people the memories resurrected from a well-loved song are so
powerful that your senses participate. Again you see, hear, smell,
taste and even touch the time the song evokes.
all this happens probably has something to do with how our brains work,
but I'll leave that to the scientific community. All I know is music
can be a great way to help us reminisce. There are countless songs from
my past that always heighten my recall of days gone by. This is
especially true when the songs are about relationships and events that
speak specifically to our stories
next time you hear "Remember When"
by Alan Jackson, one of country music's biggest
artists, you'll walk back in time. How can you not?
when thirty seemed so old
Now lookin' back, it's just a steppin' stone
To where we are,
where we've been
Said we'd do it all again
song is sung over the backing of a softly strumming mandolin and the
bittersweet lyrics are as good a tug on heartstrings as you will find
from country music's vast collection of tear-jerkers. However, the song
is not maudlin. It's a tribute to a life lived with all its ups and
downs and the good and bad.
when old ones died and new were born
And life was changed, disassembled, rearranged
We came together, fell apart
And broke each other's hearts
Jackson sings of the full circle satisfaction that a long life of
marriage can bring.
when we said when we turned gray
When the children grow up and move away
We won't be sad, we'll be glad
For all the life we've had
And we'll remember when
and songwriters, just like writers and anyone answering the call of the
muses, understand the power of eliciting memory through verse and note.
Precisely because it activates our senses and memories in such a vivid
way is why you should consider songs an important part of your life
story process. Go through your CD's, tapes and even (gosh!) vinyl
records and just pulling out some of those old favorites will start
activating long dormant recollections. Make a list of your favorite
songs and then assemble them (CD, cassette, mp3) and go for a drive. I
guarantee this will help you discover more of the story you want to
course, music plays a bigger part in the lives of some than others.
I've spent most of my career involved in the radio industry and I make
no bones about the major motivation. I wanted to work where I could
play music I liked and I'm just not a good enough musician! So, being a
radio DJ was the next best thing.
doesn't matter whether the songs are by big band swing crooners, heavy
metal rockers, country twangers, classical pianists,
alternative-post-modern-grunge rock or contemporary pop hits. If the
music was, and is, part of your life, it's valid.
when you take just the lyrics you'll be surprised what the music genre
a fork stuck in the road.
grabs you by the wrist;
directs you where to go.
make the best of this test
and don't ask why.
not a question
but a lesson learned in time.
but in the end it's right.
I hope you had the time of your life.
you are familiar with Green Day, or maybe the TV
series Seinfeld which used the song for one of
their highlight episodes, you might attribute those lyrics to someone's
songs are all around us. You've got a great story to tell - you've
heard it from me before. Let the music take you there.
are places I'll remember
All my life though some have changed
Some forever not for better
Some have gone and some remain
All these places have their moments
With lovers and friends I still can recall
Some are dead and some are living
In my life I've loved them all
The Beatles "In My Life"
of the greatest joys I've had from playing music on the radio - or even
on the stereo and making tapes for friends - is taking a musical
journey. It's extremely rare for radio to have freedom like that
anymore, but there are still some of us who can "take you there". If
you want help finding songs that "take you back" feel free to drop me
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