I kept it together for the majority of my wedding. Throughout the ceremony, the vows, the speeches, and the first dance…no tears. But what got me was when ‘You’ve Got a Friend in Me’ started playing as my groomsman and I walked down the aisle. Tears came streaming out at the first note. Oftentimes it is music that pushes us over the emotional edge. Movie directors and composers play with our emotional heartstrings better than anyone else.
Students love movies and a fun exercise is to explore how music is used in movies to enhance our emotions. Here is Jurassic Park without music…kinda boring. The ultimate sign of emotion is a river of tears and it is usually music that triggers it. The following list of 8 movie scenes are sure to bring you to tears when the music starts playing:
1. Losing Wilson in Castaway
2. Final Scene, “So Long Partner” in Toy Story
3. Simba Begs his Dad Mufasa to Come Back to Life
4. Jack Dies in the Titanic
5. Pursuit of Happiness Bathroom Scene
6. Fox is Left in the Woods from Fox and Hound
7. Forest Gump’s Final Speech to Jenny’s Grave
8. Truman Crashes Into the Sky
- Select a few scenes from movies where the music is conveying victory, sadness, comedy, defeat
- What attributes make all the victorious music sound similar? What makes the sad music sound similar?
- What instruments are commonly used for happy music? What are used for sad music?
- John Williams Game: Listen to John Williams’ popular scores (Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Harry Potter, Superman, Jurassic Park, ET, Home Alone). Don’t all his melodies sound similar? Can you memorize them all? If someone else sings them, can you identify them?
- What movie music makes you feel happiest? The saddest?