I was watching Mr. Holland’s Opus tonight for what has to be at least the fiftieth time since I first saw it the weekend it was released (no, I’m not exaggerating). And I was reminded, via the above scene, what it was like to discover the magic of music for the first time. The scene above comes after Cole, Mr. Holland’s son, is insulted when his father assumes that (as a deaf child) he can’t possibly understand what music means to the hearing world.
The lengths his father then goes to in order to make amends and teach his son the same way he would teach other students, is touching (as is the performance of John Lennon’s “Beautiful Boy”). But what really rocked me out of my orbit tonight was seeing the scene after the concert, [after the 5:09 mark in the above video] when Cole is at home, raiding his father’s record collection, literally sitting on top of the hi-fi speakers so he can feel the vibrations of Ray Charles’ voice performing “I’ve Got A Woman.” The records are scattered all over the floor, as Cole sits there, grinning, as if to say “I get it! This is why you care so much about all this music!” And you can tell his father understands as well, just how much Cole was missing out because he was afraid to let him into that world.
It reminded me of being a teenager and going through that discovery process like we all go through. It’s why I spend so much of my spare time listening to anything I can get my hands on, then spending even more of that time writing about it so I can tell all of you out there what you haven’t heard — but what you should hear. Music is about exploration, and the moment you forget about that, you’re lost.
So it’s good to get a little reminder of what makes it so worthwhile.
It’s about the music.