I grew up as a military brat.
As the son of a Marine, I moved around a lot. When I moved to Florida in 1995 as a 25 year old, I had moved 26 times. I went to four different high schools in three different countries and from 1980-1983; I attended three elementary schools and a middle school in four different cities.
Many times I changed schools in the middle of the year. I had to learn how to leave good friends behind and how to find my place in a jungle of social groups that had already filled their membership quotas. It was often times difficult and lonely. But throughout every move, every goodbye and every nervous hello, I had a best friend with me that always had my back: music.
For many people, like my wife, they have what she likes to call a “moosh box”. A moosh box is container filled with scrapbooks, photo albums, and a multitude of mementos from her childhood. In hers, she has drawings she made, poems she wrote, homework assignments’ from the fourth grade and an assortment of ticket stubs and photos that chronicle her early life. It is AMAZING. She has created the same thing for each of our children and I hope someday they too will open it up and reminisce. Sadly, I do not have a moosh box.
As a kid growing up in a military family, I had to learn the art of “Memento Prioritization”. Every time I moved, I had to select the most important things to take to our next station. This was mostly due to the fact that Marine Corps put a weight requirement on our belongings. So every year and a half (on average), my family and I would weed out furniture, clothes, toys and mementos of low importance to take with us to our next station. Sometimes, even stuff you really wanted to save did not survive the move due to breakage or loss. As you can imagine, after years and years of this, things disappear. Those items that were easy to carry and built to stand the punishment of military life are what made the cut. One thing that was always in my “keep” box: music.
So as I moved from town to town, base-to-base, music became the thing that kept me grounded. It helped me remember the friends and times I just left and many times it was the one thing that instantly bonded me to new friends. Music was also the thing that drove us military kids. We longed for new people to come to school because with them, they brought new music. It is no wonder why music is such a powerful force in my life.
In a sense, music is my moosh box. It is the one thing I can turn to that instantly lets me remember where I was, who I was with and what I was doing. Which leads me to the purpose my post today: myaudiobio.com.
MyAudioBio.com is an awesome site I was recently turned on to by a friend of mine. The site gives users the ability to create a soundtrack for their life. Well that isn’t exactly true. What it does is allow people to tell stories about their life and relate them to a piece of music. You can see one of mine here…http://myaudiobio.com/stories/story/id/425.
The site was created by musician Dan Morris who hatched the idea one day while driving in the car one day listening to music. On the about page, Dan describes an influential scene from the movie High Fidelity, where John Cusack’s character shows his music collection organized autobiographically. The idea behind the site is so beautiful in its simplicity.
The more stories you add, the more robust your soundtrack becomes. And that is just the beginning. Exploring the site further, you can see if others have relationships with the music from your story. Clicking on the music brings up a list of stories. So through music, you can explore, discover and converse. In-line commenting allows you to leave and read comments about other’s stories. This makes the site even more enjoyable.
The design and user experience and the aesthetic are pretty straightforward. (Bonus points for a keen use of the color orange — I less-than-3 orange.) The process of associating a story to a song is very intuitive especially for those who can’t exactly remember the artist. It also has the ability to add images and videos to enhance your story. One very cool feature that I liked a lot was the ability to connect through Facebook and tag your friends in a story. This lets you share the story instantly with those involved and makes way for comments and the creation of even more stories.
There are a couple of enhancements I would like to make to the site such as the ability to purchase music directly from stories and a more story-focused homepage feature. The creative director in me would like to spend some time tightening up layout inconsistencies, font usage and content cleanliness, but I cannot deny the strength of the concept that takes sociability through music to a new level.
For everyone who has ever been transported back in time by a piece of music, this site is a great way for you to share your story. For lovers of music, I recommend taking a few minutes. Reading other people’s stories and seeing the music that influenced them is a great way to get reconnected to music you may have forgotten and open your eyes to new music you may want to explore and make new stories with.