As a music teacher, you probably know how hard it is to get your students motivated to keep
practicing. While parents may push and you may do all you can to encourage, sometimes it just isn’t
enough to get them going. Whenever I’m looking for a good dose of practicing inspiration, I watch a
movie. Here are a few of my favorite movies featuring musicians as protagonists:
1. The Legend of 1900
In this movie based originally on an Italian novel, Tim Roth plays an orphaned piano prodigy who is
born on a cruise ship, where he plays the piano for the ship’s guests. Known only as 1900, the pianist
struggles leaving the ship, being consumed for his love of music and fearful of the world beyond it.
Perhaps the most invigorating part of the movie is where he challenges Jelly Roll Morton to a piano
duel aboard the luxury ocean liner.
2. August Rush
Although not necessarily a critical success, this movie is a surefire heartwarming tear-jerker, and it’s
a great experience for younger kids especially. The movie tells the tale of an orphaned boy who goes
in search of his parents. As the movie progresses, young August discovers a latent musical talent. He
eventually enrolls at Julliard, where he thrives. At the end of the movie, the boy is reunited with his
parents who are also musicians.
Shine, a classic Academy Award winning film starring Geoffrey Rush, tells the true story of Australian
piano prodigy David Helfgott and his struggles with schizoaffective disorder. The movie documents
Helfgott’s stormy relationship with his father and continues through his acceptance into the Royal
College of Music, where he further refines his talents. Eventually, Helfgott has a mental breakdown,
spending much of his time in institutions. Finally, Helfgott makes a concert comeback, demonstrating
the persistence of his love of music to overcome all odds.
4. The Soloist
Another movie based on a true story, the Soloist details the relationship between an L.A. news
reporter, Steve Lopez, and a homeless musician, Nathaniel Ayers. Ayers is a former Julliard student,
where he studied the cello, before dropping out after struggling with mental illness. Living on the
streets, Ayers continues playing for the love of his music and eventually befriends Lopez who is
determined to tell his story and get him off the streets.
These are only a handful of inspiring movies featuring musicians. In their own way, they each serve
as a reminder of why we continue with our music in the first place, despite the struggles of practice
because it brings both the player and listener joy, because it enables us to access a world that exists
beyond our daily reality.
This guest post is contributed by Alvina Lopez, who writes on the topics of accredited online
colleges . She welcomes your comments at her email Id: alvina.lopez @gmail.com.