I've always thought music went with storytelling like peanut butter went with jelly. This thought goes way back to my childhood.
When my brother and I carried out grand battles with G.I. Joe, both of us would make our own soundtrack to increase the drama in our "battles."
As I got older, I realized not only was music important for the imagination, but it was also a crucial part of movies. When I was in middle school, I saw a special on PBS where a group was recognizing the great composer, John Williams. His music is heard in everything from major motion pictures to commercials to bands at football games. This program I watched was fantastic because it showed an entire scene of "Jaws" without the music.
I still remember the scene.
If you have seen the movie, it was when the shark was approaching the Orca and Quint was out on the bow ready to fire a barrel. Hooper was late tying the barrel. Just in time, he tied off the barrel and Quint fired at the shark. Without music, this scene had little drama and lost some of its power. Then, the program replayed the scene with John Williams conducting the music live on stage as the scene played out on a screen behind him.
It was simply magic. The scene had drama, impending doom, and excitement. I couldn't believe the difference! Soon, I wanted to get my hands on every soundtrack I could. I started noticing the difference music made in the movie and storytelling experience. I could even recall the scenes being played out while listening to the music. Some of my friends thought I was weird. I didn't care. I still don't. These days, I buy soundtracks more than any other type of music.
Listening to music while I am driving still makes me conjure up stories inside my head. This method works with all different kinds of music. Many of the scenes in Star Runners were inspired because of certain songs. I still replay those scenes in my head whenever I hear these songs.
When I was in college, my mentor encouraged all of us to listen to music as we sat down to write. I still do this most of the time, and the right music can sweep me away to another place in a heartbeat.
So if you've had a bad day, I encourage you to close your eyes and pop in a soundtrack.