Music educators are faced with many challenges in their career, but one of the hardest decisions a musician of any kind can make is to give up performing their instrument to teach others the joys of playing music. The idea of quitting your “day job” to follow your dreams is something that seems easier said than done, but what would happen if your life just stopped, and you hadn’t done the things you loved? The movie “Soul” from Disney’s Pixar captures the importance of spending your life pursuing your dreams and finding your purpose.
The movie starts off with middle school band teacher Joe Gardner directing his band students as they struggle getting through a jazz piece. After a rough few seconds of rehearsal, the principal interrupts Joe to offer him a full time teaching position, which Joe feels reluctant about accepting. Joe later gets an opportunity to play with one of his musician idols, Dorothea Williams, and is so distracted by his excitement, he accidentally walks into a hole from a construction site. From then on, Joe finds himself in another realm called “the great beyond and youth seminar” and while trying to return back to earth, ends up learning what it means to have a purpose in life.
Disney uses warm tones in scenes that take place on earth and light pastels when entering the other realm, giving the film a dynamic color story. It is also clear throughout the movie that each character has their own style of movement and uses their way of moving even when they are taking the place of another character (yes, characters do switch bodies). Another notable aspect to the movie is the soundtrack. The movie has a nice variety in musical selection, and the jazz scenes really stand out.
Disney also brings more attention to difficult social areas such as the life of a working class Black family and the hardships of being a musician and educator. The topics that come up throughout the movie not only create a more relatable story line for its audience, but shine a light on the difficulties those people face daily. The movie does a great job at showing how difficult pursuing a dream may be, but when a person is passionate about it, the money will soon follow.
The movie “Soul” has now become a movie I will one day proudly watch with my kids as I teach them the importance of following their dreams. Though the movie touches on heavier subjects, it fills in the cracks with simple humor that is sure to make any child and adult laugh. My favorite scene from the movie is undoubtedly when a counselor from “the great beyond” realm is calming down their students using a dog-shaped hand signal and calls out “quiet coyote.” This movie will inspire you to pursue your dreams and accomplish goals while also motivating you in your day-to-day life. “Soul” can be found on Disney+ for all subscribers to watch.