Everything I know, I learned from The Sound of Music

Maria-the-sound-of-music-28956364-1024-768A very good friend recently gave me a very good present: a 2-CD set called Fabulous Musicals.

I have an older car with nothing but a CD player, so I do that old-fashioned thing of listening to a set of songs in a designated order.

This burnt CD didn’t have a song list – it was just a surprise. And when I heard the first tentative and unmistakable notes of the Sound of Music, I was delighted.

I still remember the first time I saw that movie, aged 5, when I was trying so hard to stay up til the end (it’s a long movie when you’re that old). It was a revelation, and I have been hooked ever since.

When I was in the car, singing along at the top of my voice, I realised that Rodgers & Hammerstein had been schooling me in the lessons of life for a long time. In fact, Fraulein Maria and friends had taught me many things before I ever realised it. Here are some highlights:

Fake it til you make it – The song ‘I have confidence‘ is an anthem for this approach to life. When things are scary and you have no idea what you’re doing, sometimes the only solution is to decide that “They’ll have to agree / I have confidence in me”. It’s worked for me plenty of times. Just don’t tell my clients.

“When the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window”. Maybe you planned to be a nun, and were really bad at it. Maybe you planned to live a life of military order and marry a baroness, but you meet a young, musical governess and become a singing sensation. The thing is, life gets in the way of your plans, and the only thing to do is make the most of it.

Beware of men making pie-crust promises. It’s actually another Julie Andrews character, Mary Poppins, who explains that a pie-crust promise is easily made, easily broken. So, when Rolf promises Liesel he will look after her (you know, because he is 17 going on 18), it’s a bold call. Turns out he doesn’t look after her, but betrays her family to the Nazis. Bastard.

Haters gonna hate. In the song ‘How do you solve a problem like Maria‘, four nuns share their views on Maria. One thinks she’s a ‘darling’, one thinks she’s a ‘demon’, and another a ‘lamb’. That song is proof that the qualities some people love about you (a tendency to sing in the abbey, for instance), are irritating to others. You can’t spend too much time on the latter –  you just need to find your people – you know, the ones who spend all day singing songs in the mountains and making puppet shows with yodelling characters.

That’s what Maria did, and she managed to bag herself a millionaire naval captain. Unfortunately, he came with seven children and needed to flee the country. But hey, you win some, you lose some. The important thing is to keep climbing ev’ry mountain, ’til you find your dream.

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  1. Yay, that’s how I feel about Gladiator!

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