Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

Shop now open! Share your love of music and support Playlist for Life. Visit now.

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The right music

Your first record. Nursery rhymes. TV theme tunes. Karaoke. Musicals. Advertising jingles. Music lessons. The tunes your dad whistled. The record your child played again and again. The first dance at your wedding. Hymns. Religious songs. Football songs. Hobbies. Brassbands. Jitterbugging. The Brownies. Music from places you’ve been or the place that you came from. Music from places your family came from. 

Music is everywhere and part of all our lives. Your playlist is as unique as you are.

Tracking down the right tunes by exploring someone’s life story means becoming a Music Detective. It’s fun!

Think of a tune and try it out. Is there a response? If so, add it to the list. If not, move on. 

There’s no rush – you might be adding tunes months or even years after you start. 

Use our 100 Years Book, try our Spotify playlists or visit BBC Music Memories to help find the tunes. Here are some Music Detective tips to get you started.

memory bump

Age 10-30: The memory bump

Psychologists have proven that we create more memories between the ages of 10 and 30 than at any other time in our lives. Try tunes from this period in your life.


Inheritance tracks

Our playlists include tunes we inherit from other people. Who have been the important people in your life? When were their memory bumps? Did your parents sing you to sleep? What bands did your children like? What songs take you back to a sweetheart?

identity tracks

Identity tracks

Tunes can be associated with aspects of our deepest identity. Where you and your family are from shapes the music you grow up hearing – every Glaswegian knows the lullaby ‘Ally Bally’. Religion and faith songs may be important. Or perhaps there is music related to ‘the tribes’ we belong to: football teams, political parties, mods and rockers. Within the LGBT community, music has played an important part for many years. 

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Music stirs powerful emotions. Keep an eye out for ‘red flag’ songs that trigger unpleasant or unwanted feelings or memories, so you know to keep them off the playlist. Find out more under Use Music Safely.