Music Therapy is music without the ego. (p. 146)
- Jodi Picoult from her novel Sing You Home
Have you ever wondered if you're doing what you were born to do? Have you answered your true calling? Do you ever look at someone else's life/career, and think, that's what I really want to do? Or, are you one of the lucky ones who is doing exactly what your heart and abilities are calling you to do?
I just finished reading Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult. I loved it. I'll have to admit that I'd given up on reading Picoult's books because they're too gloomy for me. She a fantastic writer of realistic contemporary fiction, heavy on the realism. In fact, it is so real and raw that reading her books can feel like you've been watching the evening news for five days straight. I can't stay in a gloomy place that long. She writes about real people experiencing real life, and the way she has her characters interact is spot on.
So, I picked up the book with trepidation. But, it came highly recommended by my cousin Angie. In fact, she referred to it many times during our conversations about things we care about - aging, music, acceptance of all types of people, connections, relationships. And, I connected to the main character in the book right away. She's a music therapist. I kept thinking the whole time I was reading the book that I should have been a music therapist. And, as I read further, I thought of how I already do music therapy, but without the degree and official title.
I have kids come to my house every week to make music. I talk to them about music, what they like about playing, and I also talk to them about what is important in their lives - their pets, their families, other interests, friendships. I see them blossom as musicians and people. I watch them gain confidence.
Spring Recital at the assisted living center
If you've been reading my blog lately, you know that I play at an assistend living center about once a month, and during the summer I've brought the handful of students who are taking summer lessons with me. I see the sparkle of energy come out in both my students and their audience - especially in the memory care unit. Yesterday, I interviewed a woman for an article I'm writing for Her Voice on Alzheimer's disease. Her mom is in a facility, now, where she needs constant care for dementia. While she was sharing her story with me, and talking about her mom, she was also talking to me about what I could so as a musician to help ease the pain of these patients and their families who love them. What she emphasized is that you want your parent, or spouse or friends, to be taken care of by people who want to interact with them and show them love.
I have been talking with my sister Joy and dear friend JeMA about our vision of having an art center where we could teach, offer music and art therapy, and have original artwork and performances. We want a place that nurtures gifts and talents in ourselves and in others.
Do you know that when people don't have the ability to communicate verbally, they can still connect with others through art and music? They are another language, another way of expressing ourselves. I have also heard of therapy in theatre. I can imagine movement and expression, both verbal and non-verbal, create stimulation and connection.
Oh, the possibilities...
Journaling Prompt: What is your true calling? Are you doing it right now, or do you feel pulled in another direction, or further in the direction you're heading? What is it that gets your heart pumping and makes you want to try harder and be more?