Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Why Music??? part 4 Supporting Others

Thanks for visiting topics and conversations. Here I want to address music therapy issues and concepts as they relate to education, health and wellness.

This is part four of my blog posts where I will describe music therapy interactions I've had that are indicative of why music is so meaningful, enriching and sometimes life changing!

This music therapy session happened at our in-patient facility. I was visiting other patients there when the social worker said she had a special patient for me to visit. The patient named Brian, is a 59 year old with end stage lung cancer. The SW was excited for me to visit Brian because she saw the family bring in his guitar to the room, not really knowing if he would play it. Upon visiting, the family told me Brian had played for years and his children and grand children all grew up with him playing for fun and for special family events.

Now, in my music therapy experience it is common for accomplished musicians NOT to want music therapy because live music reminds them of when they were not ill. Although some musicians are inspired despite their illness, this was Brian. For this first visit there must have been twelve or more family members in the room, including his wife, her parents, Brian's two children and their spouses with their children (Brian's grand children), Brian's siblings, etc. Prior to me entering the room, his family also reported to me that “Brian's hasn't played or smiled for months...” And none of us knew how he would react to me or the prospect of playing guitar and singing together.

When I pulled out my guitar Brian's face lit up. He promptly asked his wife to get out his sheet music of songs, of which his wife and sister ended up excitedly organizing during the session. Brian situated his guitar on his lap (he was sitting up in his bed) as best he could and we played together and sang songs he knew, songs that I knew, all with Brian smiling ear to ear. And after each piece he had something enthusiastic to say about the song. As all the family members video taped and took pictures on their phones other relatives were remembering when Brian played this song or that at a family event, talk went to Brian and others' favorite bands, etc. Music and talk of music permeated the room. Wow, what a time...

So, "Why music??"... For normally functioning individuals with a music background, engaging in live music, (which is often) their life long love, provides at the very least, a positive reminiscence experience and positive diversion from emotional and physical pain. I think more importantly it provides, as in the case of Brian, a way to (again), in a patriarchal manner, share his gift of music with his family and to continue to create positive, uplifting memories; to engage in a “normal” activity apart from the stress of his illness; and importantly, to model for his children and grandchildren the importance of “living life” to the end, 
which is so hard for so many people.

In upcoming posts I will continue with other music therapy/health and wellness related blog posts. Also, I am very excited to get started recording my second music album targeted for child development, special needs and autism, coming out later this spring.

My prescription this week??? Again sing and dance with your family... play or try an instrument, write a song or rap lyric... And again, listen or play YOUR favorite music and enjoy!!!!

I want to let everyone know that my new site:, still very new, is in the process of producing more offerings. Right now there are three offerings, i.e., two music albums available, David's Basics in Education and Lyrical Imagery and one educational lecture titled The Purposeful Use of Music From Pregnancy Through Toddlerhood (including Labor and Delivery). The second album, Lyrical Imagery, and the childbirth lecture are a free download for a limited time.
As a reminder the main thrust of the music therapy/childbirth lecture is to support moms (and dads) as they put together their own music listening playlists or CDs to support rhythmic breathing, act as a positive diversion from pain and stress, etc., to be used during labor and delivery.
AND!!!! Please share with others, like us on Facebook  and follow us on Twitter ... Thanks