Quote of the Day: Music…accesses both sides of the brain – the analytical left side and the emotional right side – and forces a connection. (p. 139)
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.
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?
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I’ve been wanting to read this book for some time. I’m a fan of Jodi’s work, but find that every book seems to follow the exact same formula. I try not to read them in a row if I can help it for that reason. But I can’t wait to get my hands on this. I really want to see how a non-musician handles writing a musician. Being a musician and writer myself, I’m really really fascinated with the connection! :o)
One of the first adults to truly see me, and love me, was the children’s choir director at church. I couldn’t carry a tune, but she worked with me until I could match my voice to the sound I heard. Being able to sing in the choir meant a lot to me, a sign of being loved, and being able to sing what was in my heart.
i have no idea what my true calling is because I can’t see past the end of my nose. 🙂
Music is healing and uplifting. It is amazing what music does for people.
I think you have found your true calling!
My nephew is autistic and I wonder if they have tried to use music therapy with him at all. Thanks for this article. :O)
You are clearly doing work you were meant to do. I sing in a trio and we go to nursing homes and retirement communities. It is such a gift, both to the community and to us. Music is so healing.
This is an amazing vision for you to make come true. Together with your talent and your understanding of human nature, this is surely your path in life.
I love the idea that art is a way for *every*one to communicate. Very inspiring post, Mary. 🙂
Mary–I so agree with the comments above–You appear to be living your calling (or at least on the road to it!) I did have to “gasp” a bit when I read your blog, as I had just asked my husband (about 30 minutes ago) about people living “their call” or if just living life–their call? Hmmm…Yesterday you wore your “pink” shirt and I wrote “To pink or not” and today you write on calling. I wonder what tomorrow will bring…:)
PS. I think it would be so awesome for you and JeMA to make your dream a reality!
Hey! It’s me..what a lovely post..it made me think! you are most certainly a music therapist..look at those kids and the people in the background..marvelous.
I am in a place, one I never thought I would be, I am sure it is pulling me forward..but do I really want to go..how do you not follow when you have all kinds of “signs” possibly from GOD that he wants you where you are. I just took this out of retirement job for the summer, it ends in the Fall..but they may want me back next year..I am torn..oh well I will pray more:)
That is some really neat stuff you are doing…it seems you are blessing others and growing your talents — what could be better in life?
Great quote about music.
I wish I could play an instrument properly. I’m just a very bad drummer, but it’s great fun >:)
Cold As Heaven
Your blog post ties in so many different areas of creative therapy. What great affirmations from your readers about finding your passion (I tend to agree)!
I am living my passion, full-time artist, living in an RV with my family. I do struggle with the balance, finding time for painting vs. time for living!
I have seen you as a music therapist since the day I started reading your blog. I have no doubt, you have that special gift of connecting with people. You are a good soul!
Please, pursue your project. I think you will do great. You may also consider some kind of music therapy project that you can submit to government or non-government agencies for a grant perhaps. The project may include visits to elderly in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, dementia units, etc. Music is powerful.