I think music therapy happens in the most common places, like coffee shops. Some may think that I would think this because I spend most of my mornings, afternoons, and sometimes evenings in them and need to expand my horizons. This may be true, but I do follow or create a trail of my coffee shop cruising that often leads me to the Sound of Music as well.
Recently a Canadian Facebook Friend wrote that I need to share the images and music on my Facebook for friends to experience. Words, images, and the Sound of Music. Music therapy without the therapist, certification, and rules to follow. Today I did just that – posted a video from YouTube for the song Calling All Angels by Train, that was playing during my early morning coffee shop cruising field trip.
This afternoon I parked myself at the Salmon Creek Coffee Company and while I was editing photos, Kyle asked if I would mind if he played the piano. How perfect – something to add to my thoughts on music therapy! The baby grand piano was brought to the coffee shop yesterday by the local piano tuner, Jonathan Owens, who also happens to be a musician.
This coffee shop is a conduit, working some special magic for the communities in the Okanogan Valley. There’s a good representation of local products, services, art, and music here and it seems that anyone who can give a helping hand to make all this happen does. The music therapy element of this magic is organized by Lonnie and Teresa Good and coordinated with the coffee shop owner, Melanie Mills. They create and promote a weekly Singer-Songwriter showcase on Thursdays. The Good Duo recently brought in Peter, a local cinematographer to video tape the performances.
This is just one recipe for Unity in Community. The ingredients include, but are not limited to a coffee shop, owners of a recording studio, a cinematographer, a county chock-a-block full of musicians willing to play for tips, and members of the communities who come out on a Thursday night to enjoy the shows.
Music can also be therapy for the songwriters and musicians. While wandering my way from one coffee shop to another in Long Beach, California, I stumbled upon a coffee shop in a Senior Center which was open to the public. Inside I found a 8 or 9 piece band who played there every Wednesday from 9 am – 11 am and was led by a 92 year old man. In addition to the band, I met a few musicians and had the opportunity to talk to a 70-something man, Tommy, who talked to me a little bit about “Singin’ the Blues” and how the blues have changed over the years. Here’s a little bit from the conversation I had with him:
As Tommy stated, they were “living” what they were singing about. Music therapy.
Then there are the lyrics that speak to us. When Lonnie Good found out that I lived in southern Utah, he asked if I was familiar with the Mountain Meadow Massacre that happened in the area. He shared with me that his great-grandfather was one of very few that survived as a 6 month old baby. The pain of the story was so great that Lonnie found that writing a song about it was a healing exercise. Again, music becomes a form of therapy for us.
A sample of lyrics from his song:
Of course, lyrics are often healing for the listeners as much or more than the songwriters. One of my favorites is that of Amazing Grace, a song that not only has an incredible story behind it, but continues to be used in many different venues, from concerts to churches to recovery programs.
I think music itself is Amazing Grace.