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Music therapy

I’m not a music therapist, and I don’t play one on tv. So I have no formal background here, just experience…

I wrote a few weeks ago about the fact that music has been helpful for my husband in getting him out to exercise. He’s found that new music with no connotations or memories attached helps him clear his mind and enjoy walking. That has continued to be the case, and I’m thankful.

My own “music therapy” is different. I’ve long had strong feelings about what music I need to listen to at any given time. Sometimes it’s based on what I’m doing (Nora Jones for writing lesson plans, Scott Joplin for cleaning the kitchen, lately Group Love for driving). Other times I’m pulled very strongly to certain music to help me through certain emotions. Excited about an upcoming trip? B-52’s. Out of sorts from paying bills? Soundtrack from “Emma,” “Pride and Prejudice,” or “A Room With a View.”

Singing at state solo and ensemble under adversity - broken piano and grumpy judge.

Singing at state solo and ensemble under adversity – broken piano and grumpy judge.

Recently I’m spending a lot of time listening to a very special set of CD’s we’ve collected over the last eight years. They consist of the recordings of concerts and festival performances our kids were privileged to participate in, including 7 years of all-state orchestra and/or choir and state large group ensemble contests. These are performances for which we heard endless rehearsing at home, for which we drove our kids many miles for auditions, which we heard live, and which still have the power to make me cry every darned time I listen. Especially when I get to the pieces in which they had solos. Priceless. With the clock ticking down much too rapidly toward The Big Leave, this large body of works helps me express my sorrow that those years are over, my joy in knowing that they receive such joy from music, my anticipation of more performances to come. It’s all there.
That's the boy, under the sign that looks like it's going to fall and slice his head in two.

That’s the boy, under the sign that looks like it’s going to fall and slice his head in two.

I find myself wondering what we’ll play as we drive the many miles to the new schools, what we’ll listen to while we’re building a whole bedroom full of furniture. I’ll be thinking long and hard about what music I’ll need to have along to get me through the long drives home, kid-free.

Through it all I’ll be checking in with our younger daughter, who, while we’re gone, will be getting all her new choir music for the new semester. She’ll tell me all about it and I can start looking forward to her first concert of the year. I’ll bug our son until he texts me back about his first lessons with his new vocal professor, his concert and recital schedule, and the first opera he’ll be auditioning for. Before long, our oldest can call us with details about her grad school orchestra audition (and probably quite a few details about her first round bio lab, which I will probably not understand).

The oldest and her viola, Chester.

The oldest and her viola, Chester.

Music will play an enormous role in getting me through this transition.



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