Some days I question my choice to become a music therapist. Like anyone else, I have my days of doubt. Will it be a fulfilling, enjoyable, and lucrative career? Will this path make me content? Will I be able to help people as much and as well as I have always dreamt of? The fears, questions, and doubts are bound to cross my mind. Especially as I near my graduation year (I am hoping to graduate the summer of 2014...) However, if I needed reassurance that I was on the right path, I suppose traveling would be the best way of being reminded of why I chose music therapy. I first noticed it upon my visit to Amsterdam this past summer. I was wandering alone most of the time, until I came across a broken guitar with the name 'Jordi' written on it. As I explored the beautiful city carrying my newly attained catastrophe of a guitar, several people asked me about the poor creature. All of which were immediately friendly, as they are when they see you carrying a puppy. This was simply a destroyed instrument, though! One young man was particularly intrigued by the disgruntled guitar and asked if I would like help in fixing it up. Unfortunately, the end of this story results in the guitar never being repaired. The upside, however, is that this English fellow and his traveling bandmates took me in immediately as one of their own. We walked the streets creating a following of other musicians ranging from Sweden to Philadelphia and beyond. We played music for change and enjoyed the warm summer nights.
As my next semester of college approaches, I am once again faced with the contemplation of my future and all the doubts that I previously had. This time my love for music therapy is reaffirmed during my journey south. I am now in a hostel in Atlanta, Georgia. My traveling companion and myself are somewhat of the odd men out and feeling rather like outcasts. Fortunately, last night something shifted slightly. As I drummed on the table a little ditty, a guy from across the table jokingly commented on my musical "talent". This remark began a conversation that was rather brief but it was camaraderie nonetheless and it was very welcome. The young German traveler was very friendly and while he did mention he would be heading back home the very next day, a new friend was certainly welcome and we both agreed we were hoping to cross paths once more before he left the country. There is no language or culture that surpasses the communicability of rhythm and beat. It simply pieces nations together and unites all.
Music is the "one love" Bob Marley spoke of, it is the "all together now" the Beatles dreamt of, and the "cum on feel the noize" Slade demanded. When we are seeking something to fall in love with, music is the beating drum of passion.
Wandering around today, my travel companion and I came across a venue with a concert and we decided to check it out, no matter the genre, the crowd, or the talent. Turned out to be an amazing show with a great crowd and we had a really fun time. It was not the late night spontaneity that attracted us but the draw of the vibrations. The vibes we all speak of but never quite know how to encounter.
What about therapy, though? Where does that portion of "music therapy" come into play? The real question is, how can you lack therapy through music? The moment a vibration occurs in such a manner in order to produce a sound from one's skin, one's bone, one's being to an instrument constructed from wood, nature at its purest, there is a new life. A new universe within the nanosecond it took to create. There is life in that vibration, it moves through the air and enters you and changes you. Whether it is your mood, your attitude, your opinion, or simply your walking pace, it envelopes you and even when you turn it off, there is something stuck within you. This is why songs get stuck in our heads, because music dives under our skin and sucks at us like a leech, ridding of impurities and thoughts we can't escape. This is what therapy is, this is how we heal and thrive and cope.
Music: A Beautiful Thing.