It’s been a busy few weeks around here. Last week was spring break so I had the blessing of 3 boys hanging out with me. They are back in school this week which frees up my time but my it’s always startling to get back to the quiet after the house being full 24-7!
So, my husband and I were recently discussing the possibility of me going to a music conference. I had looked into several possibilities, and though he was very supportive, I decided not to go to any of them. I told him what I really wanted was to find a group of people that were doing what I’m doing- that’s who I want to go to a conference with. Here’s the problem- I’m not sure what I “do” yet! My interests with music are quite broad and fuzzy, and I know more about what I’m not than what I am! For now that’s a wonderful thing- it gives me a lot of room to explore and learn.
Funny enough, the timing of this conversation was the same week as a hospice training I had decided to attend. One of the areas that really interests me right now is music therapy. Though I’m not trained specifically as a music therapist, I can definitely volunteer as a musician through hospice to share music as a way of providing comfort. The first day of the training (there are 4 days total), as we went around the table and talked about why we had come to the training, I was struck by how similar our answers were. I was the young ‘un, for sure, but we all had a desire to nurture and bring peace and comfort to the others with the various gifts we’d been given. I immediately felt a kinship with these other women, and wondered if I had found “my people.”
During the training, one of the women recommended to me a video that I found that evening on Amazon Prime called “Alive Inside.” It’s all about how music affects us, particularly those struggling with Alzheimer’s. What an inspiring video! I highly recommend it if you haven’t seen it. Here is a portion of it. The full-length film is a little over an hour.
After viewing this movie and feeling excited about the impact I could have on the elderly through music, I ended up stumbling across this neat work: “Music is Medicine.”
So today I drove over to one of the nursing homes in town and gave them my business card and discussed the possibilities of how I could share my music there, and next week I’ll go into the Alzheimer’s unit and have a little music time with a few of the residents. I’m excited!
Sometimes I forget how powerful music is. Today was a good reminder.
“If you only try the things you believe you can do, you’ll only accomplish the things you already knew you could do. But if you give yourself permission to fail, you’re free to try the things that seem completely beyond your reach. And that’s when magic happens.”
Today I wanted to spend time writing music, but for some reason I was in a real “blah” type funk. Nothing in particular was going badly, I just couldn’t get myself motivated to write. So I decided to go on a run. Best idea I’ve had all day. The fresh air felt wonderful, and the snow had melted off my little trail that I like to run on (there’s a hill that I run up first that gives me a great burst of “I got this” right off the bat!). Don’t get any big ideas- I’m not training for a marathon or anything- I go about a mile. But it is just right for me.
Anyway- as I was running, I saw a man in his 60’s on a bike, and I saw that he rode into a driveway (presumably his driveway) that I was just about to run past. He wasn’t facing me when I looked over to say hello, so I kept running and assumed he would rather not interact. It took me by surprise when a moment later he called out,
“How’s your PMA?”
I turned to look at him (still running) with a confused look on my face.
“I don’t know what that means!” I called back, amused. (I think initially I thought he was going to say PMS and I was about to be really confused why a stranger would yell that out).
“Positive Mental Attitude!!” he explained with a smile.
Duh- I could have figured that one out.
“Oh! Great!” I yelled over my shoulder and gave him a thumbs up.
I don’t remember his reply, but I smiled as I ran on. First of all, what an awesome human being. It makes me want to go calling out “How’s your PMA?” to the next few strangers I pass :).
But besides that, it got me in a totally different frame of mind. PMA can do that, you know. And a run. So, stranger, how’s your PMA?
Today I found an interview which was posted online in 2010 by mormonartist.net and highlighted the musical career of Crawford Gates (my Grandfather). There was one quote that was particularly moving to me and I wanted to share it here. Grandad was an extremely talented musician, but even more than that, he was a man of faith. This quote shows how completely he “let go” and allowed God to work through him.
As a composer, with all eight hundred and seventy-four pieces, I had two prayers. I have an “empty-page prayer.” I look at the page, and I’ve got to fill it with beautiful music. Where is that going to come from? I don’t have beautiful music within me. It’s got to come from the Lord, but he is going to give it to me. So the empty-page prayer is a prayer of supplication: “Help me do something beautiful for this need.” And that was certainly true with Promised Valley, that was certainly true with the Hill Cumorah Pageant, and that was certainly true with Joseph! Joseph!.
Then there’s the second prayer: I got a page. The Lord has given it to me. I get on my knees next to my piano or next to my desk. “Thank you for this beautiful music. Thank you, Heavenly Father.”
Two prayers: “empty page,” “full page.” It’s been that way all my life. And it may not be just one prayer, or two prayers; it’s a week of prayers, or a month of prayers.