May 24, 2022

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Music in Medicine: Give of your musical gifts to help others | Health

Your ability is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift to God.

I walk into the lady’s room. She is not aware of my presence, even after I quietly introduce myself.

She is in agony. The pain is evident in her groans and the grimaces on her face and in her tortured movement of her legs.

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I begin to play gentle, soothing music. Gradually, her groans quiet, then cease. She isn’t moving her legs as much, and her face muscles begin to relax. With a little more music, she stops the groaning entirely. Her legs lie still.

And then she begins to breathe heavily and regularly. A quiet snore begins.

Imagine having the ability to help someone like this. How would it make you feel? It makes me feel like a million bucks. It makes me so grateful that I am able to help people with my music.

I would like to suggest that you may have everything it takes to follow in my humble footsteps. The rewards to you and to those you help would be immense.

Please consider joining me and our trained therapeutic musicians in providing this valuable service. It would be a gift, not only to yourself, but to others. And as the Dalai Lama knows, the more you give of yourself, the more you have to give. This is the Dalai Lama’s recipe for happiness — giving of yourself.

I’m focusing on giving in this column since it is the holiday season when giving is traditional. I’d like to suggest that one way to offer your kindness to others is through music.

If you are a regular reader of my column, you know how beneficial therapeutic music is to others. Whether someone is depressed, struggling with pain or anxiety, experiencing erratic heart beats or making the final transition to the great beyond, music helps.

I would like to encourage you to consider joining us as a therapeutic musician. You don’t have to be a concert pianist, or a musical wonder. An intermediate musician can succeed beautifully at this trade, as long he or she has a desire to serve. And this gets back to giving.

If you have the time to devote to others, are looking for a way to help others, this may be just the pathway you have been looking for. The training itself takes about a year.

The journey is an eye opener; at least it was for me. New horizons may open for you, too.

Training to become a therapeutic musician can expand your thinking about how to connect with people. You may become more empathetic. You may learn how to live in the moment. You may learn how to avoid being judgmental. And you will be reminded how important it is to put the interests of others above your own.

These are all attributes you mother taught you, but perhaps this will be an opportunity for you to hone those skills. Then, you will put all this into practice and help others.

Every time I play, I wonder who is receiving the better gift, me or the patient. It is true that the more I give away my music, the happier I am. The giving is not all altruistic.

So consider: This holiday season you can go out and buy more gifts that may or may not mean anything to anybody. Or you can gear up to really give something of meaning — your desire to help others, to give back.

Music in Medicine Inc. provides full scholarships to local musicians who want to serve others with their music. Many instruments are appropriate: woodwinds, strings, piano, guitar, dulcimer and voice — brass and percussion not so much.

Our local community has been very generous, and we have the resources to train several more local musicians. Look into your heart. If this is right for you, contact us.

Adele Jacobson heads the nonprofit organization Music in Medicine. For more information about the group and its mission, email [email protected] The website is