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Magical Moments

Purple Rain

Shocked and saddened I was yesterday to hear the news about Prince.  I think I was in 7th or 8th grade when Purple Rain came out.  I have distinct memories of dancing around in my room, singing songs from his albums, and truly using his music as an avenue for growing up.  The movie was nothing less than a window into the adult world.  The prayerful tunes spoke to me.  The provocative songs intrigued me.  The rhythm and energy always moved me.  I loved Prince and although I did not closely follow his work, I always remained respectful his artistic choices and unswervable self-expression.    

Here’s to you Prince.  Thanks for being a part of the soundtrack of my life.

Who are some of the important voices in your life’s soundtrack?

Victoria Storm, MM, MT-BC

Making Music, Music Therapy

Inspiration Everywhere

A few years ago I made an intention to serve my community in a way that was unique to my talents. I was stressed by the many requests for volunteerism, for obligations to serve, for ways to be involved and engaged in relationship with friends and community.  I had to set a healthy limit that felt authentic to me, and allowed me to deepen these connections with others.  It was to honor and live a life within music.  That may seem obvious to those who know me personally, but that is only through the conscious effort to make that commitment a reality.  For example, someone asked me to lead the Brownie Troup for my daughter.  I turned down this request but committed to helping fulfill their music badge.  A leader in my religious organization asked me to lead an ensemble of singers for presentation at services – it was quite an artistic leap for this usual soloist but became a wonderful challenge I’ve embraced now for several seasons.  Living a life in the music is what I have come to understand is a formula for happiness for me.

It is from this place of balance and art making that I live my life.  Whether at the recent GLR Conference learning about other MT-BC’s research projects and clinical approaches, to visiting my relative at the piano in her healthcare facility, to sitting in a spring meadow with the awakened critters and insects, to riding my bike with my family, I hear and feel the music and its application in therapy.  Quantifying and qualifying the work as a professional behavioral health practitioner in music (formally call a board certified music therapist), to being a loving presence helping to stimulate brain functioning and enhance social connections through musical play and sharing, to listening to the rhythms of the natural world, I live IN the music.  As I write this, I’m even listening to recordings for rehearsal in my rock band, looking forward to the next time we get to play together.  Play together – now there’s a thought.  Living IN the music is my preferrend way to play with my friends.  Making life beautiful, playful, living in flow and in rhythm with others.  That’s my musical life.

Where is your passion?  What are you on this planet for that brings you joy? How are you making life meaningful?

Keep singing.img_0775

Magical Moments

Blogger blink

So, keeping a blog is quite a task, especially for someone like me who doesn’t want to be, well, a bother. There are so very many choices you can make with your time. Even when I was gigging regularly my inner narrative went something like this. “Hi, sorry to bother you, if you aren’t too busy and are looking for something to do on Saturday night, and feel like maybe possibly coming to hear me play, I’ll be at…” I marveled at those folks who could move in and out of circles with flyers in hand, spreading the word about their band. Self promotion has never been my thing. That’s why I find it so interesting that I get so fired up about music therapy and music education and helping families get the services they need. Here it is, early fall, and parents are getting their kids and loved ones signed up for services and classes. I write these long emails to parents in my practice about how what they are doing by having their kids in music is such a gift. It is really – so beneficial. I always say that in the absence of choir, band, or theater programs at my high school, I probably wouldn’t have shown up. So, welcome back to school, to the fall, to the crisp air and sense of possibility lingering. May your choices for how you spend your time be wise ones, but also allowing of some whimsy and playfulness. Grab onto your passions and let your voice be heard.

“Say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. Honestly, I wanna see you be brave!”    – Sara Bareilles.  http://youtu.be/mmendCu3Y2Q

 

Making Music

Happy Hearts for February

Although Feb 14 is the whopper of days for hugs and open hearts, it’s a tough one for many. In honor of February love feasts, I thought I’d share a little something that I find inspirational in the spirit of love and kindness that goes beyond romance and lands in the lap of supportive love. It’s recorded at a house concert last summer. It’s definitely on my top 10 of favs. Hope you like it.

Cyndy Lauper’s “True Colors” cover

Magical Moments, Music Therapy

Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down

There’s a little game I play with patients who are too ill or are too uncomfortable to interact fully to play or sing with me.

cohen-red

I call it “Thumbs Up, Thumbs Down”.  I’ve refined this over the last few years, choosing songs that are within the genre of their choice.  Today I helped a young teen get through some post surgery pain.  For her I played:

  1. – Yellow – Cold Play
  2. – Firework – Katy Perry
  3. – Just the Way You Are – Bruno Mars
  4. – Let it Be – The Beatles
  5. – Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison

Interesting combination – we chatted a little between songs when she wanted to share about the song.  This lead me to my next selections. I’m glad to report I got 5 thumbs up, which really meant to me that what I offered her gave her some relief.

In other sessions I have been lucky enough to sing someone to sleep who was previously in distress.  That is a great feeling to be able to bring some comfort to a person’s bedside.

Enjoy the music!

– Victoria

Magical Moments

Gratitude – A Daily Practice

Today, I am grateful for a quiet studio, good public education where the children in my "Desktop"community are safe, air conditioning (seriously), and the flexibility to develop my private practice in a manner that is good for myself, my family, my clients, and my students.  It is a true blessing and joy to be the architect of one’s life.

Thanks to all of you who have made it possible for me to share my talents with you with such authenticity, to explore the gifts we receive through music and it’s influences on our hearts.

Keep singing.

Making Music

Enjoying the gifts

As I’ve mentioned before, it has been a summer filled with making music.  As a music therapist, I talk about the need for self care with my clients all the time.  Well, I have been practicing what I preach by making time for my musician-self.

This past weekend was a great example of that. Saturday afternoon was summer music made outdoors while neighbors and friends gathered, Saturday night was a gig sharing the stage with some Chicago greats, and Sunday morning was sharing music in the spirit of quiet meditation.  Sunday afternoon I celebrated this by taking a nap and a long walk.  It was a wonderful, wonderful weekend.  Thanks to those friends, family and colleagues who shared it with me.

Namaste.

Magical Moments

Stopping, and starting

I stopped writing here more than 2 months ago.  Not on purpose to be sure, but more out of the need to focus in and take care of important business.  It has been an incredibly busy and lovely summer here at Oak Park Music Therapy with LOADS of music, new students, band performances, solo gigs, conference planning, running groups and individual sessions, and filling summer days with meaningful experiences – making memories.  I felt myself trip over the intention to write again, mostly out of the feeling that what I have to say may be of little importance to anyone else.  Maybe a little vacation-itis.  Isn’t that the case though in life, when we find ourselves stopping, and then restarting?  The key I think, is to remember to restart.  Whether that is taking guitar lessons as an adult, remembering to say thank you and I love you every single day, or stopping unhealthy habits and replacing them with healthy ones.

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Whatever you may have found you stopped doing lately, may you find your way back with a sense of purpose and determination.

Enjoy the moments of reflection.