Please enjoy our story samples from "88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life" Volume 1. Please help support our musical mission and the causes we donate to by purchasing your copy of "88+ Ways" today at Amazon: 88+ Ways Music Can Change Your Life"
Music bridges generations. I remember being with my mother, and listening to the songs of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, George Gershwin and Rodgers and Hammerstein...and I was an acne ridden teenager just dying to play her the new Beatles album: "Revolver" which, by the way, she really liked. Throughout my life, there were many artists who influenced me with their music. In no particular order they include Django Rheindhart, Charlie Parker, Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, The Beatles, Stevie Wonder, The Stones, Robert Johnson, Maria Callas, Ray Charles, James Jamerson, Louis Armstrong, Buddy Rich, Otis Redding, Aretha Franklin, Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Buddy Guy, Jeff Beck and Frankie Miller.
Music has such a therapeutic effect on me and has helped me through many difficult times in my life. It is no secret, that in my early years, I struggled with addiction. In rehab, I was allowed to have a guitar, and as a form of therapy wrote several songs for the album "Seven Rays of Hope". This experience of expressing myself through these songs, helped me immensely with the healing process, and ultimately helped put my life back in the right direction.
One experience I will always remember, came some time ago, when I was in London participating in a drum clinic. It involved me talking about the drums and cymbals in my kit: explaining what each piece did and how the pieces worked together. The house lights were down and the stage was illuminated, so I couldn't really see the audience.
Whenever I banged a drum or tapped a cymbal, there was a clatter of clicks from somewhere in the back of the hall. It was kind of irritating, but was brief and not particularly intrusive, so I let it go. After my brief intro to the delights of the drum kit and drumming styles, I began to play a drum solo. I try to add light and shade to my solos. In the softer parts, I could once again hear a cacophony of clicks and bangs coming from the back of the hall. I gritted my teeth and played on, determined to chastise whoever was trying to disrupt me in my (brief) hour of glory. I came to the end of the solo and took a bow. The emcee thanked me and the audience clapped. Bizarrely, more clicks could be heard through the clapping.
Then, the lights went up. There, in the back of the hall, were about a dozen children in wheelchairs. They each had muscular dystrophy and, in their twisted hands, they held a pair of drumsticks. I jumped from the stage and began walking towards them, a lump forming in my throat. A lady walked towards me and thanked me for my lecture. She explained to me, that the children used drumming as a form of physical and mental therapy and hoped that their accompaniment didn't upset me in any way. I went to each child, and fighting back the tears, thanked them for coming.
I now work with teenagers battling addiction here in New York City. Through the power of music, I have seen kids who were sullen and uncooperative, transform over time, into happy participants... eager to pick up a tambourine or play a guitar or sing or provide lyrics.
Music has been my constant companion since I was a
child. It has offered me hope and comfort in difficult
times, has been a source of frustration and, more often
than not, a beacon of inspiration. There are many quotes
about the power of music, and here are two of my favorites:
"Where words fail, music speaks" by Hans Christian
Andersen and "Music from the soul can be heard by the
universe" by Lao Tzu.
-Simon Kirke (drummer for Bad Company and Free) , New York, New York - U.S.A. OfficialSimonKirke.com
But then I got a business career, and that was followed by having three children in three years. Yeah, life was really busy and I just couldn't fit music into my days.
Then she died.
I sat there, looking at her three grandchildren under the age of 5. They would never know their sweet grandmother and she would never see them grow up. I didn't know how to grieve. There wasn't a lot of time for that either.
That very night it started. Music and lyrics came to me while I was sleeping. It happened over and over again, often waking me up. Original music... I had never written original music before. I started to think I was cracking up. I decided to make a therapy appointment.
Although the therapist gave me validation for my sadness, I left without anything else that was very helpful. A friend of mine suggested I visit a producer friend of his, to try to make sense of the music I was hearing in the middle of the night.
Even though I still cried every morning, that was the beginning of my new life. I now had some place to "put" my emotions. I took the money set aside for therapy and booked studio time instead. That was 22 years ago. My mother's legacy? I love my musical life every single minute of every single day.
Not a day goes by when I don't imagine my mother's smiling face. I'm forever grateful to her for so many things. Even in passing, she is still with me, giving me a reason to wake up every day...to create music!
This story is dedicated to the lasting memory of
Beatrice Rapport Greenfield, always and forever, a dear
supporter of the arts!
-Bonnie Warren Plymouth Meeting, PA & Nashville, TN - U.S.A. BonnieWarren.com
A few years ago, I was asked to sing for terminally ill children at the Ronald McDonald house in New York. I readily agreed to do this, but honestly, I had trepidation from the moment they asked me. I knew the unforeseeable sadness that would overcome me once I saw the children's faces. I really admire the workers, volunteers, parents and anyone involved in helping terminally ill children on an ongoing basis. To me, I knew it would feel so heartbreaking to see these children and know they only have a short time remaining on this earth. To be strong is an understatement for the adults, but what I discovered was that the real strength comes from the kids themselves. As I entered the room where I was about to sing, I was truly surprised to see the beaming smiles on the children's faces, their laughter and chatter filling the space.
Music has long been lauded as therapy for the sick,
both physically and mentally. It heals in so many ways, but
it's not just for those on the receiving end; it's very often
just as healing for the giver too. Singing my music has
always been therapeutic for me. On that particular night,
thankfully, it kept me together before falling apart. There
were numerous times I just wanted to break down and cry.
But I asked myself, who am I to feel sorry for them?
Seeing their bright smiles looking back at me as I sang
was an irreplaceable joy for me. They sang along and
danced with me, as if absolutely nothing was wrong. One
very young girl in particular, her hair completely gone from
the chemo, had a giggle so adorable you just wanted to
squeeze her cute little cheeks. She immediately seemed
to latch on to me and connect to my music. I held her
hand and together we danced with such excitement.
Through her smiles, you never would have guessed the
pains she had endured in her few short years of life.
Though I was supposed to be the one offering these
children momentary happiness through music, they were
the ones who ultimately gave me hope. They not only
changed my life in that moment, but I carry it with me still
to this day. Sadly, shortly after I performed at the Ronald
McDonald House, the little girl with the adorable little
giggle passed away. The strength and fearlessness of this
child was greater than even the strongest, healthiest
person in the world. Music brought us together for just one
night, but I will forever be inspired to never give up
because of it.
-Jana Mashonee New York, New York - U.S.A. JanaMashonee.com