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Sunday, October 5, 2008

Music Therapy

As previously mentioned, I am somewhat of a musician. I used to be more than that: in high school -- my busiest and most productive musical years, I was still taking piano lessons (which I ended up taking for a total of 13 years), I was in marching/concert band, pep band, and choir, and in my free time, I was teaching myself to play acoustic guitar, singing in the shower, and writing music of the sappy love song variety. A career in music was once the only kind of career I considered. More than anything, I wanted to be famous someday.

But then I went off to college and things changed. I sang in women's chorus (this picture was taken after our Christmas concert -- that's me, my grandmother, and my sister Sara), wrote one song, even played guitar in front of my theatre class for our stage fright project. But I never really immersed myself in it the way I had since I was too young to know better, and for the same reason I eventually left school, I left that part of my life -- maybe for good.

I have suffered from depression since I was 17. Back then I was able to combat it, or at least distract myself from it, with my hobby. When I graduated, I had no more busy schedule, no more routine, no more order. I fell apart.

I still battle with it, but sometimes I'm still able to forget about it for the time being. The smallest thing, like singing along to the radio in the car, can help lift my spirits for almost the whole day. And I'm not the only one who benefits: my son loves music of any kind, especially singing. My dad sometimes plays the guitar for him, and Adam just sits there, entranced.

When he gets a little older, we'll use music as a tool, for therapy, for memory, for entertainment. At now 10 months old, I'm still mostly singing to him just for fun. Working at a preschool helps me keep fresh songs in my head, like "Bringin' Home a Baby Bumblebee" and "Fudgie the Whale"*. And anytime Adam won't eat, I sing Raffi's "Apples and Bananas", which always makes him laugh; I just stick the spoon in his open mouth. :)

What songs do you like to sing to your kids, your partner, or to yourself?

This post was written for Parent Bloggers Network as an entry for a contest sponsored by Bush’s Beans.

*Here are the lyrics to "Fudgie the Whale" in case you're interested. I tried to find a link where you could actually hear the song, but the only one I found was a drunk Youtube video. Meh.

Oh, I'm a real big mammal,
I'm a great big whale.
I've got a chocolate head
And a chocolate tail.
I bought my car today
Because it was on sale.
And when they call for me,
They call me "Fudgie the Whale".
Fudgie... Fudgie... Fudgie the Whale!
Bop bop ba ba bop ba bop ba ba, yeah!

8 comments:

Amanda

Sometimes I wish that we were still in choir together....those were some of my fave times! Music is def. still a big part of my life. Andrew is amazed by my mass knowledge of music, songs and musicians. We love to sing silly songs in the car together and I love teaching him more about music!

kouji | haiku

over here, filipinos tend to love to sing. :) karaoke and videoke places tend to do well, and are all over the place. there's just something about singing that gladdens the heart.

Mel

Amanda: I was on Facebook to download that picture, and I got sidetracked. I realized how much I miss all my old friends, and how much I don't miss the people who weren't my friends. :)

Kouji: Music has always been one of my favorite ways to cheer up. When I still lived with my parents, playing the piano always made me feel better too. Can't wait to save up for my own!

kouji | haiku

ah. a piano. does bring back a lot of childhood memories. :)

Mel

Kouji: I know, right? Even when I didn't want to practice as a kid, I always felt happier after I did. Like everything was right with the world... definitely miss that.

Wayfaring Wanderer

You know, it's never too late to pick any of those things back up......this time, as a hobby.

I don't have a particular song that I sing, but I do have outbursts on occasions where the song sticks with me all day. Right now, I've got your love is lifting me higher in my head for some reason!

Wayfaring Wanderer

kouiji:

You're right about the Filipinos.
My Dad always makes me do karaoke when I go back home for visits.

Mel

Wayfaring Wanderer: I do want to get back into music. I just find it hard now with a baby and no piano (that was always my default instrument). And I have a tendency to hyperfocus on something and then all but abandon it -- the SCA and with it, sewing and knitting; City of Heroes; who knows: maybe blogging will go that way too.

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