My dad couldn't always remember my name, but he could sing every word of "The Blue Skirt Waltz." When he danced with his youngest granddaughter to Frankie Yankovic, the effects of his dementia disappeared into a polka beat.
Rather than focusing on creating a set of resolutions or goals, choose one thing that you'd like to do differently or change about your life. Picking -- and sticking to -- one goal is easier than five or six.
Sadly, for many of these students and adults, our automatic tendency is to view them by their limitations. As a music therapist, I have the privilege to bring music and creative activities to individuals who don't typically get to experience them.
From the beginning of our time together, Isabel moved my heart deeply. Without spoken language, she communicated through her eyes, the slight lifting of the corner of her mouth to form a little smile, and with movements of her tiny fingers.
It turns out that we all have a lived experience of mental illness touching our lives, whether it is personally or though someone we love. It is in the courage to share our journeys that we are able to transform our pain and our struggle into a blessing, a human connection, and a shared path.
Music is a language of energy, a "vibe" of emotions and joy. It speaks to our core desires and feelings. It spans language barriers and political borders, making it a powerful means through which humans can connect.
The first thing I noticed when I entered her West Hollywood studio was the poster of Bjork's Vespertine album cover filigreeing in the kitchen. This poster told me a lot about her as personal Bjork preferences reveal everything about one's character.
Fortunately, you don't have to be a physician, scientist, memory care specialist, or music therapist to make meaningful connections through music. So dust off that piano or CD player, or better yet, warm up your voice and start singing!