By Paul Roberts
Special to The PREVIEW
Join musician and music therapist Paul Roberts for a free hand drumming class at the Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse on Tuesday, Nov. 21, at noon.
The class offers a welcoming environment that encourages fun, creativity, playfulness and connecting with others. Hand drums are provided for those who don’t have one. Even participants who have no experience playing a musical instrument can immediately get into the groove.
Working with people at the end of their tether, I developed an appreciation for how music can engage us in ways that enhance personal health. Ronnie was the lead singer in one of my bands at McLean Hospital, a psychiatric institution. On her ward, they couldn’t give her enough medication in order to calm her down. But when she showed up for band practice, she always seemed to be in a state of equanimity, as if an electrical circuit had been switched in her brain.
“For me, it’s the easiest kind of communication there is,” she said. “It gives me an outlet for my emotional buildup, which I am having trouble expressing in other forms. Music is a great release for me. When I please myself musically, then I please myself all around. I feel creative when I’m doing music. Right now I don’t feel very creative or spontaneous, as far as people go. I’m depressed and, as a result of it, I don’t feel the spontaneity that you do when you’re not. But in music, it’s almost as if I’m normal. I’m not sick when I play music. It’s a realm that’s beyond sickness, so it’s marvelous for me. It’s magic, almost. I mean, I have said I’m going to kill myself, in the morning, and, then, in the afternoon, I’m singing my heart out. It’s brought me, time and time again, out of depression.”
Ronnie’s ability to modulate from a crippling depression into a joyous, expressive state is an awe-inspiring testament to the power of music. Music was her life raft.
One of the greatest physicists of all time used music to shift his consciousness and stimulate his creative thinking. Albert Einstein played piano and violin.
His son, Hans, said, “Whenever he felt that he had come to the end of the road or into a difficult situation in his work, he would take refuge in music, and that would usually resolve all his difficulties.”
His sister, Maja, said that after playing the piano, he would get up and declare, “There, now I’ve got it.”
Music can lift a person out of depression, stimulate creative thinking and offer a host of other benefits.
For more information about the hand-drumming class, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.
By Paul Roberts