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, Feb. 5, at noon.
“Paul’s class allows me to tap into my creativity and sense of enjoyment, as well as adding to relaxation,” said retired professor and social worker Beverly Sondag. “It is helpful to not always focus on production or outcome, and just enjoy the moment.”
Sondag continued, “For the last year, I have been reading Paul’s articles in The SUN and have enjoyed the integration of brain science and therapy into the drumming experience. As a social worker for 47 years, I have watched the development of using brain science in therapy and the use of music to allow healing that is not possible with talk therapy.
“My family was very musical and I had a number of aunts and uncles who played instruments by ear. Some of my earliest memories are related to watching my paternal grandfather sing in church. In my family, we all took piano lessons and then other instruments later. I learned to play the clarinet and bass clarinet, which was my favorite instrument. I’ve also tried my hand at oboe and cello. Through all of these years, I have continued to sing in a variety of choirs.
“My father continued his love of music, even as his dementia progressed. The music therapist at his facility in Minnesota even had him make some CDs with his own singing. Our family treasures those artifacts of his singing, making sounds and playing rhythm instruments. He also participated in Mneme therapy, a creative use of music, movement and art, which stimulates parts of the brain that are otherwise unreachable during the progression of dementia. He produced a number of beautiful paintings from this process.
“I have worked in a diversity of settings in my social work career. In my experiences working with Native Americans, I learned to appreciate native music, the use of music in ceremony and pow wows and in sweat lodges. I regularly listen to various native drumming groups and circles, and while I cannot speak the language, it has always been a pleasure to sing along and learn the melodies. Integrating music into my professional and personal life has been a helpful component of my personal growth and in my work assisting others.”
Devoting herself to the well-being of others, Sondag exudes a sense of wisdom and joyful goodwill. Playing on her Native American drum, singing and strumming the Chinese guzheng, her music in the drumming class radiates enthusiasm and delight.
An opportunity for people of all ages to unleash their creativity, the drumming class is a family-friendly activity. No previous experience is necessary. Drums are provided for those who do not have one. For more information, call 731-3117. The Pagosa Lakes Clubhouse is located at 230 Port Ave.
By Paul Roberts