Music. Art. Dance. Poetry. With all of the misunderstanding and division around us, it is easy to forget how crucial these are to our mental and physical health. Music and the arts can bring us together and remind us of our connection to something much bigger than ourselves. They tie us to the past and help propel us forward.
I saw this firsthand this weekend when I attended the Lunar New Year concert put on by the UNR Chinese Students Association. It was an energetic evening of song and dance – and although I didn’t understand the announcements, I understood how the concert was bringing families and the community together. It was a first-generation little girl singing a traditional Chinese song with her family beaming in the audience. And a UNR student from China dancing hip-hop to Shaun Mendes while the crowd went wild.
Music and the arts are bridging the gap for so many immigrant communities – they allow people to hold on to their traditions while learning about and becoming part of the culture of their new homes. And if we just open our ears, the arts can help us understand each other across the divide.
Music. Art. Dance. Poetry. As corny as it sounds, they can help break down barriers that lead to so much fear of those who aren’t like us. So here’s an idea…the next time you are feeling angry or afraid, step out of your comfort zone and explore some music or art that you are unfamiliar with. Listen to some Appalachian bluegrass or Indonesian gamelan music, watch a Bollywood dance number, discover the beauty of Persian calligraphy, or listen to a poetry slam. You might not love everything you see or hear, but your world will expand and become a better place.
Evening of Romance – Enchanted Masquerade
It’s time! This Saturday is the Enchanted Masquerade at the Grand Sierra Resort, 8pm.
Come play with us!
- Music with the Reno Jazz Orchestra, David Hayes, and The Note-Ables
- Whimsical, beautiful, and fun performance artists
- Enchanted forest theme – masks and costumes encouraged!
- Desserts and champagne to your heart’s desire
This event is roughly 20% of our operating budget for the year. So, not only is this a wonderful event, with great music, dancing, champagne, and lovely people, your attendance has direct impact in our community.
When you come play with us, you give the gift of music to hundreds of people in our community. Plus, it’s truly a wonderful time! As one of our attendees told us last year, “We love the event and will look forward to next year!”
Music therapy can look very different depending on the population, diagnosis, or individual, since music therapy is focused on meeting the needs that are present in the moment. A mental health group might do anything from group singing, discussing song lyrics, playing instruments, or relaxation in order to increase socialization and reality orientation, decrease anxiety, or express emotions that people might not have an outlet for otherwise. Music therapists have to continuously assess and adapt in order to meet the needs of everyone in the group.
A few weeks ago, just one man came to the small group at the mental health hospital with Caitlin. During check-in, he expressed his frustration of not feeling heard by the people around him. He and Caitlin decided that he needed to be able to express those emotions, so Caitlin asked him to sing “Shout” with her and encouraged him to really sing out during the choruses to express that frustration. This alone helped relieve some of his anger, but not all of it.
Next, Caitlin had him brainstorm all of the things that were frustrating him and then put those into the song. Together they rewrote the chorus of the song to include his frustrations so that he could shout and sing them out. As they finished singing what they had written, he took a deep breath and stated that he was feeling much better. He said that he had originally been skeptical of the idea, but that now he felt like all of his frustrations were relieved because he was able to express it and felt heard.
Shout by Tears for Fears
Music Therapy Perspectives – Music Therapy in the Hospital
There is a growing body of research showing how music therapy in the healthcare setting showing the benefits of music therapy in healthcare. A comprehensive 2005 study in the Journal of Pediatric Nursing showed that music is effective in reducing anxiety for children receiving medical procedures. Not only is anxiety reduced, but there is less need for anesthesia (which can cause nausea and other complications in children) for non-invasive procedures. Music therapy assists infants and toddlers fall asleep for CT scans, and help reduce anxiety and pain perception when they are awake.
The findings of this and other studies aren’t just good for the kids who get to have a better experience and less chance of negative memories and associations with hospitals. Hospitals also save a lot of money when music therapists are involved in procedures. The reasons for saving money include the less need for anesthesia, the reduced time of a procedure, and in many cases, less need for nursing staff to be in the room for procedural support. Music therapy saves resources, and valuable nurse time, while creating a better experience for the patient. For more information about the benefits of music therapy in various healthcare settings, please check out our Why Music Therapy page.
Evening of Romance – Enchanted Masquerade – February 4th, 8pm (Grand Sierra Resort) The Evening of Romance – Enchanted Masquerade is here! This event is one of the best parties you can attend all year, packed full of music, enchanting performance artists, champagne and desserts, auctions, and over 500 of the coolest people in town. Come celebrate the gift of music in your life!
Fire It Up! Morning Dance Party with Laurie Martin – February 17th, 8am (McKinley Arts and Culture Center, west side basement)
Come join us for an fun, liberating, and exhilarating morning dance party. Laurie Martin lightly facilitates this dance with far-ranging music to help wake the body up from the inside out. Come join us down the basement steps on the West side of the building, in case the front door is not yet open. We’ll be there, ready to dance! $5 suggested donation.
Basement Session – February 27th, 12 pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center, west side basement)
Would you like to know more about music therapy and our programs? You’re welcome to join us for lunch! We share stories and explain what makes music therapy so effective, and The Note-Ables play a brief set. It’s fun, informative and inspiring. Please email Sarah Toney for more information and to RSVP. Seating is limited, so please do contact us to attend!
Best of Facebook
This article really captured people’s attention. It’s the story of a young man who seemed to have absolutely everything in the world going for him who died of heroin addiction. How often we assume that if we just got everything together in our lives we’d be happy and yet, this is simply not the case. More than anything, we need a means of dealing with the inevitable pain of life.
We shared this story as part of a larger conversation about the importance of community and connection. Music in community can be an incredibly powerful way of facilitating connection, particularly when words fail us. NMTS started music therapy groups this month at The Life Change Center in Reno, and coming soon to Carson City, to help people recovering from opioid addiction to connect and possibly find a new and powerful means of coping. There is room for hope, even when it seems impossible.
January Thank Yous
Special thank you to the Evening of Romance committee!
All of your work is about to pay off! Big thanks toRick Altenburg, Cheryl Eckert,Wendy Firestone, Elsa Heroux, Rick Heroux, Karen Hunsader, Sandy Jacob, Deanna Lyons, Natalie Michaelson, Marilyn Moon, Chris Stewart, Dave Stockman, Lori Welsh, Sandy Young
Thank you to our January donors!
Shari Elena Quin, Reno Sparks Scheels, Marilyn Moon, Scott Harrington, Bill and Jeanille Hyde, John and Christine Worthington, Haws Corporation, and Jean Taylor
Thank you to our classroom and office volunteers!
Mark Geeson, Tia Henderson, Marilyn Moon, Cindy Oesterle-Prescott, Chris Keenan, Cheryl Eckert, Jill Gabel, Courtney Mayer, Katie Fountain, Scarlett Saiki, Jewelene Fritts, Maureen Groach, Ariel Miller, and Cheyenne Underwood
As always, thank you to our Endowment Founding Circle! The Note-Able Music Therapy Services endowment fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. By contributing to the fund, you will guarantee that children and adults – no matter their age or ability – will always have a place where they can learn, grow, and experience a community that is connected through the love of music. Please call or email us for more information about how you can contribute to the legacy of NMTS.
Music Quote of the Month
- Large rolling duffle bag – can totally be used! We need this for taking instruments and music to off site locations.
- Art supplies – anything you’re not using, we’ll find a use!
- Greeting cards and thank you notes
- iTunes gift cards
- Disposable food service goods, such as paper plates, cutlery, cups and napkins
- Postage stamps
Board of Directors
Kate Kirkpatrick – President
Director of Public Information, Marketing & Communications, Truckee Meadows Community College
Dave Stockman – Treasurer
President – Stillwater Foundation
Sandy Jacob – Secretary
John Firestone – Director
Executive Director – The Life Change Center
Dennis Doty – Director
Physical Therapist – HCR ManorCare
Give the gift of music!
Your donations provide for our low cost and adjustable-rate fees for classes, workshops, music therapy and music lessons! Every dollar donated helps people of all abilities to continue to have access to music therapy and programs.