Mondays at the VA
Mondays are our VA days. Sam and I park, grab our gear and head to the Community Living Center which is the VA's nursing home. Most VA Medical Centers have CLCs and Atlanta's CLC has 50 Veterans who call the VA home. We hop in the elevator and up to the 3rd floor we go. We load in with an acoustic guitar, bass guitar, loudspeaker, percussion instruments, looping pedals, effects pedals, mics, cables, instrument stands and all the little gizmos about which us musicians geek.
Sam is a fantastic Board-Certified Music Therapist and, I, his roadie. He has a way of bringing things out of people that still amaze me. He uses music therapy to create sacred and special moments with our Veterans. In the first few minutes, using one or two songs, he quickly ascertains where everyone is that morning (up to 20 Veterans) and then begins our programming with that in mind. Our goal is to create a safe, stimulating and fun space for our Veterans to communicate, express and connect.
Most of our Veterans are either in wheel chairs or bed-bound. Music Therapy is a perfect way to meet them where they are at while still celebrating and validating their feelings and thoughts. I have seen it many times when someone's body is not where they are socially, spiritually or emotionally. MT moves past these limitations to focus on the person's uniqueness and authenticity. These facets of the self transcend our earthly bodies. MT recognizes this self-affirming truth in us all.
Not a bad way to start the week.