Healing Wounded U.S. Veterans Through Music
Music has played an important role in U.S. military service – to inspire, to celebrate and to mourn – as far back as Revolutionary War times. In honor of Memorial Day, which commemorates the ultimate sacrifice paid by our nation’s veterans, we’ll highlight two life-changing ways music helps today’s wounded veterans heal.
Voices of Valor™ is an initiative of Music For All Seasons™, providing opportunities for returning service men and women to use music to help them reintegrate into civilian life. Small groups of six to 10 work with a professional singer/songwriter and a psychology mentor over an 8-week session.
From lyrics to performance. During each session, participants learn to use music to address the stress and trauma that are significant impediments for many veterans readjusting to civilian life. Through the course of the sessions, the veterans produce new song lyrics, and create, perform, and record their original songs. Participating veterans do not need any previous musical training or experience.
Music For All Seasons, a nonprofit corporation dedicated to the therapeutic properties of music, was founded in 1991 by husband and wife Dallow and Rena Fruchter.
Musicorps is an intensive rehabilitation program where wounded warriors get help to play music and recover their lives. This innovative program improves quality of life and aids healing during long and difficult periods of recovery.
Hospital visit inspires. Arthur Bloom, composer and founder of Renovation in Music Education, started Musicorps after being invited to visit a badly injured soldier at Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Bethesda, MD back in 2007. The soldier, a musician who had been injured by an IED in Iraq, expressed his pain and frustration to Bloom, and the seed of an idea took root: a rehabilitative music program for injured combat veterans.
Musicorps replicates “real world” music relationships so that wounded warriors work on robust goal-oriented projects many hours a day. Musicorps integrates individualized projects, regular visits by highly accomplished musicians, and the use of specially assembled computer-based music workstations along with traditional instruments. Working in any musical style they prefer, participants are able to learn, play, write, and record original material.
We salute this powerful, life-changing work. The above info was gathered from these organizations’ websites and related media coverage. To learn more about music’s role in healing, particularly for wounded veterans, we also recommend this May 8 Wall Street Journal article (“A Healing Art”) by pianist Byron Janis.