As I write to you all today, I am listening to the new album released today SYNESTHESTIC.

You may have heard of the term Synesthesia: it is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. For instance the sensation of color when a sound is heard. I first learned of this term in the Oliver Sacks book “Musicoplilia” where he describes in venettes people experiencing phenominal things like this with no scientific explanation per se. I realized that I have only about 3 or 4 people that I acutally know operating with this magical gift. All of them are excellent and successful musicians and artists.

This brings me back to the reason I am writing today. Last week I had the honor of meeting and speaking with Nitish Kulkarni. He is the creator/composer of the new SYNESTHETIC album. I enjoyed so much being in his presence. He is young, but an old soul full of knowledge and life giving words. I was invited to speak about Music Therapy along with Nitish by a colleague, Ashley Burriss, directorof the rehabilitation at North Cypress Medical Center.

I enjoyed getting meet Nitish that day and learn about his endeavors in the music business. He is interested in Music Therapy as another career path as well. I can only hope that someone with this much passion and talent for music would join forces with the world of music therapy one day.

This information below is from his website: http://nitishkulkarni.com/

nitish

SYNESTHETIC – Produced by award-winning composer John Adorney and featuring sounds from over 50 different musical instruments (both electronic and acoustic), SYNESTHETIC is a brand-new collection of 10 original contemporary instrumental pieces. The music has taken over 3 years to compose and was recorded and mixed at John’s private studios in California this summer. John had this to say:

“Nitish Kulkarni is a wonderfully talented young musician, whom I was very excited to work with producing his debut album. His musical gifts are far beyond his age, and he has an avid passion for learning about and delving deep into the wonders of music. One thing that was very satisfying for me personally was that, during the process of working on the CD, Nitish’s music inspired what I think are my two best cello and guitar performances ever. I highly recommend you have a listen.”

I love John’s quote. Not only is he the producer of this album, but he is a music therapist as well.

The album will be available TODAY on January 13, 2015. Pre-orders are now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Best Buy.

The lead single MERMAID is streaming exclusively on Spotify.

GO CHECK IT OUT TODAY!!!!

Robert in Music Therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann

Robert in Music Therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann

I am writing today about someone very influential in my life. See the link attach to understand the background story:

http://www.mysanantonio.com/entertainment/music-stage/article/S-A-theater-mainstay-Rehm-dies-5994745.php?cmpid=email-mobile#photo-7350037%0ARobert

 A former patient and friend of mine passed away this week after living several years with a severe Spinal Cord Injury (SCI). It was heartbreaking to hear of this news. I will never forget our times together. I had THE most fun with Robert (and his sister Janice) at TIRR. He was one of my first experiences in treating SCI using Neurologic Music Therapy. We wrote songs and performed them in the doctor’s rounds at the hospital when he was in his first phase of inpatient care. I got to spend a lot of time with this grand artist, performer and lover of life. I learned so much from him even though I was there to help him with his rehabilitation, he was teaching me so many life lessons with his words and even more so with his gusto for life. He had been paralyzed from the neck down after a fall. He did not let that stop him from being the great artist and creator that he was. He came to our hospital for several rounds of therapy, so I got to really get to know him more each time.
I am so thankful that I got to see him one last time a few years ago when I was speaking at the Americans for the Arts conference in San Antonio. I invited him because I knew that he would relate to using the arts for healing. He was still making art even in his chair. He used the wheels of his chair to create painted murals and would then complete them by using a computer program with his mouth. He attended my presentation downtown and even hung out at the University touring me around and introducing me to all of his actor friends in town. I was on his old stomping grounds and he was the best host.
I will never forget his stories, his joy, and his impersonations of babushkas and musical theatre characters. I have learned that you can truly do anything that you have a desire to do if you just have the drive, community, and mind to do it. He never quit. I know that he is now free and his story will never die. I will never forget Robert and I will share him with the world.

award

As I reflect on life and give thanks for all that I have during this season, I want to bring attention to something that happend last week.
On Thursday, Novemeber 20, 2014 TIRR Memorial Hermann had the privilage of recieving the Caring Heart Award form the Institute for Spirituality and Health.
Several members of our medical team were recognized for the rehabilitation of Gabby Giffords.
I was honored to represent my team that day and be recognized for such an award.
I was ammazed at the progress shown by our former patient Gabby as she was invited to give a speech and discuss some of her new goals and advocacy efforts with her husband Mark Kelley.
What I said that day to Gabby and Mark was something that I have been wanting to express for a long time.
I explained how her healing process brought attention and awareness to the world of Traumatic Brain Injury.
Also, that helping her regain her voice, in return gave me a voice. I expressed how important it is that the world got a glimpse into the miracale and power of music and the arts being used in the medical setting. I am thankful to Gabby and Mark for allowing their process of healing to even be out there for the world to see.

On a daily basis Musicians and Music Therapists contact me from all over the world and explain how they were inspired to join the field of Music Therapy after seeing how music helped in Gabby’s healing process. Her story helped put the Arts and Music back on the map.
I am thankful that I got to be a part of her and her family’s lives.
It is truly an honor to receive such acknowledgement and to help book-end this experience.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Awareness Weekend 2014

This past February I had that opportunity to speak to the students of the Music Therapy program at Sam Houston State University. I decided to share a story of a former patient and now friend who has rehabilitated at TIRR with me and some of my colleagues.

I wanted to bring Daniel, my former patient, to meet and tell his story. He also brought his one-handed saxophone to explain his story and give a performance. Most of my patients are not professional musicians. I use music on a daily basis to help non musicians in the healing process. Daniel is an example of someone who’s life was turned upside down because he was not able to use the Left side of his body after his stroke. This was devistating for a musician and teacher. I explained his first few weeks in rehab and how receiving music therapy gave him the hope he needed to get him back to making music again.

Check out his webpage: www.onehandsax.com
Here is a little background from his page:
“Like most people, I began my musical life in the sixth grade band. I started out on the clarinet. Throughout junior high and high school, my love for music continued to grow. After placing in the All-State band my junior year, my clarinet teacher gave me his blessing to start learning saxophone along with my clarinet studies. In college, while clarinet was still my primary instrument, I added flute to my vocabulary and began pursuing my dreams of being a woodwind doubler(someone who plays multiple instruments in pit orchestras or musicals and the like). I graduated with my bachelors in clarinet performance from Sam Houston State University in 2004.

July 28, 2008 I suffered a near-fatal hemorrhagic stroke due to two severe brain tumors that led to a bleed in a surrounding, weakend blood vessel.

As a result of the stroke, I was left with hemiparesis of my left side. Not quite paralysis, but unable to use my left hand, nonetheless. I returned to teaching, somewhat, in October 2009. Early 2010, desperate to be able to make music again and get teaching more regularly, I sent my saxophone to Jeff Stelling of Kearney Nebraska to have it converted to his “toggle-key” system. This mechanism allows the instrument to be played by the right hand alone. After nearly two years of waiting, It was completed and I picked it up in January 2012.”

Daniel also played his first formal recital since his injury and receiving his new saxophone. His performance was one of excellence. I look forward to more to come.

My hope is that his story will spread more awareness about Brain Injury and stroke and the power of music in the rehabilitation setting and new life after that process. I look forward to hearing Daniel perform more in our community and that his story can be an inspiration to everyone.

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