Music Therapy Awareness Weekend 2014

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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