|Posted by Gabrielle "Gaby" Berbey on August 6, 2013 at 5:05 PM|
We often hear, and I’m sure many have experienced, the truths revealed during the second day of a new job. Entering the first day, we are presented an image of carefully crafted smiles and welcomes, and we leave the first day with a specific impression. On the second day of the new job, this impression is either solidified, or proved inaccurate. The curtain of carefully crafted smiles and welcomes are drawn aside, and the truth of a workplace is revealed. We are either drawn towards this reality, or deter away from its truth. It is naïve of me to boldly reflect on this truth given my limited experience in the professional world, but it is a reality I have accepted to believe through the truths I find myself so often observing.
In my second day at music therapy, the curtain of first-day impressions were drawn during an encounter between two of the students, both of whom wanted to play the same drum during the opening song. The students had particular attachments to this specific drum, one being drawn to its intricate designs on the side, and the other drawn to the low sound that emanated from the drumhead. Initially, neither was willing to compromise their attachment to this drum. Unsure if I should intervene, I watched silently as the two students grew progressively irritated with one another. As I sat motionless, and admittedly rather useless, in my chair, Beth approached the students. Calmly, she asked the students to collaborate and think of a way where both could use the drum. Despite her proposal, the students continued to argue. Finally, Beth looked both students in the eyes and simply said,
“Music can never be created unless you share it.”
Hearing these words, the students immediately grew quiet, looking at one another as the truth in Beth’s words settled into their minds. Suddenly, one of the students picked up the drum and set it in front of the other student, telling her peer that they could use the drum for the entire song.
The curtain had been drawn, and I witnessed the truth of music therapy outside the context of music itself. Music was simply the foundation, the rudimentary layer that gave the class direction. But the fundamental stratum lay in the collaborative nature necessary for creating music. Beth’s words reminded me of a quote from the book Into the Wild, in which the main character writes, “Happiness is only real when shared”. The main character of the book did not reconcile this truth until over two decades into his life. Perhaps the haunting impression of his statement lies in the fact that many people in this world will never actually fully grasp this truth. But as I watched the student pick up the drum and place it in front of her classmate, I realized that this statement is the core of success for music therapy. And it is a truth that these children are able to grasp when so many others fail to truly understand. Music becomes sacred to the students because, simply put, it makes them happy, and they are compelled to spread this happiness in any form possible because they recognize they can never truly appreciate their happiness unless it is shared. As the curtain of first-day impressions were drawn, this truth about music therapy was revealed, and it is a reality that I find myself completely gravitating towards.