|March, 2009 - This one moved along very quickly and was interrupted by the Spring Break at
school. Early in the month I did a session for the Brain Injury Support Group at Denton Regional
Medical Center. These are folks who are recovering from a stroke or traumatic brain injury (usually
the result of an automobile accident). In spite of their infirmities they were a pretty "upbeat" group
and responded to music very well. I hope this encounter will pave the way for some more music
therapy involvement with the hospital.
Some guys acquainted with the Denton music scene organized North by 35 to mimic the very
successful South by Southwest that occurs in Austin every year about this time. They had a large
number of local and area bands (as in small, usually loud, beat oriented ensembles). Also had
several groups from out of state that were enroute to Austin. I performed with Andy Cooper and
George Merritt at the HYDRANT - a new coffeehouse that opened about a year ago on West Oak
Street in Denton. We had a small but enthusiastic audience.
Late in the month I traveled to Austin to be a part of the annual conference of the Southwestern
Region of the American Music Therapy Association. I presented a session entitled "Case Studies
in Music Therapy" that told about some of the individuals with whom I have worked during my
career as a music therapist. A second session presented was entitled "More Than You Ever
Wanted to Know About the Accordion". For this one I borrowed six accordions and took them with
me, in order that participants could have an introduction to the instrument. Those who attended
seemed to become comfortable to some of the basic principles. It is a wonderful instrument for
music therapy, and I have used it on many occasions during my career. The TWU chapter of
Sigma Alpha Iota is mounting an effort to get grant money to buy ten accordions for the music
department. If this happens, I can eventually have an accordion class as part of the training.
March, 1980 - Our family had the pleasure of hearing Bill Cosby in a live peformance. We were
fascinated by this man's ability to assume control of an audience in the most casual,
unauthoritarian manner possible and to hold their attention for an hour and a half that seemed like
only a few pleasant moments. Cosby contends that people on skis appear to be smiling, because
their faces are frozen. This condition also accounts for their European-like accents. He mentioned
meeting someone who explained that getting high on dope had the effect of amplifying the
personality. Cosby's retort was, "Suppose you're already obnoxious?" In a whole discourse about
parent-son relationships he mentioned that his mother was always asking him about the things that
happened before he was born with questions like, "What did I ever do to deserve a son like you?
I have decided that the one thing television really needs desperately is another awards show. This
would be a super production whose purpose would be to give awards to the producers of the
existing awards shows. Categories would include: Best Show, Worst Show, Most Original Show
(rarely given), and Least Original Show (with multiple entries). Then we could have Most Useless
Award, Most Meaningless Award, Most Repetitious Award, and Most Insincere Award. You're
going to think I'm negative toward recognizing ability, talent, and creativity. ABSOLUTELY NOT !
It's just that many of these vehicles have passed the point of having any validity and have
degenerated to being an excuse for the stars to gather for the sole purpose of getting ratings. If
you don't know what ratings are, I am writing to the wrong audience.
In discussing the temptations of Jesus, which preceded his brief earthly ministry and the events
that followed, it occurred to me that no people in all of history have been better prepared to
understand these events than those of us living in modern day America. When hungry He was
tempted to make bread of stones and feed himself. Most of us yield to that one frequently. He was
offered dominion and the glory that goes with it. No nation on earth has ever had as much property
and wealth in the hands of its citizens. Finally, He was told to do a super-spectacular stunt to get
the attention and recognition of the masses. The media is full of stunt men. Maybe this little column
is simply a stunt for recognition. We have great access to the kind of temptations that the Master
encountered; the question is, as a nation and as individuals, what is our response?
RHYME FOR OUR TIME
I dropped my keys on the walk today, and the thought occurred to me -
that there's a special story in each and every key.
Is there a key that you can't name? To something you'd rather forget?
What about the one to your luggage? Have you ever used it yet?
What is the key you use the most? Do you ever wonder why?
What is the one you use the least? Does it tell where priorities lie?
Are there keys to the secret places you keep hidden on the shelf?
Time is the ultimate keeper of keys; you're only fooling yourself.
Rich man, poor man, beggar, thief - each one follows a call.
Each man opens the doors he chooses; the keys tell it all.