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Music As Service

One Example: Prisoner Rehabilitation


Art is expression: well-crafted thoughtful art is a two-way current of mindfulness and emotion that ebbs and flows into and out of us freely. We receive art and feel it. When we create art we release or imbue feeling into it, sharing our experience of the intangible with others. Like waves that roll into and across each other. Creating art can act as an emotional filtration system for some, as well as a way to release or process complicated emotions or thoughts that exist beyond words.


As a mother, I have had both of my children in music lessons since the ages of two and four. I always knew that having a good relationship with music would allow them a safe space for their thoughts and feelings that they may or may not want to talk about, and that music will be there for them throughout their entire lives. Many times over the years, I have observed that when one of them is experiencing an emotion that is too big, or personal to put into words, they pick up their guitars and express their feelings into music. Whether it is boundless joy or painful sorrow, music offers them a comforting and healthy space to express and release it. It's a beautiful thing to see.


In my previous posts, I have been writing a lot about the healing powers of music regarding health and wellness. This week I am writing about one example of service performed by a group that is actively using music to help heal their fellow human beings. Prisoners have a lot of healing to do. Whatever their reason for being in captivity, it is a fair assumption that some healing is needed.


The New York-based Decoda Chamber Ensemble consists of world-class musicians who perform, teach, and do community service with their music. Below is a short video about their incredible work with prisoners. This is an excellent example of service through music.



How many other opportunities are there for us to reach and serve with and through music?


The world is a big place, full of amazing people, working hard to improve life for all of us. In my heart, this is cause for hope and celebration. One of the ways that I can contribute to this song of hope is by supporting those who are doing this important work. I'll be buying tickets to hear Decoda Chamber Ensemble when they are in my area, which is also giving me the gift of incandescent music, and I'll be contributing when and how I can to their mission.


Art is service. One of the best ways to support service is to support those who serve. Wishing you all a beautiful and hopeful, connected, and supportive world. As always, I love to hear your thoughts, if you feel inspired to, please join the conversation below.



On a related side-note:

I grew up in the Quaker tradition. Quakers have a longstanding tradition of service in prisons. To read more about the ongoing work of Quakers in prisons, and current campaigns to interrupt violence, please visit the link below. Friends Committee On National Legislation (Lobbying with Quakers)

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