Music for Life
Music for Life - an explanation by Annie Mawson
"Sunbeams ventures into a world where doors are closed, and with commitment and passion, tries to find the appropriate musical key to unlock a knowledge that is there from the very first heartbeat."
This is our philosophy at the Sunbeams Music Trust, which brings music to people of all ages with special needs throughout Cumbria. But let me take you back in time to Samuel....... "When King Saul was seized with a deep melancholia, David took an harp and played it, and the melancholia departed."
Beautiful words, ancient and modern alike, separated by three Millennia, but the message remains the same, - the "power of music to heal". I believe that we can all be touched by the healing influence of sound, physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually.... and at Sunbeams we have daily proof of the powerful transformative effects of music. Although the power of music to heal and to alleviate illness and distress has been recognised for centuries, it is only in the 20th Century that systematic research into the reasons for its efficacy has really begun. Its appropriateness as a therapy for people with mental health problems for example, has since been well-documented through time-based research, in the USA since 1944, and by Juliette Alvin, the pioneer of Music Therapy in the U.K.
Music Therapy is now a real and bonafide method of improving health and well-being, however difficult it is to measure the consequences of "the power of music to heal". BUT, the long-term aim of any therapy is surely to overspill and generalize the effects into everyday life. Hence our concept has evolved through our work, of "Music for Life". When one realizes that the acoustic nerve in the foetus is fully developed at four and a half months, and at the other end of the 'time-scale', the hearing is the last sense to die, the importance and impact of Music for Life becomes far-reaching and profound. One of the inspirations behind the founding of Sunbeams Music Trust was a gentleman with Downs Syndrome called Johnathon, who was 17 when I first met him in 1977. He was a remarkable person, commanding great respect from all knew him, not least because his passion was Gilbert and Sullivan Opera: he knew every single song, from every score. He died in 2001, literally listening and singing along to Radio 3 highlights of G and S.
Real Music for Life.
Music for Life is based on my passionate belief that Music can transcend politics, finance, bureaucracy; that it has the ability to help people communicate when all other strategies have failed. I think of the most moving rendition of the Northumberland song, the Blaydon Races, by the gentle sweet voice of a frail old lady, who hadn't spoken for three years since she had suffered a stroke. The utterance of her first words in all that time was powerful testimony to the fact that if the ear cannot perceive the sounds, the tongue cannot pronounce them.
And I think of the shy young girl who chose to be an 'elective mute, locking herself away into a world of silence, and communicating only through singing for 19 years. After all that time, the confidence gained from her music helped her to overcome the emotional blockages, and I received the dramatic phone call from a voice I thought I would never hear -"When's my next gig,Annie?" - Real Music for Life!
Continued - click here