Music Therapy

Personal statement

When I was in elementary school, it seemed like everyone was learning how to play a musical instrument. My mother insisted that I jump on the bandwagon. I considered my options, and my interest was piqued by the idea of learning how to play the violin. Although I possessed a natural talent for playing in the beginning, I never became more than a mediocre violinist. The instrument became an expensive toy that I played for relaxation. I let the notes flow naturally, and the harmony was my home remedy for stress relief. Over time, I even learned how to play songs by ear. My experience at Johns Hopkins Hospital taught me how to use my violin not only as a source of entertainment, but also as a tool. During the summer before my senior year, I volunteered at the hospital and worked with young patients. When the child life specialist, Marichi, discovered that I played the violin, she suggested that I spend my Wednesday afternoons playing music for the children. I came by that Wednesday, and Marichi introduced me to the children in the playroom. Trying my best to please the children, I took requests. These children asked for a variety of songs ranging from TV tunes like the Spongebob SquarePants theme song to Sunday School music. After the playroom, Marichi took me to patients’ rooms. The patients and their families loved the live entertainment, and labeled me the “Violin Girl.” Each week I went home with new, touching stories. One day, I played classical music by Bach and Mozart for a shy, blind girl, and for the first time since arriving at the hospital, she smiled. Another girl was attempting to walk after surgery, and some soothing “Canon in D” helped to distract her from her painful task. A roomful of children requested Christmas songs and sang along to them, causing the visiting clowns to come in to dance to the music. Marichi even asked a young nurse to tap dance to my Celtic reel. She turned beet red when the doctors and pharmacists popped their heads in to witness the event. The children and I giggled as she zoomed out of the room. After this wonderful experience, I realized that I truly have a gift. I have the gift of sharing my music with others and making them smile. I was not a virtuoso and could not play the songs perfectly, but to the patients, the songs were perfect. This great opportunity enabled me to bring my skills as a violinist to a new level and spread my positive energy throughout the hospital.

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