Yesterday, I received the sad news of the unexpected loss of Margaret Noecker, Head of School of The Parish School. In my two-year relationship with her, there was always joy, laughter, and ideas. She listened to my ideas about growing the music program and was so excited about providing more opportunities for our students. We shared laughter over the healthy foods we ate and how we loved to eat. She was always joyous in what she did and always made me laugh and smile when I was around her.
Today was a tough teaching day as I, and many other teachers, was processing the grief and shock that we felt from her unexpected death. Songs that I planned and usually played lacked my usual energy. Utilizing my music therapy knowledge, I had to meet myself in the isometric principle of using music to match my mood with the music and then gradually change the music to a desired mood. Music is soothing and gives an avenue for expression, helping to heal. I needed that.
I found myself playing the keyboard, improvising melodies and harmonies over a continuous baseline from a major chord (happy) to a minor chord (sad). (C major to e minor). My right hand fingers moved from the low notes to the high octaves, progressing steadily in a rhythm. The notes flew around a certain melody that transcended up, taking on speed, and then gradually disappearing as the low notes kept me grounded. I felt the grief inside of me entering the room, my feelings that I could not put into words. I left my emotions in the music and the music shared it with the world. After my musical experience, I felt some peace.
We can all use music to help cope and process grief:
-Listen to music that matches your mood or to your favorite songs.
-Play an instrument, make up a song, let your emotions guide you through the music. -Sing anything that comes to mind. Your body is an instrument. That is your song.