Words don’t cut it.

As someone who writes a good bit, it takes a lot of guts for me to say it, but it’s the truth: Words don’t cut it.

This is one of the reasons that I am a music therapist, as opposed to a more traditional counselor.

Words aren’t good enough: Some people don’t have words. Some people don’t understand all the different meanings of words. Some people don’t have the words particular to what they are trying to express. Words create barriers.

Music, on the other hand, is the opposite. Everyone has music. The meaning is fluid, relational to what is happening around it and the person creating it. Music invites participation. Music encourages learning.

It does so without the scary expectations of words.

When I worked with children with mental illnesses, I used music to unlock their feelings, to help them process, and—eventually—find the words to express their situation.

When I work with children with special needs, I use music to reach them, invite them to play, and then to grow. They use the music to stabilize, learn, and interact.

When I work with older adults in long term care, I use the music to conjure up memory, to evoke emotion, and to form a connection. My experience of the music is very different from theirs, but we are connected.

When was the last time you were approached with a question you couldn’t answer? How did that make you feel? Imagine the feeling occurring daily and let me know your thoughts in the comments!