I’ve mentioned Creative Expressions several times in class and within my blog but I haven’t explained why it is so important to me personally. I have been part of the program for almost four years. I began working within Creative Expressions my first semester as a music therapy major and it changed my life. I bounced around to several different groups before finding my home with Jungle Royals. Jungle Royals is a rock band made up of both individuals from the Life Enrichment Center and students from the Georgia College music therapy program. I work along side Mr. W, a 64 year old man, playing the bass. Mr. W uses a bass with different colored strings. The different colors make it easy for him to know which note to play during the songs. My role in the music making is to help him learn how to play each song, I do this by either pointing at the strings or saying what color string to play. In the beginning of the learning process I point at the strings and once he knows the song well I’ll play the bass along side him occasionally saying the string colors when needed.
I realized Jungle Royals was the group for me a few sessions after working with Mr. W. He is one of the happiest people I have ever met. When he walks into the room he says hello to everyone even if he doesn’t know you. I remember during one session a few of the performers were picking on some of the students. They were mimicking the group leaders voice, when Mr. W looked at me, made his voice really high, and said “I’m Taylor.” the whole group was crying from laughing so hard.
Being a music therapy major is harder than most people realize, if you aren’t careful you’ll forget what made you want to be a music therapist to begin with. Working with Jungle Royals and Mr. W has taught me so much about music therapy and myself. If it wasn’t for this program I probably would’ve switched majors a long time ago. Every time I walk into a session all the stress of the week melts away, and I remember why I fell in love with this profession.
I was recently asked who my biggest musical influence besides Stevie Nicks (I am a HUGE Stevie fan) was. I immediately thought about my dad. My dad and I have a different relationship than most, until I was roughly six years old my father was an alcoholic. He was sober for maybe two years before he started doing drugs. When I was sixteen and in the tenth grade my father went to prison. He was released my senior year of high school and I am proud to say that he has been sober ever since. Despite everything my dad played a huge role in my musical journey. On good days we would sit on the front porch for hours playing and writing music together. His bad day’s music was how I learned to make sense of the raging sea of emotion and turn it into something beautiful. If it wasn’t for music I do not know how I would’ve survived or made sense of everything I went through. My childhood was far from easy but it taught me that music is powerful, which is why I chose to do music therapy. I eventually want to work with individuals and families who are affected by substance abuse, but until then I am enjoying helping and working with anyone and everyone who wishes to try music therapy.
The most significant experience so far on site was an interview we did with Mrs. Barbra Coleman. You might be wondering what an interview has to do with cultural awareness, but with the Life Enrichment Center it was necessary to fully understand the diversity within its walls. During the interview we learned that the Life Enrichment Center
The Life Enrichment Center strongly believes that its individuals are more than their disabilities. They work tirelessly to make sure that the community and the individuals themselves know that just because they’re a little different it doesn’t mean they aren’t capable.
Each semester the LEC and the Georgia College Music Therapy Department work together with the individuals to put on a concert know as the “Creative Expressions Concert.” Creative expressions is made up of several different music groups. I am personally apart of the Jungle Royals, a rock band group. With the help of the performers we choose two songs that go with the theme of the concert. For example, this semester the theme is “songs in color.” We were to pick two songs with colors in the title. The group decided on “Back in Black” by ACDC and “Freeway of love (pink Cadillac)” by Aretha Franklin. This concert and the work that goes into it shows just how much we are more alike than different. The performers can make music just like individuals without a disability.
Jungel Royals (2016)
My name is Macy Taylor Kersey, but you can just call me Taylor. I am a senior music therapy major at Georgia College located in Milledgeville Georgia. I am from a very small town called Hoboken Georgia, we have one red light and if you blink you’ll miss the town completely. I graduated with the same people I went to preschool with, and I’ve had the same best friend since I was five years old. In short I am from a very small town. I came to Georgia College first and foremost to study music therapy and secondly for a change in environment.
During class recently we discussed what season of life we are in. I believe that I am in a season of change, acceptance, and doing. First a season of change because its my last year in undergrad, I’m beginning that transition into ‘official’adulthood. Second, acceptance because I’m learning to accept that nothing stays the same and eventually you do have to grow up. Lastly it’s a season of doing because I’ve finally started to do all the things I dreamed I would. In high school I would always talk about the person I would become. I recently discovered that I am indeed becoming that person.
Over the last four years I have discovered I really enjoy working with adults who have intellectual and developmental disabilities. Which is one of the many reasons I suggested Mary and I look at the Life Enrichment Center. The LEC is a nonprofit program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities in the Baldwin county area. Their mission is to support and maximize the over all quality of life for individuals with Intellectual disabilities by using person centered and community based programs and services. I have worked with the LEC in the Creative Expressions program. Creative Expressions is run by the music therapy program at the LEC and they partner with the music therapy department at the college. Creative expressions is made up of several different music groups that implement music therapy to bring together a concert at the end of each semester. The center also offers other programs from art therapy to dance therapy. The Life Enrichment Center is such an important part of the Baldwin county community. Overall I am very excited to work with the LEC on a deeper level besides just helping with Creative Expressions.
It took me a while to find the words for this blog post. I really had to think about the question of “who am I?”because that is a difficult question to answer. Mostly because I’ve changed so much over the last year. I stared at a blank page for several days before the words finally came. I hope that eventually these blogs will become easier. Who knows maybe after the course is over it’ll be so easy for me that I start my own personal blog.
This blog will be a platform for discussing my personal experience with community engagement and all that goes with it. I hope you find my words insightful and informative.