Music is sometimes the only thing that keeps someone hanging on. This is especially true for soldiers on the battlefield and those who are left to battle for their lives or mental health after serving their country.
I recently visited James Kaplan, Polytrauma Recreation Therapist at our local VA’s Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center in Tampa to see how Luna could help with their music program. The Tampa Polytrauma Rehabilitation Center is one of four facilities in the country designed to provide intensive rehabilitative care to Veterans and Service members who experienced severe injuries (including brain injuries) to more than one organ system. The other facilities are located in Palo Alto, Minneapolis, and Richmond.
I have to admit I was unprepared for what I saw on the ward and deeply saddened by the experience, yet it gave me a deeper understanding of just how much need there is for providing the transformational power of music to veterans undergoing physical or psychological rehab. Luna plans to donate a total of 12 Safari travel guitars which are a perfect size for a hospital setting as they can be played in bed, in wheelchairs, and don’t take up a lot of storage space.
To that end, Luna is currently hosting an auction on bay for a Luna Henna Oasis signed by artists performing at the 2008 Grammy “Person of the Year” event honoring Aretha Franklin. Artists signing the guitar included Dan Akyroyd, Jim Belushi, BeBe and CeCe Winans, Dave Koz, GRAMMY-nominated pianist Lang Lang, Anthony Hamilton, Hip-hop artist Lil’ Mama, Patti Austin, John Legend and Herbie Hancock.
Please check it out here and bid for a good cause if you can! 100% of proceeds will go to the Tampa VA.
The healing powers of music have been discussed as far back as Plato and Aristotle. But the therapy’s modern incarnation began after World War II, when musicians visited veterans hospitals to play for patients suffering both physical and psychological trauma. Doctors found that patients who weren’t being helped by traditional therapies often responded to music. The VA has been a pioneer in music therapy, according to the American Music Therapy Association, but they are still woefully understaffed and need both instrument donations and volunteers.
Ff you have an instrument donation or can spare some time to perform or give classes, call your local VA. If there’s not a facility near you, check out some of these organizations that provide guitars for returning troops.
If you know of some other organizations, please comment and I will include in this post.