In a world that seems to be becoming
polarized, I believe music can bring us together. Music reminds us of the truth
of our connections and naturally leads us to find common ground.
Lately, it has felt to me that our country is stuck inside
of an optical illusion. And our party lines dictate what we see. What I believe
is at the heart of a lot of our collective tension is the way that we vilify
those who see the world in a different way.
What do you see in this picture?
Do you see a young woman with her head turned away or an
older woman’s profile? Or is there something else that you see? Imagine that a
friend or family member saw what you did not see. Take a moment to notice
anything that comes up as you imagine this friend or family member’s different
It is likely much easier to accept others for what they see
in this picture than it is to see the humanity in those who have a different
opinion on a matter that is deeply important to us. Our political differences
have many of us questioning how someone could possibly see the world so
differently. I believe that our differences don’t polarize us- our reaction to
our differences do. And that is where
intentional gatherings and music can come in.
As a music therapist at the American Family Children’s
Hospital here in Madison, WI, I have seen time and time again the power of
music to create major shifts. From the school aged child who went from
screaming in pain to rapping his favorite song within moments to the mother who
shared that playing guitar got her through the toughest time in her life, it
becomes clear that music can change us. So if music can be so potent, why not
use it intentionally to ease some of the tension in today’s political climate?
My heart is full of gratitude to be a part of an exciting collaboration with Barbara Dunn, PhD, LICSW, MT-BC called Common Sounds. We have created a process by which we intentionally use music and conversation to bring together two groups of people who may have differences ideologically, spiritually, or politically. The work draws upon Music Therapy and Conflict Transformation- specifically Barbara’s research in how music can support us in transforming conflict.
In these gatherings, we are
NOT looking to change anyone’s mind about the issues that are important to
them. Rather, we are creating space for folks to be with others who hold a
different point of view in a way that sheds light on the humanity in us all.
Please join us for a
CORE circle on Friday, March 1st from 9:30-11:30 am at the Madison
Central Library (201 West Mifflin, room 302). I will be facilitating an
experience for participants based on the process utilized in Common Sounds’
gatherings. There will be opportunities to listen to music, make music with the
group if you choose, and engage in meaningful discussions. I hope to see you