In today's society, when people want to feel better, they seek treatment. If they have a mental or psychological disorder, they might go to Starry Counseling or Pecan Valley MHMR to see what kind of therapy these places have to offer. Say for instance, a Stephenville High School or Tarleton athlete gets injured during a game or if a person is harmed during a car accident, one of the first things they do is go seek medical help, which nine times out of ten leads to going through physical therapy.
So just what is therapy? Webster's Dictionary defines it as treatment for mental or psychological disorders and a way to help cure a disease. There's a type of therapy you can go through and you don't even have to see a doctor or counselor, it's called music.
This prestigious form of art has the power to do a lot of therapeutic things, it can take a person who generally shows no expression and for a brief moment, give them a little spark that makes them come alive. From 2011 until May of 2012, I was leader of a group called the Monday Night Singers who, as the name implies, met at the nursing facility in Cisco every Monday night and sang Gospel hymns. One person who made our weekly meetings special was a patient who lived there named Betty, who had a childlike spirit, played with baby dolls, didn't talk plain, and couldn't read or write but when the music started, you could look over and see the biggest glow on her face, her eyes were about the size of tractor tires as she loudly sang along and knew every word.
I saw another example of this over the holidays, my grandmother was down and out because we hadn't had any visitors. We were watching television and didn't like what was on so I changed the channel and happened upon a Rod Stewart Christmas special. About 5 or 10 minutes into it, I glanced over and saw my grandmother perk up and keep time with the music, then she began to sing along.
Music also has the power to bring back memories. For example, Mr. Johnson is in Jake and Dorothy's and an Elvis Presley song comes on the radio. For a moment, he imagines himself once again sporting that ducktail hairstyle and sitting in the driver's seat of the Coupe De Ville he bombed around in during his younger days. As I've mentioned before, when I hear songs like Semisonic's "Closing Time" and "Cowboy, Take Me Away" by the Dixie Chicks, I'm once again a high school student sitting in the Sonic, enjoying a cheeseburger, fries, and a Dr Pepper.
It's hard to imagine what this world would be like without music. I mean, can you picture going to a Cowboys or Rangers game and not hearing Queen's "We Will Rock You" or Gary Glitter's "Rock and Roll" (The "Hey" Song) blasting from the loudspeakers? At the recent Stephenville Music Club meeting, we had several new visitors so our Vice-President was describing our organization as a bunch of people who get together because they love music and she said "if you don't want to be exposed to music, you're in the wrong club and have come to the wrong town" and she's so right because music is one thing that's made Stephenville a great place to be, that's evident each year when folks go to any of the Fine Arts presentations offered by Tarleton and any of the local schools, grace the City Park with almost beyond-capacity attendance for the Texstar concerts, frequent a local nightspot such as City Limits, Bostock's, or Twisted J, and flock in the droves to Melody Mountain Ranch for the Larry Joe Taylor Festival.
What a joy to know that a gentle melody can calm the most stressed out person or fussy infant to the point where they fall asleep, just the lyrics of a song can heal a broken heart, make us think of a loved one, help us show affection for our significant other, inspire us to be better people, and take us back to a time in our life when things were simple. Only music has the power to do all these things and that's what makes it the ultimate therapy.
Tim Turnbeaugh is a musician who was born and reared in Eastland County, but currently resides in Stephenville. Tim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.