Finding the Joy of Communication through Music

Jessica does not speak in words; her communication is through gestures, facial expressions, body language, and music.  Jessica brings the joy of music wherever she goes.

Jessica and the Joy of Music - Jessica playing the piano as a toddler and as an adult
Jessica playing the piano as a toddler and as an adult

Last week, I was asked to create a presentation about Jessica and the upcoming book Raising Jess: A Story of Hope. I started searching through my stack of presentations created when I was working.  

I retired in 2018 as the Director of the Western New York Early Childhood Direction Center, administered by Kaleida Health . When I was working, I would create presentations quickly; it was part of my job.  

Now I am Blog Writing-Nana, and creating presentations is no longer part of my weekly activities. I searched through my old stuff because not only do I hoard Sanitizers, but I also stockpiled my work lectures. Was I planning a second career or was it the old adage, “don’t throw it out, you may need it one-day” mantra that Marie Kondo scorns? I never asked if it sparked joy; I just clicked and saved – OOPs!

But joy Is precisely what I found.

Jessica started music therapy after I attended a presentation by Buffalo Hearing and Speech detailing the therapy’s positive results. I immediately knew this treatment was a match for our singing, musical daughter.

We signed Jessica up for her first lesson which opened a new world of music.

Jessica’s initial sessions consisted of piano banging and screams of joy. As the years passed, she developed beautiful skills. At first, we would wheel Jessica’s wheelchair to the piano, but she quickly learned to wheel herself to the piano in anticipation of music and song.

Banging on the piano keys turned into isolating her index finger and accepting guidance as she played familiar tunes. When her therapist or I held Jessica’s finger over the keyboard, we felt her hand moving in the direction of the next note! Her accuracy was not there, but Jessica’s intention was spot on target.

AN Incredible Duet

One highlight of Music Therapy was a duet that I was fortunate enough to witness and film. Jessica’s therapist, Jenna, played “Rock A Bye Baby“, and Jessica started humming the melody, thus creating a beautiful duet.

Yes, there were no words, but there was communication! Jessica was connecting, learning, and performing music.

Jessica and the Joy of Music

The Pandemic halted Jessica’s Music Therapy, and we look forward to starting up when it feels safe. In the meantime, we will experience communication with Jessica through Zoom and Facetime and encourage music.

Footnote – Turned out to be a good thing that I saved my presentations. It did bring joy. If you are interested in attending the 1-hour presentation on the upcoming book Raising Jess: A Story of Hope, please click on this Facebook link to register or if you do not have Facebook, please click this link

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