There’s something truly amazing about music. Listening to music makes neurons fire like there are fireworks going off in your brain. As humans, it’s in our blood, why else would your heart keep a beat like the steadiest drummer around?
Recently Verti was visiting Easterseals of Southeastern Pennsylvania to prepare for an event we were collaborating with them on called #GivingTuesday. When we offered to volunteer for the day and gave a few suggestions of things we could do, one of the activities was for me to play my ukulele. The response was…and I quote: “YES YES YES!!!! The kiddos would LOVE that, they just come alive with music! They will love it!!!!! Let’s discuss details later but YES!!!!!”
Now let me be the first to admit. I’m no pro. I’ve only been playing a couple of years and my voice isn’t exactly Sinatra-esque. That said I know how powerful music can be because I’ve seen it first hand.
Easterseals of Southeastern Pennsylvania utilizes music therapy on a regular basis. Music therapy serves an educational purpose and provides a functional language. It also gives the kids a chance to explore their boundaries of silliness and joy as they sing along in a different voice or use a new instrument to play along.
When we arrived at Easterseals of Southeastern Pennsylvania I was eager to see the kiddos reactions. Some of the kids are nonverbal, others have limited to no mobility. Some of the kids need nurses with them 24/7 because they have such severe physical disabilities. I didn’t really know what to expect. They didn’t disappoint. I saw eyes light up across the rooms as I began to strum. Big smiles spread across faces as the music filled the room and the aides sang and clapped along. Some kiddos strummed along on an extra ukulele or were joyfully shaking egg shakers I’d brought along. Those who had mobility, jumped around or danced. It didn’t matter that I wasn’t a pro. They didn’t care if I hit a wrong note, they didn’t mind if I sang off key. It was the simple gift of music they happily enjoyed. The whole day was magical and moving.
Easterseals of Southeastern Pennsylvania does remarkable things to improve the lives of children with disabilities and their families. We at Verti are proud to work with Easterseals on #GivingTuesday and to be able to help some of the members of the Philadelphia community who need it most. Even if that help is just to get the kiddos smiling and dancing by strumming a ukulele. Here's a short video we made while we were visiting: