This I Believe

Katherine - Wichita, Kansas
Entered on November 17, 2006

The Power of Music

Music is a huge part of my life. I started the piano very young, added flute in fifth grade, and piccolo in the eight. Just recently, though, I have started to play the drums. In the spring of 2004, I joined a group called Sheltered Reality, SR for short. The main goal of SR is to help disadvantaged youth, and to aware audiences of problems these young face. We are able to do this through percussive music. Within my two years in the group, I have seen many people change: youth members and their parents, older members and their families, audience members, myself. But most of all, I have seen the lives of those less fortunate change, and all because of music. I believe in the power of music to change someone’s life.

A short time ago, the Central Kansas section of SR played at a small shelter for the homeless, in Hutchinson, Kansas. Originally, we were to use the building for practice, but the request was not communicated properly, and we were told to do a show. Everyone in the shelter was invited, and so the audience was mostly kids, with a few adults.

Since we were prepared for practice, with only five drum sets, we had to take turns playing. I had already played a couple of songs, so I decided to sit the next one out. However, as the song started to play, I got excited, jumped up and grabbed the little girl next to me and we started to dance. As soon as other members saw me dancing with this girl, they began to get the audience involved too. Soon every audience and SR member was dancing. It was so amazing to see these kids smiling and dancing about; something, I was to learn, that did not happen very often.

About half way through the show, Lori, one of the leaders, asks the audience if anyone wanted to share their story of how they came to be in the shelter. A lady volunteered and began to speak. However, as she did, she began to cry. She stopped suddenly and said, “If it wasn’t for your music, I don’t think my kids would have the spirit to go on.” Unfortunately, these kids did not have any school friends because of their living situation. None of them had been able to dance and laugh in a long time because they could not afford even a radio. Their spirits had been crushed because they could not live a ‘normal’ life.

Now, I knew I was doing the right thing by playing music. A mother pointed out that even the simplest action of dancing to music could turn a child’s perception on life around. Music can change a young persons heart, spirit and life. This I believe.