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The Powerful Connection Between Disability and Music

A few days ago, I had the absolute privilege of attending the final stop of the National Art Centre’s Orchestra‘s Truth in Our Time tour. This concert was beyond exciting for what feels like a billion reasons: it was the final stop of their tour, the truth in our time theme was, well, timely, and this was the first time in two years that I’ve heard live music! And above all? I’ve been dreaming of going to one of these concerts since I first fell in love with Ottawa at age 14 on a choir trip to MusicFest Canada.

I think the relationship between music and disability is severely underrated. The disability community has its own culture and history, and so many diverse ways of communicating and understanding the world around us. Becoming disabled challenged how I saw myself fitting into the world, and challenged how I could express these perspectives and experiences. Even before I was disabled, music was essential to expressing myself, sharing feelings with others, and feeling connected with something larger than me. And once I became disabled? Music was lifesaving. While I was also involved with musical theatre and choral music for over eight years, concert band saved my life on multiple occasions – and I’d love to take you through them.

The first time concert band saved my life was in grade 6. Overwhelmed by my depression and generalized anxiety disorder, I was having difficulty with my attendance, my academic performance, and just generally everything. While I absolutely dreaded classes, I kept going to school specifically for concert band. There, I could challenge myself every day to try new things, improve my skills, and work harder at something I truly loved. And the best part was that everyone else there loved it too.

communication life feelings

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