Monday, November 19, 2012

Combat therapy one key at a time

Pianist Teaches Veterans How to Play Instruments for Therapy
ABC News
Nov. 19, 2012

Cpl. Tim Donley was on patrol in Afghanistan Feb. 9 when he stepped on an improvised explosive device. The blast caused the loss of both his legs and severe injury to his arm.

But when Donley stepped on stage at the 6th annual Stand Up for Heroes benefit this month, it wasn't his wounds the crowd noticed, but his remarkable voice and ability to rule the stage.

Donley, like many other veterans, is thankful for the gift of music, which can lift a veteran out of pain, depression and boredom. That is the goal of Music Corps, a program at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md., started by the pianist Arthur Bloom.

Bloom teaches hundreds of wounded warriors to play instruments as a form of therapy.

"We try to figure out what people's backgrounds are, their musical interests and then whatever they want to do -- we try to move heaven and earth to make that happen," Bloom said.

"When they were injured, everything gets blown up," Bloom said. "Their life gets blown up in every sense of the word. And what we are trying to do, is not just come in and do 'Kumbaya,' but to re-inject a sense of excellence and working on musical material that is challenging and productive and rigorous, so that over time they see real progress."
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