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The Healing Power of Music

Guitars for Vets logo overtop a man strumming a guitar.

By David Burden
VSC Project Manager

The therapeutic use of musical instruments can be traced back to King David, the sweet psalmist of Israel, a mighty warrior, and a great king. King David was a man of war and, no doubt, faced many traumatic events throughout his life.

Interestingly enough, David played the stringed instrument and wrote music that had a calming effect on King Saul. King Saul displayed severe symptoms of a troubled mind in which he would become violent and paranoid toward others. Fortunately, David’s musical skills brought mental stability to King Saul. Similarly, to David and Saul, music can positively impact the modern-day warrior as it has throughout history.

According to Chad Cooper, in 1945, the War Department developed a program that would help recondition and treat wounded service members while hospitalized. Subsequently, music therapy has thrived as a vital treatment piece to help Veterans readjust from combat trauma and find normalcy.

VA medical centers and treatment facilities across the country have provided hundreds, if not hundreds of thousands, treatment sessions through board-certified music therapists.

Northport VA Medical Center in Northport, NY, is a prime example of a successful music therapy program. In 2020, the center won the Gold Medal from the National Veterans Creative Arts Festival. Peter Mohan, a Marine Corp Veteran, credits the program for helping him to find healing and now successfully plays and writes guitar music.

Northport’s creative arts therapist, Tracey Enright, describes the program as person-centered with individualized music therapy programs and music-related wellness services. Educating and offering a variety of skills in music, art, dance, drama, and creative writing are excellent vehicles to enhance self-expression and self-empowerment.

For the Veterans Service Commission (VSC), we are thankful for Frank McFadden expressing a desire and passion for bringing guitar lessons to Summit County Veterans. Frank laid the groundwork in 2020 with Fret for Vets, and later, he and David Burden were able to create a Guitars 4 Vets (G4V) Akron Chapter.

Because the VSC houses VetCenter Counseling services, we are considered a hybrid hosting site for a G4V Chapter. The Chapter meets on Thursdays from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at 1060 E. Waterloo Rd. Akron. If you are interested in taking classes or volunteering your time as an instructor, please get in touch with Frank McFadden at 234-716-6796 or David Burden at 330-643-7636.

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