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Mary's Moments Blog Post

Our Music Journey with Deanna

In a world where understanding and acceptance often take center stage, there are unsung heroes who tirelessly dedicate themselves to bringing joy, growth, and a sense of community to others.  Whose passion transforms, a radiant force behind the rhythm of positivity.  One such person is our friend, Deanna.

 

Who is Deanna ?


A musical soul with an infectious smile that warms the hearts of everyone she encounters. Deanna is not just a teacher; she is a catalyst for joy and connection in the lives of neurodiverse individuals. Her journey is a testament to the transformative power of music and the human spirit.


Music has a lot of benefits. First off, it can make you feel better when you're sad or stressed. Listening to your favorite songs can lift your mood and help you relax. It's like a friend that's always there for you when you need cheering up. Also, music can help with focus and concentration. When you're studying or working on something, having some background music playing can help to stay on track and be more productive. It's like a little boost for your brainpower!


Deanna works together with her husband JP.  In addition to a successful entertainment career, performing together at weddings, wineries, restaurants and special events, each one touches participants in their own special way, in our neurodiverse community. Every week they engage various groups, both in person and online, using music as a universal language that transcends barriers.


Deanna and JP understand that different people have different needs and preferences when it comes to music. For some, the soothing melodies can calm their senses and provide a sense of comfort. Others may find joy and excitement in the rhythm and beats, allowing them to express themselves in ways they might find challenging otherwise. With their understanding and dedication, Deanna and JP ensure that everyone in our community has the opportunity to experience the beauty and benefits of music.


We tend to spend more time with Deanna based on our busy schedules but do love the fun sessions with JP as well. Both of them have big hearts that shine week to week.


Deanna’s classes are a harmonious blend of song, instruments, and boundless enthusiasm. She works tirelessly to create an inclusive environment where everyone, regardless of their abilities, feels welcomed and valued.  She creates an atmosphere where individuals can express themselves, connect with others, and experience the sheer joy of making music together.  She provides a safe space where participants not only learn new skills but also build confidence and a sense of belonging.


Notable is her patience, kindness, and a special innate intuition. When faced with a participant struggling to join a drum circle, she doesn't just observe from a distance. Instead, she sits beside them, tapping the drum on their behalf, encouraging their participation with unwavering support.


One particularly touching moment showcases Deanna’s commitment to inclusion. Sensing a participant's hesitation, she gently places his hand on her wrist, allowing him to feel the vibrations of the drum. This simple yet profound gesture not only creates a sense of connection but also empowers individuals to be an integral part of the larger group.


The great thing about music is that it does bring people together. Whether it's going to a concert with friends or playing in a band, music helps us connect with others. It's like a language that everyone can understand, no matter where they're from. Plus, making music can be a fun way to express yourself. Singing, playing an instrument, or even just tapping along to the beat allows emotions to flow and sparks creativity.

 

Years ago, music literally changed the trajectory and outcome for my daughter.  When she was very young and couldn’t walk or talk, she could hum and rock to different rhythms.  We took that que and implemented therapeutic goals through music.  It was always an integral part of her life.  Until she reached a certain age and there were barriers to participation in the community.  We continued to listen to music daily at home and work with her.  However, when we met Deanna a few years ago, a whole new world opened up once again.  The joy and excitement of seeing her each week is over the top.  My daughter lights up just talking about the next class or seeing her online.  We are living proof that music has an incredibly positive impact.


Health benefit?   Listening to music can actually be good for your health, especially when it comes to something called the vagus nerve. This nerve is like a superhighway that connects your brain to your body, helping to control lots of important functions. When you listen to music, it can stimulate this nerve, making you feel more relaxed and calm.  


Both listening to music and singing can exercise the vagus nerve, but they do it in slightly different ways.

When you listen to music, especially soothing or rhythmic tunes, it stimulates through your ears. The melodies and beats can help regulate your heart rate and reduce stress, benefiting your overall well-being.


On the other hand, singing can also stimulate the vagus nerve, but through the vibration of your vocal cords. When you sing, the vibrations travel through your body, including your throat and chest, which also can activate it. This often has similar calming effects as listening to music and may also improve your breathing and mood.


Whether you're listening to your favorite songs or belting out a tune, both activities can be beneficial for exercising the vagus nerve and promoting relaxation. So, next time you're feeling stressed or anxious, just turn on some music.

 

My musical journey with Deanna


Deanna has been instrumental in helping me to bring some of my most personal writings to life through music as well. 


A few years back, I had an accident resulting in a serious concussion. After that, some of the simplest of things were hard for me to do. I struggled quite a bit - it was a tough and challenging time in my life. 


Then one day, a few years ago, when I was feeling really low, I happened to overhear my daughter's online music class with Deanna. Seeing how much joy music brought her and knowing its positive effects, I decided to sign up for singing lessons.


Pre-accident, I enjoyed writing. When my oldest daughter shared her engagement news, I felt inspired to write her a special, heartfelt note. As I continued with my music lessons, a thought struck me—what if I turned my words into song? With Deanna's unwavering support, we worked together to make it happen.  It was like a breath of fresh air for my soul.


I wrote and recorded a song for my daughter a couple years ago.  Deanna and her husband JP worked their magic with instrumental, setting the tone and helping to enhance my vocals so that I was able to sing and execute it successfully It was a very heartwarming and memorable moment dancing to that song with my daughter on her wedding day.


I then went on to write three more songs which were also recorded recently.  One for my youngest daughter, my grandson, and my husband.  Each holding a special place in my heart.  Together Deanna and I have created some beautiful heartfelt pieces that I and my family will cherish for years to come.


In our world - to participants, parents, and caregivers, Deanna is more than just a music teacher — she is a shining light. Her impact extends far beyond the notes played and songs sung; it reaches the hearts of those who experience the transformative power of her passion and dedication.


Deanna, our friend in music, with a heart as vibrant as her melodies, is a living testament to the potential for positive change in the lives of neurodiverse individuals and their families.  The impact she has is immeasurable, and her journey serves as an inspiration for everyone who knows her.


Love you Deanna 🩷

(and JP !)


 

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