I am so excited to share this week's story with you! It's been no secret that we have been spending the last few Tuesdays at The Music Room in Leeds, with this week being our last session. We have truly enjoyed our time there and I'm so thankful for the opportunity Jack was given to have been a part of this class.
When I met Mark, I wasn't aware of his background or history. Looking in on his class initially I could tell that he had a lot of passion for what he did and not to mention a lot of patience for the little ones trying to keep up with him. He clearly was skilled in both music and working with others.
I won't give away the details of his story here, but I do want to share why I feel so passionate about music therapy and what Mark is doing for the special needs community.
Like Jack, I was immediately drawn in to the power of this class. Why though? I mean, yes I LOVE music and always have. My mom was a music major and I grew up watching her play piano and sing. My dad was a drummer in a band growing up. While my mom jammed out to the Top 40s and gospel hymns, my Dad was the first to introduce me to MTV. But, there was something more to this. I've spent the past 2 weeks or so really thinking about it, and I now know what it is.
My entire business is based on storytelling and how everyone has a story. No matter the age, race, gender, religion, disability, or any other possible defining characteristic, a person ALWAYS has a story. Their story may change every now and then. It may be added to or taken from. It may define who they are or may be the entire reason they make every effort to be something different, but either way, we all have one. I try and help people find their story and hopefully give them the confidence and courage to share it. Storytelling is therapeutic.
Then I realized the connection. Everyone has a song. When you look at someone, and really look at them, you can feel it. Some have a sad, haunting song about them, some peaceful, some radiate something so fun and positive you want to jump on the table and dance. There are some whose song is just a tad bit loud and makes you want to find the nearest exit out of their rave. Others are Dave Matthews in the summer (am I showing my age here :)). Mark is helping those of all abilities find their song. Mark is a storyteller just with a different medium. Like storytelling, music is therapeutic.
Jack has a story. He has a long story actually, but he also has a song in his heart. When you are around Jack enough or are familiar with him, you know his song is very Maroon 5/Bruno Mars. His is funky and fun. It's cheeky. It's Pharrell's Happy. It may change and occasionally sound like the Trans-Siberian Orchestra, but that's just Jack.
Next time you see someone, I guarantee you are going to pick up on this. Their song may be so obvious, but in some cases you may never know what it is until you start talking to them. And just like sharing your story, you never know whose song is the same as yours. When you are drawn to someone next time and can't figure out what it is about them, think about what song THEY are playing.
Thank you Mark for all the wonderful things you are doing and I wish you nothing but success in all you do. You have a true talent and I am so thankful you didn't let anything hold you back from pursuing your dream. It's because of that dream that others can share in the power of music.
My name is Mark Lucas, I am an accomplished musician, award winning lyricist and expert percussionist. I was born and raised in Birmingham, Alabama. I have been a musician all my life, ever since I was able to pick up a drumstick! Today, I have more than 18 years experience playing, writing and teaching music. I've become an accomplished percussionist, guitarist and songwriter.
I hold a Bachelor's Degree in Music with a concentration in Percussion from Jacksonville State University and I'm currently a professional musician and Music Therapist. I create and implement groundbreaking music programs for school systems, community centers and individuals.
My story begins when I was only 13 years old. About one year after I started performing at church, suddenly I started losing control of my muscles. It was the first in what would become numerous, daily seizures brought on by epilepsy.
I can remember the sense of impending doom at school knowing that at any second I could space out, lose control and start making loud noises. I honestly doesn't like to dwell on my epilepsy, but that's where I first developed a profound empathy for others.
After enduring seven years of unrelenting seizures, I took the risk and endured brain surgery.
Sometimes the deepest empathy is born from the most painful experiences.
The surgery did leave me seizure-free, but I lost a great deal of motor function in my body. I found physical, emotional and spiritual healing through music. It took time for me to re-master the ability to play with both hands. Through music, my family and a clear mental focus I was able to regain what I had lost through surgery. This long and painful life experience of epilepsy is why I have a music career predicated on helping others and bringing music in to the lives of those who may never have the chance to play otherwise.
Today I love sharing my story everywhere inspiring others and serving those with special needs.
Submitted by: Mark Lucas