Recently, it’s been unclear for me to answer the typical cocktail party question, “What do you do?” Sometimes I say, “I’m a concert pianist”. Other times I say, “I own a music school”. Sometimes it’s “I help improve the lives of dogs.” or “I’m a recording artist.” Every morning before I start my day, I handwrite on an index card – “I love combining my passion for music with my love of dogs. Through a Dog’s Ear is helping improve the lives of dogs worldwide.”
I was honored to receive an invitation to the first symposium of the newly formed Sound and Music Alliance (SAMA). Joshua Leeds and I were discussing it and I asked him why I was included on the guest list for this invitation only event. SAMA advances the intentional use and transformative power of sound and music. As a dog lover, concert pianist, music teacher, and entrepreneur, I didn’t see where I fit into their mission of affirming the diversity of disciplines that utilize sound and music and advocates its use in health, education, research, technology, science and the hollistic arts.
It was in this discussion with Joshua that I realized that while I am still a concert pianist, music teacher, entrepreuner, and dog lover, all of those skills and loves have now lead me to be a therapeutic soundworker specializing in creating intentional music and sound for animals. I am essentially a music therapist for dogs. I educate their owners in the importance of observing their human soundscape and noticing how it affects their canines (as well as the humans). And I train dog owners in how to add music to their sound environment so that it improves their dog’s behavior and the quality of their lives.
I had no idea the new direction my life would take when I approached Joshua seven years ago about the idea of applying his psychoacoustic principles to dogs. I certainly never would have guessed that it would have caused me to expand my career. But, if combining my love of dogs with my passion for music has lead me to the field of therapeutic soundwork, I’m certainly enjoying the exploration. Incidentally, I said yes to the invitation to attend the SAMA symposium next month. I will be connecting with therapists, clinicians, educators, musicians, researchers, sound and music practitioners, indigenous teachers and other like minded people. I look forward to sharing my experience of the mid-April symposium with readers here.