There are many ways we can express ourselves. If you forced me to narrow the choice to three, I would select art, nature and music. Your selection may be different from mine. But this Jimmy Carter quote makes me think others have similar views.

Music, art and nature quote

Let me inspire you to reflect on your top three ways for self-expression by:

  1.  Looking at my experiences with each element. Each includes challenges and beauty.
  2. Sharing where these elements can meet. Try them for yourself or include them in you music therapy toolkit.

My three elements

My love of art has been a bumpy road. I realized in first grade I was judged by what I created. A frowning face stamped on a coloring project marked the moment. Yet, I continued to delight in seeing art work by others especially in museums and at fairs. I continued to love doodling and exploring. It wasn’t until my level one GIM training that I truly embraced art as a powerful for expressing myself.

Nature has always been a little of a love – hate relationship. I REALLY disliked weed picking duty as a child. But, I loved eating the produce or smelling the flowers.

My parents shared the beauty of nature through family trips.  National and state parks we frequent vacation destinations. Sunday afternoons often included walks along country roads. I’m sure I and my siblings complained a time or two during these activities.

As an adult I love those times I can escape into my garden. Tilling allows me to mentally run over many irritants in my life. Seeing flowers bloom and sharing the bounty of the garden brings me joy.

Music was my first love of the three. As a toddler I spent hours creating songs while swinging. To this date, I can lose track of time while playing piano.

Not that making music is all positive. There aren’t many people who get excited playing long tones on their instrument. Developing technical chops takes time. As a music therapist you know the blisters and bruises that may go with learning.

The meeting of art, nature and music

The meeting of art, nature and music

Art, nature and music are amazing in their own unique ways. Finding ways to use two of them together in expressing yourself is powerful. Finding ways to combine three elements in expressing yourself is magical. Here is a starter list.

Combining two elements

  • Art and nature:
    • Pick an item in nature. For example – rivers. Explore how various visual artist have captured that element in the visual arts.
    • Photograph or draw various items in nature.
  • Art and music:
    • Draw or paint while listening to music.
    • Create music inspired by a painting.
    • Provide live music for an artist while they create.
    • Attend a music performance in a gallery.
  • Nature and music:
    • Sit outside and play music.
    • Sit outside and listen to music
    • Using your voice or instruments, imitate sounds in nature
    • Arrange flowers while listening to music
    • Garden while listening to music

Combining three elements

There are many ways to combine the three elements. Give this one a try.

  1. Use the template from Recreation Therapy Ideas as a base.
  2. Select a medium to use (paints, markers, pastels, etc.).
  3. Select a piece of music to play as you add color to the page.

Share your top three ways for self-expression in the comments below. How would you combine them?