What Prisoners Taught Me About Music Appreciation

What Prisoners Taught Me About Music Appreciation

Returning to Walker State Faith and Character Based Prison this past week once again left me with more than I brought in. Joining me on the hour-long recital was Nashville cellist and social worker, Michael Samis. The recital began like it did the last time I played for the men in Walker State: a sample was played and initial impressions were freely shared by the 130 men in the prison gym. The impressions from the prisoners as they shared their thoughts of each piece were touching and I will share those in … Continue Reading

Allowing Voices To Be Heard

Allowing Voices To Be Heard

It’s been nearly a month since performing a recital in Walker State Faith and Character Based Prison. The experience was no doubt memorable, but after finally reading all of the surveys prisoners filled out and notes jotted down by prisoner mentor, Alan Bonderud, it was clear we had something uniquely special. The reoccurring theme on the prisoners’ surveys was the impact they felt sharing their emotions or interpretations while experiencing each musical work. There was a distinct value placed on the living composers works and that sentiment was also mentioned a number … Continue Reading

Inmate

“Tonight I didn’t feel like an inmate”

It is next to impossible to sum up the feelings, the emotional impact, and the shared experiences at the recent violin recital in prison. Performing at Walker State Faith and Character Based Prison was one of those career highlights you don’t really expect, but are utterly grateful for. I published an article leading up to the performance, covering the plan, the reasons, and the hope for sincere impact in the lives of people who are working hard at self-improvement in a challenging environment and/or time in their lives. My expectations were exceeded. … Continue Reading

Medium Security, Maximum Benefit

Medium Security, Maximum Benefit

For about two years I’ve been curious about bringing music into a prison. It started with the questions: Does music heal? Does music change lives? Does music inspire? Bringing music to a population of people in a place to be “corrected” makes for the right time and place to offer music for the sake of healing, changing, and inspiring. Prison performances are not new ideas by any means. Many orchestras and chamber groups are already doing this. But I’m going solo, violin solo that is, and it is exhilarating and terrifying at … Continue Reading

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