Ahhh, Thanksgiving. Four of my favorite things all wrapped into one: food, football, fall, and the start of the Christmas season! How can you go wrong?
Unfortunately, just as retailers seem to ignore Thanksgiving and switch right on over to Christmas (KA-CHING!), musicians seem to have given Thanksgiving the shaft too! Quick, how many Thanksgiving songs can you name? That's what I thought.
So we music therapists have to get a bit creative. So I present to you, my favorite "Thanksgiving" song: What A Wonderful World.
"But Andrew, that song doesn't say the word "Thank" once!"
Oh c'mon, read those lyrics! I love this song because it's all about appreciating the things in our life that we all too often take for granted. The trees of green, the skies of blue, babies crying. How often do we see these things every day? How often to we think to ourselves: "Wow! That tree is just beautiful! What a miraculous thing this tree is!"
The answer to that question is far too infrequently. To me, Thanksgiving is a reminder to be thankful for things that we might otherwise take for granted. Sadly, I don't stop and think about how thankful I am to have such a wonderful job working for such a wonderful company, working with wonderful clients in a wonderful city, state and nation. I don't stop and think about how lucky I really am to have a roof over my head, food on my plate, and clothes on my back. Thanksgiving is a reminder that none of this is guaranteed to me, and I should savor every last bit of it.
And isn't that what the song "What a Wonderful World" is all about? Savoring the simple things in our lives?
When I use this song with clients, I usually have them learn American Sign Language translations of the lyrics using this fantastic tool from Michigan State University (who offered the very first academic program in music therapy!) I then have them try to figure out why this song represents the spirit of Thanksgiving so well.
On behalf of The George Center, I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Thanksgiving. May the company be warm, the food filling, the air cool and crisp, and may fortune favor your favorite football team (unless you root for Florida, in which case I'm sorry to inform you that fortune is busy favoring the team in North Florida ;) ).