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  • Writer's pictureElise

Grease is the Word

I woke up this morning feeling I had a job to do. Having dreamt one of those dreams where I was roaming the world. I remember driving through rolling hills to get to ocean beaches with my husband, and returning to the sand dune mountains to base camp where I discussed with my family friend about traveling the islands off Thailand exchanged ideas on how to travel efficiency, and at a low cost, keeping things simple and local. Somewhere in the dream, I also remember returning to Cornwall, and seeing people's holiday excess and feeling astounded, but humbled that I was never taught to travel in this way.

When I woke up, I felt this overwhelming feeling of freedom. It could be a mix of several things. Seeing friends using and learning new skills on tropical islands through the ultra quick and subliminal medium of social media, the fact that I am now tied in to a full working week and have lost a little bit of freedom, or contrasts between what I have been reading in my music therapy studies.

Social Freedom

I am a child of the child of the post war era. I am a millennial, generation Y, the Net generation. As my birthday is 1987, I was turning into an adult at the turn of the century. So as a millennial from the UK, what does this mean for me?

From where I'm sat, I feel an overall feeling of social freedom. We have free social lives online, we can develop any strengths and interests at any time with other people who have the same interests and desires. We can connect globally with each other at a click of a button and book cheap flights on aeroplanes that ferry us to every far reach of the globe and meet people from cultures very different from our own. This is the world that has been developed by our parents, and is now being driven by us.

Millennials also remember stories from our grandparents about the unbelievable destruction and devastation of the war, and feeling the trauma tricking down through stories and behaviours we learned from our favourite family members. We were the lucky ones, but we also carry the weight of that luck on our shoulders.

Is this the reason why in countries affected by war, music becomes a necessary outlet for human creation? Is this one of the reasons why the music scene in the UK is so diverse and dynamic? Is this why people dance until the early hours and enjoy watching music together as a shared humanity?

Musical Freedom

This week I read a couple of autobiographies about music therapists as part of my studies. It is incredibly insightful to read about the lives of people who make and have made so much progress for the profession of music therapy. Its is still a young profession in it's modern professional state, has only been around since the 1950's, pioneers such as Nordoff and Robbins and many music therapists you read about grew up and worked in the post war era, learning music as a child in churches, homes and traditional environments, and classically trained on instruments like the piano, cello and violin.

For millennials, many children learned traditionally through classical means, and many children started learning through (new) jazz grades. In lessons, children could articulate their freedom on which ever instrument they chose and no longer needed to be confined to one style of music. Children could now learn music from jazz artists from America and the UK, music from the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's.. Blues, be-bop, jazz and swing. Music teaching started to become as diverse as the music itself and young musicians were growing older, learning to play music from the greats such as Charlie Parker and Dizzie Gillespie, among many others.

Now, when you meet fellow musicians at jam nights and festivals, they have wonderful musical pallet from which they have learned, some classically trained, some Jazz, some from modern means, some electronic and digital and some from distant shores. 2010's have been a very interesting place to make music. It represents itself in the music which is being created and released every day. A celebration of musical freedom.

If musical freedom and social freedom are aligned, and like in my dream, we really are free to express who we really are in this era, then I feel we have a job to help share this freedom with others. Many people are not free. Many people don't have the opportunity we do, much like our grand parents, who had to sacrifice their own freedom for the freedom of the next generations. Can we use music to help bridge the gap and offer a helping hand?

If we are able to drive this machine, then the only way we can find fulfilment in this free world, is to assist others in their quests too.

And for some inspirational lyrics our parents listened too, Grease is the word!

Further reading

Jazz in the UK - The British Jazz Invasion

Nordoff and Robbins


Rouse, M. (n.d.). What is Millennials (Generation Y)? - Definition from Retrieved March 13, 2019, from


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