• Mai Abe, MT-BC

Connection, Loss, and Music

The beauty of music is that everyone has a connection with it, and can connect with each other on a visceral level. It can be easy to forget sometimes, especially as a musician. I obsess and stress over the notes, the rhythms, and the exactness of it all. Even though my entire job is based on connection and authenticity, I fail to do just that BECAUSE I’m so focused on connecting and being authentic. I’m so preoccupied with asking the right questions, or presenting the intervention JUST right, or being the “perfect music therapist.”

I recently lost a friend to cancer. The first interaction I ever had with him was over music. I had just moved to a new city and didn’t know very many people. I ended up at a BBQ in my neighborhood and heard someone playing Anderson Paak on the speakers (if you’ve never heard of him, I highly recommend the album Malibu). I immediately demanded to know who was playing one of my favorite artists, and that’s how I met Alejandro. Alejandro (aka Ale) was one of the kindest, most loving, and welcoming people I’ve ever had the pleasure of knowing. He always reached out to me to ask if I had listened to the latest Anderson Paak song or album. He always remembered to ask me how my latest music therapy endeavor was going, and showed me the utmost support no matter what. I never saw him without a smile on his face, and he showed me what it was like to live with unconditional, boundless love. I miss him.


Reminiscing about my friendship with Ale reminds me how beautiful and magical music can be. How lucky am I to have had this connection with this amazing human being? How can I take his authenticity and ability to connect and implement that into my own life? None of my training or schooling prepared me for the raw feelings of grief. The loss of a friend reminded me that knowledge is important, but being present will always lead to a more genuine connection. Isn’t that what we’re all here for?

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