I wish you could hear the violin as the open strings resonate throughout the cell unit. To watch the ladies in the jail gleefully sit on their yoga mats and prepare for a special time of music and movement.
Last year, I had this idea of combining live music and yoga together. I did for a few sessions with the gym instructors but one day passed by a jail and felt this calling to bring music to inmates. After a few phone calls and visits, I had my first chance to give a concert for inmates in a gymnasium. I played music ranging from sing-along tunes to classical. Some of the inmates shared that they had never heard the violin live before and didn’t realize the variety of music you could play. Others sang along and as the concert went on I wasn’t fazed by the jumpsuits or security guards walking throughout the room. I announced song after song and stood on stage talking to the inmates as people in an audience. I said that the music was for them. I shared that I play for as many people as I can because of my grandmother’s battle with Alzheimer’s and seeing her smile whenever I play the violin for her. I told them that I hoped the music could do the same as it does for her.
After playing for my friend’s yoga class, I shared my experience giving a concert for the inmates in the jail. I said that it would be cool if we could bring a session for the inmates once during a holiday or special time out of the year. I thought about the moment when I heard one of the ladies tonight say to her friend that she should be excited about the session.
I have to be honest. Playing violin for the sessions in jail is one of the most taxing things I do. I play for nearly an hour trying to create music reflecting the movements, atmosphere, and doing my best to help create a safe space. What I’m gifted from God to do is awesome and I’m proud of that. I go into the jail with a mission to share music. I don’t get paid to do it and it takes a huge chunk out of my time and energy, but I believe it’s the right thing to do. I’m not expecting to get repaid. I had this idea and it seemed like a longshot, but I didn’t care. I wanted to try and tonight we had a full class. We may even have the chance to expand the sessions to different detention centers/jails in the area.
I know it’s not easy to go to a jail and share your time/talent. I share because people in jails are people too. Often forgotten like those in nursing homes. One of the cool things though is that the violin and yoga sessions have helped the ladies feel safe. I’m thankful I can make a difference using the violin and hope others feel encouraged to serve others in uncomfortable places using their talents.