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Typical Day

Melody Trumpetvine awakens each morning with a song in her heart and a lilt to her step as she waltzes across her bedroom floor to the bathroom. Even her morning tinkle is reminiscent of yesterday's breakthrough with her young patient, Stone. She knows that she won't see Stone until next week but she hopes he's able to incorporate their session of "rain stick dancing with the stars" (his own creation). He seemed to really be making progress when attempting to scowl at an invisible judge.

Melody enjoys her breakfast of Rice Krispies, glances over her day calendar, grabs her bag of maracas, bongos, bells, harmonicas, and her trusty guitar, Twiggy, and hops into her Hyundai Sonata. It’s a scant seven miles to her first stop of the day, Zac Efron Elementary.

After arriving, Melody checks in with the front desk folks in her chirpy way, then skips her way to her office for the morning, the auditorium. The piano is already there and she unpacks all her things around her: her music player, her iPod, some headphones, and all the other instruments. Her first group of kids is scheduled to come in at any time.

And so they begin to arrive: A couple of third graders gamely make their way toward the maracas and harmonica. A sullen fifth grader sits at the piano bench and stares at nothing. A new student, brought in by her mother who introduces herself as Isabella Imperious, lets Melody know, right off—through her body language (something Melody is very good at picking up)—as well as her words that her precious 6-year-old will start using words that humans understand when she is good and ready.

Melody smiles her great accordion smile, tells mom not to worry, shimmies her out the door and gently takes little Feral Fiona's hand while she sits on the floor and invites the other kids to do so as well. The two third graders are banging away at their instruments and while that might be okay for a regular music class, that isn't what this is. While Melody asks these two if they'd place the instruments where they found them and please join the group, Feral Fiona starts making noises that even Bagheera and Shere Khan wouldn't be able to make sense of.

"Fiona, we are all glad that you could join our group today. Isn't that right, children? But we have a certain way of introducing ourselves at the beginning of each day so that everyone can get a sense of everyone else."

"I'll start." Melody takes her guitar, strums a few bars of her usual A Pretty Girl is Like a Melody song and then says to one of the third graders, "Ludwig? Would you like to introduce yourself in a way that makes sense for Fiona?" (At this point Fiona is still making animal noises and Melody's normal human reaction would be to either run out of the room with her hands clapped over her ears or cork that kid's mouth...but she's used to this, and she's a professional and so she just ignores Fiona and concentrates her energy on Ludwig.)

Ludwig walks over to the piano, doesn't say a word to the fifth grader (the one who took up residence there at the beginning of class), and runs his right hand, from the lowest A to the highest C, striking almost every single key (all without touching the other kid sitting there). Fiona stops her screeching and looks on in awe. Even Ludwig looks proud of himself.

Now the class has begun and after each student is able to do at least one thing with either their voice or an instrument, class is almost over. As Mrs. Imperious struts her way in to fetch Fiona, she sees her daughter reach out to Melody's guitar and gentry strum it; Fiona thinks she might even be able to hear a slight hum coming from the little girl. Class is over for today. It was a good morning.

Over lunch at a park nearby, Melody looks over the afternoon's schedule: A visit to a rehabilitation hospital to pay another visit to a less-than-charming elderly gentleman who is recovering from a stroke, then a walk across the street to the hospital to see if she can assist an occupational therapist with a woman—a well-known TV personality—who's been suffering from seizures and has apparently (and hopefully, temporarily) lost her ability to speak. The last visit of the day is at the private home of a young autistic boy who will only move in a non-jerky manner when music is playing.

Then it's time to head home and prepare for the evening's events. It might be a night out, it might be a night in. Whatever it is, it will probably involve a bit of quiet.

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