When I say, “Hear the Music,” I am not necessarily only talking about musical instruments and the sounds they produce. It’s a metaphor that means so much more. Music from the sound of instruments is only one way to express yourself, but there are other ways. “Hear the Music” is my way of saying, “listen to what is being said,” which I learned from my brother. It took a long time to come to an understanding of who he is, I am still learning and it may change at any moment. He has taught me so much, just by being who he is. This metaphor also refers to taking your time about coming to conclusions, treating people with respect, and having an open mind about the differences we ALL have.
Years ago when my brother Nathaniel, also known as “The Soloist” or “Tony Ocean,” depending on the day, first became ill he really made an effort to take medication and get treatment for the illness that changed his behavior, which ultimately changed his life and his dream to be a successful classical musician and play in an orchestra. He wanted more than anything to get better, so in the onset of schizophrenia he fought and he was a warrior to live life the best way he knew how, with all that was going on in his mind. At that time, one medication prescribed for him and he remembers how he felt while taking it, was called “thorazine.” After a few months of that therapy he was so lethargic and gained weight and I noticed he was not playing music that much anymore, if at all. Later when he was asked why he had stopped taking medication, he said, “When I was taking that medication, I couldn’t HEAR the MUSIC!” I interpreted that as being his way of saying, “listen to me, these meds are not helping me, instead they are taking away my creativity.” When you see him playing music he seems to say, “listen to me, I am sharing my inner most and I appreciate YOU – hearing the music.” Though medicine has changed and improved, the anxiety of the possibility of not being able to “HEAR the MUSIC,” has placed a barrier between him and the effort to even try.
For Tony, music has been his escape before and after illness. It was and is the way he communicates and gets his point across.