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Brian's Beats provides music therapy

by Craig Peterson / Detroit Red Wings
The Victory Band is a group of military veterans from the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit that used music therapy as part of patient recovery. Instruments are donated by the Freedom Hill Foundation.

DETROIT — Music is empowering. Music is an outlet. Music is the sound of emotions.

At 11 years old, Brian Lashoff began learning how to play the guitar, and since then has experienced first-hand the influence music can have on a person. These practices led the Red Wings defenseman to launch his player initiative called Brian’s Beats.

Through the program, Lashoff will donate $50 for every hit he records during the 2014-15 season to benefit the Freedom Hill Foundation to pay for donated musical instruments and music therapy to military veterans at the John D. Dingell VA Medical Center in Detroit.

“(It’s) a program for them to use as kind of an outlet when they get back when they’re going through treatment and stuff when they get back,” Lashoff said. “Just something to do while they’re recovering.”

The Freedom Hill Foundation is a volunteer program with a mission to support music therapy initiatives by providing musical instruments, sheet music, music books, CD’s and various other music and recreational therapy related items to veterans affairs facilities nationwide.

Music therapy is the use of music within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive and social needs of individuals. It provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words and is effective in areas such as physical rehabilitation, increasing a person’s motivation, providing emotional support and an outlet to express feelings.

“Music has been a big part of my life for my family,” Lashoff said. “I play guitar, my brother plays guitar, so does my dad. It’s something that I enjoy doing, my family enjoys doing. When I talked to Christy Hammond (Red Wings community relations manager), I wanted to do something with the military involved because I’ve had some family members in the military. So doing a mixture of both is something I thought would be pretty cool.”

Using music as an outlet is something that Lashoff can relate to. From first-hand experience, the 24-year-old from Albany, N.Y., knows just how powerful music can be. While the rigors of hockey vary greatly from military demands, Lashoff said music is a constructive channel that can alleviate stress and help people unwind.

“I think it’s something that for me, especially playing hockey it’s something that you can do away from the rink that it’s not video games or watching TV,” Lashoff said. “I think it’s something that can kind of take your mind off of things. I think it’s been nice for me, so I thought the mixture of the two, guys coming back from overseas, if they’re going through treatment, like I said it’s almost therapeutic that they can do something that will keep their mind off things.”

To find out more about music therapy and the Freedom Hill Foundation’s efforts to support music therapy, visit freedomhill.org.

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