We often choose to push-aside the things we are afraid to talk about.

So, allow me to talk about it.

On Tuesday, October 3rd, my 11-year-old daughter and I attended the Gaelynn Lea event at the Music District. We decided to drive across town and listen to her, not because she won the 2016 NPR tiny desk contest, but because she is a person with physical disabilities who found a way to do what she loves, and in turn, inspires others to do the same.

Gaelynn holds her violin like a mini cello and grasps the bow with a bass bow hold. She also uses a looping pedal for her songs; incredible, considering her pedal is modified to adjust to her physical needs. I’m still amazed at how she does it!

She spoke about physical discrimination and how most people forget that such a thing even exists. Gaelynn eloquently explained her disability, told us stories, made us laugh, played her fiddle and sparked tears of genuine emotion, all while shattering the misconceptions of tangibly disabled musicians in a fast-paced and physically challenging industry.

As Gaelynn’s voice and violin resonated throughout the living room, I could feel how meaningful music is to her life. I couldn’t help but think about all she endures just to be able to play her music and how most people take certain abilities for granted.

It inspired me to practice a little music – every single day. Secretly, I was hoping it would inspire my daughter to do the same.

I am so thankful and happy I went to this event. My daughter and I will remember it forever.

I’m excited about all the OneBeat events that are coming to town and intend to bring my kids to as many as I possibly can. What a great opportunity and teaching-moment for the next generation to witness how music can unify, beautify, enlighten, and heal.

Malini Bartels is a Music District original team member, mother of two intelligent girls, and active community supporter.