If you have read Stories of Music, Volume 1, you may already know how this anthology series came about. But, for those who are reading Volume 2 first, I’d like to share a bit about the project’s beginnings. I first became intrigued with people’s musical experiences when I read my great-grandmother

Gwendolyn’s autobiography, From Alpha to Omega. In it, she described growing up in rural Missouri in the early 1900s and how local fiddle players would frequently entertain the community. I didn’t find this at all unusual, but what caught me by surprise was that when the weather was too bad to gather in person, the fiddlers would play their music through the telephone party line. Folks would simply take their phones off the receivers and listen in; it was like a form of radio for them. Gwendolyn’s story prompted my curiosity about how people experience music, as did some

experiences of my own. I come from a very musical family. Growing up, my siblings and I enjoyed regular bedtime

performances from our parents, who would play guitar and sing us some of their favorites: “Brown- Eyed Girl” by Van Morrison, “Teach Your Children” by Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, and “Danny’s Song” by Loggins & Messina, to name a few. My siblings and I would sing along, and frequently, we would make up songs of our own, albeit they were silly songs created merely for our own amusement. Us kids learned various musical instruments over the years—some of us stuck with it, some

did not. Regardless, we were connected through music, especially my brother Brandon and I, and we continued playing guitar and singing together into adulthood. When he unexpectedly passed away in a car accident in January of 2008, I was devastated. It was through music that I was able to cope with losing him. I continued writing music over the years, and in 2008, after Brandon died, I wrote several new songs that he seemed to inspire. I enjoy playing those songs still, but I’m most grateful for the creative nights I spent writing them because it felt like he was with me, encouraging me to keep making music. The impact that music has had on my family and me led to the idea for Stories of Music. I

wanted to learn how music was affecting others, to experience accounts of music changing lives. To find these stories, I put out my first call for submissions in early 2015, tapping into writing and art communities worldwide. By the submission deadline, I had collected more than 1,000 works for consideration—from stories of using music to reunite people after war and teaching music to prison inmates to learning to cope with depression through music and experiencing other cultures through


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