In the spirit of gratitude, love, and music, the Trush family, founders of Daniel’s Music Foundation, tell their story below.
Music transformed our lives. It snuck up on our family unexpectedly – and without planning or warning. If we had been told that one day, we would be the Co-Founders of a national music foundation serving thousands of individuals with disabilities, we would have looked at that person incredulously – and perhaps with some suspicion. That being said, we couldn’t be more grateful for the journey that our new family member, the beautiful spirit of music, has taken us on…
At first, it showed up in a very subtle way. It started when Daniel, our oldest son, was in a 30-day coma after one of his five undetected brain aneurisms exploded at the age of 12. The beeps and noises in his ICU room were unnerving and dissonant, and we turned to music to balance the rhetoric. We felt we could soothe him, as well as ourselves, while offering love and encouragement that we were with him all the way – even when there were no signs of life. Later, when he opened his eyes, we sang to him to let him know our innermost feelings and that we would always be there for him. We were shocked one day when he riffed back to us with a simple, “Doop, Doop.”
As the years passed, we continued to share the power of music with Daniel in physical and occupational therapy while he was learning to get out of his wheelchair and reclaim his life. We learned that music was powerful in Daniel’s relearning to walk again, as well as in his gait training.
Finally, music swung the door wide open, made its grand appearance, and claimed Daniel as one of its own. He had always been musical having played the guitar and trumpet before his injury, but now he was learning the keyboard with one hand and one finger – singing and composing songs. Was this the path that was meant for Daniel and our family? We looked online and there were no recreational music programs for individuals with disabilities in a social setting; therefore, we decided to start one in 2006 – Daniel’s Music Foundation.
Today, we are most grateful for this change of life and have expanded our programs from one keyboard class serving five members in 2006, to serving thousands of individuals. We serve members locally in NYC at our 8,700 square-foot music center, as well as nationally through the DMF Virtual Community.
Last year, in response to the global pandemic, we launched the DMF Virtual Community. During this uncertain time, it was important for us to find new ways to effectively engage our community, as individuals with disabilities disproportionately experience isolation. So, we built a place where individuals of all abilities can learn, connect and celebrate the joy of music together.
It’s fairly simple when you think about Daniel’s Music. It is about 2 things: Music Programs and Disability Awareness.
Our free and fee-based music programs are available to individuals with disabilities, both in person and online. Our Disability Awareness platform encompasses programs and events that help shape a mindset of mutual understanding and respect. Individually, they are both extremely important. Together, they allow us to help deserving people and make a meaningful difference in the world.
Additionally, in 2020, we created The Danny Awards – a global award show that recognizes and highlights the musical talents of individuals with developmental and physical disabilities. The 2nd Annual Danny Awards, sponsored by René Plessner, will be hosted live in NYC and livestreamed online in early 2022. We hope that you can join us next year to celebrate the musical talents of our Award Recipients. Please click on the video below for a glimpse of our honorees’ winning performances.
As an organization, we believe in inclusion, diversity and the indelible ability of all individuals to creatively express themselves. We are also passionately committed to changing perception, diminishing isolation and providing access to music for individuals with disabilities.
If you are interested in learning more about all the ways you can get involved with Daniel’s Music Foundation, including volunteer opportunities, please contact Carla Sullivan, our Marketing & Disability Awareness Director at [email protected] If you would like to contact the Trush Family directly, please email them at [email protected].
Keep music in your life!!!