The project's founder, Robert Henne, dreamed up the program about five years ago after music helped in his recovery from a serious car accident.

Carlos Alvarez/Getty Images

For Struggling Veterans, Strumming Guitars Can Help with the Healing Process

Talk about music to their ears.

In Texas, a group of veterans at the San Antonio Military Medical Center is making beautiful music, thanks to volunteers with the Warrior Cry Music Project.

The nonprofit gives instruments — guitars, drums, trumpets and more — to injured service members, then provides them with music lessons.

Robert Henne started the organization five years ago because he believes playing instruments helped him recover from injuries he sustained in a car accident. At the time, his wife was working as an Air Force doctor at the Walter Reed Medical Center, and he wondered if the same process could help wounded veterans recover.

As the veterans work through the inevitable squawks and stumbles that come along with playing an instrument, they also learn to overcome other challenges. “It’s not just learning to play music,” Henne tells the San Antonio News-Express. “It helps reprogram what’s going on in the head.”

The former soldiers agree. Army veteran Ricardo Cesar suffers nerve damage in his fingers, but plucking the guitar is helping with his recovery. “Just parking here and knowing I’m coming in here lowers my blood pressure,” Cesar says. “This is my time. This is my therapy. Now when I’m starting to transition (to civilian life), at home, I can shut the world out and start playing my guitar, rather than, you know, drinking or doing all types of other nonsense that I don’t need to be doing.”

MORE: Meet the Musicians Helping Veterans Write Their Own Country Songs

Source: San Antonio News-Express

Jenny Shank is a fiction writer and journalist in Boulder, Colo. Her first novel, “The Ringer,” won the High Plains Book Award. Her stories, essays, satire and reviews have appeared in The Atlantic, McSweeney's and The Guardian.