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Catching on

MusiCorps was born when a wounded soldier asked Mr. Bloom to help him learn how to play drums again after losing a leg to a bomb.

While the two were working together, another soldier noticed the instruction session. At first, the second soldier observed the lesson quietly.

“Then, one day he picked up a guitar and never put it down,” Mr. Bloom said. “He started talking and joking and laughing again.”

Mr. Bloom went to Walter Reed with the intention of helping just one soldier, but he never imagined how popular he would become at the military hospital.

“That’s when we realized we were on to something,” Mr. Bloom said. “What happened was soldier after soldier, everyone wanted to be part of it.”

Mr. Bloom is a strong believer in music as therapy.

While many wounded soldiers struggle with depression, he said, the camaraderie of playing an instrument or singing in an ensemble helps these soldiers get their minds off their injuries and focus on something outside themselves.

“It helps them recover their lives,” Mr. Bloom said. “They feel like themselves again.”

Many of the wounded soldiers at Walter Reed would agree.

Finding a new passion

“For a lot of the guys I know, it really rekindles a sense of hope,” said Marine Lance Cpl. Tim Donnelly, 21, who lost both legs and some mobility in his right arm when he was struck by a bomb in Afghanistan in February 2012.

Cpl. Donnelly said he hopes to inspire other wounded soldiers who are trying to rebuild their lives and their spirit.

“It was tough, but I’m not sorry it happened. In a situation like this, if you don’t look at the positives and you get hung up on the negatives, you end up losing your mind,” he said. “You fall apart.”

That was where MusiCorps came in.

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