Corporate

#AdobeLife at Home: Denise Houseman and Spreading Joy with Music

April 7, 2020

How are people spreading joy at home? Our #AdobeLife at Home series is all about highlighting how our community of passionate employees are doing just that. Through this series, we’ll be featuring Adobe employees who want to teach our readers new skills—from emotional wellbeing tips to creative online classes. Here’s how they’re spreading joy. 

Today, we’re spotlighting Denise Houseman, a Talent Partner at Adobe, and how she’s spreading joy in her meetings through the power of music. In her video, she’s singing an acoustic rendition of Alanis Morrissette’s Hand In My Pocket.

Tell us more about yourself! When did you start picking up guitar and developing such an amazing singing voice?

I have been singing for as long as I can remember and come from a family of self-taught musicians. I decided to pursue my passion of music to earn a degree in Vocal Performance and trained as a Lyric Coloratura Soprano with high hopes of singing at La Scala in Italy. But I was equally interested in exploring my love of business/corporate world and pursued an MBA instead. Following my MBA, I did not return to the world of classical music and found a new love in Worship music at my church. After joining our Worship Team, I was tapped to lead our Women’s Ministry Band and knew that I had to learn an instrument to lead a band more effectively. So, I picked up a guitar for the first time in my life in 2017 and have been playing ever since!

Where do you usually play? Do you usually practice at home or do you go out and play for others?

I practice a LOT at home. But I also sing and play guitar at my church, for small groups, and friendly gatherings – anywhere there is a desire to hear music! I have also been found practicing guitar at my desk after hours, which has sometimes drawn an impromptu audience.

What inspired you to play your guitar during meetings?

Since working from home, our team started to schedule weekly social video meetings, so we wanted to think of creative ways to engage colleagues. I offered to play some music so that we could all to sing along. It’s been really fun to engage with everyone in such a different way AND it’s great to hear everyone humming along and smiling to live music. It goes without saying that we are experiencing such a significant moment in history and things can get really heavy. Music is such a powerful influence, and by sharing uplifting and fun songs I know that I can have a positive impact on the team.  

Denise playing her guitar and singing on stage.

Anything you’d like to share to our readers?

The power of music can change an audience as much as the musician. So, there are two things I would love to share!

One, it’s never too late to learn an instrument. I never picked up a guitar before 2017 and feel joy like no other playing even the simplest of music. It is therapeutic, thrilling, and deeply gratifying. It satiates something in the soul!

Two, if you don’t have interest in playing an instrument, introduce more music into your life. Build a mood-boosting playlist, revisit music from your younger years to reminisce, or share your favorite songs/artists with others. Music can help us to communicate when we have no words and it can help us to heal. It has no boundaries and brings people together in a truly unique way. In times like these when we cannot be together in-person, we can spread joy and happiness by sharing the way a song speaks to our soul and perhaps stir the heart of another in so doing.

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