I started composing melodies in my head as early as age 13. Not until 33 years later, when I met music professor and professional composer Robert Wehrman, PhD, did I discover that most composers hear the music in their head before they put it on paper.

Music is very therapeutic for me. It helps me unwind, serves as a distraction when my joints hurt, keeps my fingers moving and it feels good to share my music with others.

My music breakthrough came in 2004 when I was invited to play some of my music to Dr. Wehrman’s music composition class. I was astounded that he and his students thought it was good. He told me, “You have to do something with this.”

When I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia in 1994, my rheumatologist recommended I focus on my music. Research has shown the importance of music therapy in stress and depression.

With the confidence boost I got from Dr. Wehrman, I contacted a lavender farm that I had visited in Maui, Hawaii, and offered to create a music CD for its gift shop. The album, Take a Lavender Moment, sold out.

My greatest musical success came when I learned my music was being used at clinics. Later, a palliative medicine physician contacted me to do an album, A Season For Healing. Hundreds of people, including those with fibromyalgia, have listened to it.

Linda S. Boyer, 55, is a quality management nurse coordinator living in Winslow, Ill.