35. Hospital Experiment

This week I chose certain songs to play in a retirement home this coming Friday. They are songs from my parents and grandparent’s era with a couple I wrote thrown in.  I decided to play them at my regular volunteering on the main floor piano at St. Paul’s hospital. I’d play a song and record the response if there was one as the people moved through the hallway to admitting or waited for the elevator.  I played eighteen songs in three-quarters of an hour

            Feedback observed or recorded as I played included the following:

            -Woman, dressed in a uniform sings the words, “And he walks with me”, as I play second song, “In the Garden”.

            -Another woman sang words, “know I love you,” from the song “Down in the Valley”.

            -A guy joined in on “My Bonnie Lies Over the Ocean.”

            -Young person said “Beautiful, beautiful.”

            -Indigenous Woman and Man with cowboy hat are walking through the big doors. She says, “You sound really good.”

            -Guy on scooter has a mile-wide smile as I play “Forever and Ever, my heart will be true.”

            -Someone whistled at least 3-4 lines as I play a song. I don’t know the name of it but I list it as 3334455, so I know how to start it. It’s an old-time polka.

            -Others are smiling as the whistling is happening.

            -Man, about forty years says, “Beautiful.”

            -Woman with stroller nods over and over as she heads for admitting.

            -Two Indigenous men both make thumbs up sign three times with their hands.

            -Three smiling women; one with a son about seventeen; all smiling; one is clapping as I sing a song I wrote, “I Love to Get Up in The Morning.”

            I end forty-five minutes later. On my way to main floor bathroom, an Indigenous woman waiting on chair in hallway outside an office says, “good music. I used to play guitar and sing by ear with my sisters. There were eight of us.  I wanted to play piano but never learned.” I told her of having six sisters and singing together. She shared her two brothers played guitar but never sang. We talked of whether she could play by ear and the rhythm to play guitar, probably if someone showed her piano chords, she could learn to sing and play on piano as well.”  She ended saying, “your music took me back to good times with my sisters when we had music all the time.”

            I head to the bathroom and next woman with a walker says, “hope you come back,” I smile, say thanks and I appreciate her saying that as I don’t know how it is for people.  “It’s beautiful. I love it,” she ended.

            I thought that was the end, but as I walked out the hallway to the outside of the hospital, the first indigenous woman who had been with the man with the cowboy hat said to me,” I was the one who said you play good music and even my husband told me I like that music.”

            I smiled most of the rest of the day.


                                                                        July 15, 2019


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