I spent a lot of time this past weekend working on music - going through old music books, looking for and practicing tunes to play for the residents of the nursing home in the coming weeks.
As I was playing it struck me that although I know they really enjoy hearing me play - maybe I am a bit of a bore to them as well. After all - I just sit and play. Really - you could get as much satisfaction just putting a headphone on your ear that was attached to some music playing something or other.
I think I mentioned before that I had the idea to do themes for my little concerts in the care home. I have been choosing music accordingly and the theme I have been working on the past few days has been music from the movies.
I started with the song "When You Wish Upon A Star" from the 1940 Disney movie... Do you know what movie this is from? Would it help if I said a little green cricket sang the song? Would it help you further if I said his name was Jiminie?
Well this kind of talk was running around my head as I was practicing this song - and then all of a sudden I knew what I was going to do.
There is a thing called Music Therapy - it is much sought after for the elderly in nursing homes and in hospitals. Usually it is performed by University- Educated Music Therapists. It has been proven to be a very beneficial program to those who are institutionalized in any way.
I don't know if what I am planning to do is close to that - but I do know, as a former Registered Nurse, how very important it is to "engage" people who are living away from their normal lives. If you don't encourage thought, speech, action - it will eventually vanish.
I am working on my own version of what I am calling "Music Engagement".
I play a song from a movie... then I ask if anyone knows the name of the song, who sang it, what movie it is from. As I ask the questions, I tell the story of the movie - I introduce the characters, the plot - I tell them the outcome... and then I play the song again and let them remember whatever they can on their own.
They get to enjoy the music, but they may also get to relive a memory of a movie they watched - maybe with someone special in their family...maybe they get to remember something they haven't thought of in a long time... we have engaged thought, speech, action, and memory....
And just maybe I am no longer such a boring entertainer!
For this first session, I have chosen 10 songs from seven different movies. Pinochio; Breakfast at Tiffany's; My Fair Lady; Mary Poppins; The Sound of Music; Fiddler on the Roof, and Dr. Zhivago.
If they don't know the movie, they will for sure know the song, or visa -versa... all are familiar popular songs.
To take this one step further, I am also going to speak to the Activity Director, to see if she would like to follow this activity with one of the movies I feature with my music. That might be very enjoyable for them as well.
So wish me luck .... I'll let you know how this works out...