Author Archives: volunteerpianist

Love’s old sweet song

I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to find Owen. He steadied himself with his walker and grinned. “Bet you didn’t expect to see me here, did ya?” Until a few weeks ago, Owen lived in an independent … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Song requests, Volunteering | Tagged | Leave a comment

They can’t take that away from me

A few weeks ago, I mentioned here that I’m working on a children’s book about 19th century pianist Clara Schumann. This project has required a lot of research, which I enjoy. Here’s a sample of what I’ve learned. As a … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Music history, Volunteering | Tagged | 8 Comments

Smoke! smoke! smoke! that cigarette

I recently inherited 3 big boxes of sheet music from my father-in-law, an amateur trombone player. He enjoyed buying sheet music on eBay, and often sent me copies of songs he thought my senior audiences might like. I’ve sorted through … Continue reading

Posted in Music history, Sheet music, Singers | 4 Comments

Feelings, nothing more than feelings

Regular readers of this blog may have noticed that I haven’t been posting as often as usual. That’s because this summer I’m concentrating on another writing project: a children’s biography of pianist Clara Schumann. She was one of the most … Continue reading

Posted in Music and emotion, Piano performance, Writing | Tagged | 7 Comments

Daddy sang bass, Mama sang tenor

When I play “Tip Toe Through the Tulips,” 92-year-old Marcie doesn’t think of Tiny Tim’s 1968 falsetto rendition. Instead, she hears her mother’s voice. Marcie had a twin sister and another close childhood friend. When the three girls were little, … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Volunteering | 5 Comments

Memories light the corners of my mind

Remember Henry? In December 2013, I wrote a post about playing the piano for people with dementia, and how music awakens them. In that post, I mentioned the documentary Alive Inside and included the clip featuring Henry. Here’s how he … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Dementia, Music and emotion | Tagged | Leave a comment

Tell it like it is

On a dark cold January morning, I was riding a shuttle van to the Detroit airport parking lot after taking a red-eye flight from Seattle. The driver had tuned into a rebroadcast of Marian McPartland’s NPR program Piano Jazz. The … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Jazz, Music and emotion, Volunteering | 5 Comments

Something to remember you by

My Uncle Brian continues to slip away, his brain addled by advancing dementia. You might recall the post I wrote in February about my uncle and his robotic puppy. Brian now lives in a small group home. He likes helping … Continue reading

Posted in Dementia, Piano performance, Reminiscences | Tagged | 10 Comments

Sweet soul music

Earlier this month at my band rehearsal, we sightread through a new piece of sheet music: “It’s All in the Game.” Then we had our usual follow-up discussion after trying new pieces: Did we like it? Enough to work it … Continue reading

Posted in Music and emotion, Music history | Tagged | 2 Comments

The times they are a-changin’

I was eating a bowl of cereal in my kitchen last October when I heard on the radio that Bob Dylan had won the Nobel Prize in Literature. I abandoned my spelt flakes, went to my sheet music closet, found … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Music programming, Song requests, Volunteering | Tagged | 2 Comments