Author Archives: Paulette Sharkey

So long, farewell, auf wiedersehen, goodbye

After almost 6 years of blogging and more than 200 posts here at Volunteer Pianist, I am making a change. I’m now blogging at my new website: I’ll still be writing about music and about my experiences as a … Continue reading

Posted in Music and emotion | 2 Comments

Some kind of wonderful

Prodigies—those precocious children who possess musical skills that astound and confound us. Mozart was one. Clara Schumann, too. Today we have Alma Deutscher. Born in England in 2005, Alma is an accomplished violinist, pianist, and composer. Yes, composer. She wrote … Continue reading

Posted in Piano performance | Tagged | 4 Comments

Let me call you sweetheart

A few years ago, I wrote a post about some of the distractions I’ve faced as a volunteer pianist: piano dusters, carpet cleaners, table clearers. And cell phones. Always cell phones. But lately I’ve noticed a new category of distractions: … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Piano performance, Volunteering | 10 Comments

What did I have that I don’t have?

It’s not really lost till Mom can’t find it. I don’t remember where I heard or read this, but I think it’s true. A few weeks ago, a windstorm upended our patio umbrella. Getting the base re-positioned required a special … Continue reading

Posted in Reminiscences, Volunteering | 1 Comment

Everybody’s talkin’ at me

Fred Rogers used to say that we have two ears and one mouth because we should listen twice as much as we talk. And he meant actually listen, not just wait for the other person to stop talking so we … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Music and emotion, Volunteering | 8 Comments

If they asked me, I could write a book

Thanks to the many followers who have contacted me over the past few months to ask, “Are you still blogging?” It’s been a while, I know. So what have I been doing that has kept me away from my Volunteer … Continue reading

Posted in Music and emotion | 14 Comments

Mystery girl

Whenever you put kids and a piano together, sooner or later somebody will play “Chopsticks.” It’s a tune that can be picked out by ear. No lessons required. “Chopsticks” has an interesting history. A 16-year-old Glasgow girl named Euphemia Allen … Continue reading

Posted in Music history | Tagged | 3 Comments

I believe that children are our future

That’s the advice of a 9-yr-old boy named Tate, who decided to spend his summer volunteering at his grandpa’s senior center instead of going to camp. Here’s a short video about his experience. It starts with a few words from … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Death, Music and emotion, Volunteering | Tagged | 9 Comments

Man with a harmonica

Just when I thought I might run out of volunteer pianist stories to tell, this happened: I was just a few minutes into my hour of playing for the residents of an independent-living community when Joel sat down in an … Continue reading

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

Together we can make such sweet music

Last week my piano duet partner and I started learning one of Antonin Dvořák’s Slavonic Dances. We played it through slowly a couple of times, well under the marked tempo. Tempo de lerno, as I think of it. Then we … Continue reading

Posted in Music and emotion, Piano performance | Tagged | 6 Comments