Category Archives: Aging

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

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

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

Anything you can do I can do better

From my place at the piano, I watch stories unfold. A new resident moves into the assisted-living facility. He’s tall, handsome, and still drives. Woo-hoo! That gets the ladies’ attention. Or a life-of-the-party woman in an independent-living complex starts a … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Audiences, Music and emotion, Volunteering | 4 Comments

I’d do anything for you, dear

I’ve blogged here and here about a listener I called Walt. But I haven’t yet told you the most amazing thing about him. It’s not that he started taking singing lessons around age 90, and then gave monthly performances at … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Dementia, Volunteering | 4 Comments

Snookey, ookey baby talk

Over the last 15 years or so, I’ve spent a lot of time in hospitals. Luckily, I haven’t been the patient. During this hospital time, I’ve observed an annoying use of the word “okay.” Here’s an example: A nurse comes … Continue reading

Posted in Aging, Volunteering | Tagged | 3 Comments

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 | 1 Comment

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