Category Archives: Volunteering

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

I can’t get started with you

“You’re not gonna play that thing are you?” asked an assisted-living resident as I set up my keyboard near her lunch table. I admitted I was planning to do exactly that. She went on to say that she had spent … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Music and emotion, Piano performance, Volunteering | Tagged , | 1 Comment

Johnny one note

Last week, on a rainy Tuesday, my lovely Steinway grand received its annual tuning. If you’ve heard a piano being tuned, you know it’s not particularly pleasant. The tuner repeatedly strikes a single note while using a lever to turn … Continue reading

Posted in Pianos, Volunteering | Tagged | 5 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

Hero in your own hometown

“Caregiver! Caregiver!” Mary Lou called weakly, hoping to get the attention of an aide serving lunch across the room. No luck. I was nearby, playing background music to accompany the meal. I don’t know Mary Lou’s health story, but she … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Piano performance, Volunteering | Tagged | 3 Comments

School days, school days, good old golden rule days

I’ve written about the magic of “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” for my elderly listeners. I love the wave of soft singing that makes its way across the room and reaches me at the piano every time I play … Continue reading

Posted in Audiences, Music and emotion, Reminiscences, Volunteering | 2 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

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

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

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