Archive for the ‘Quotes’ Category

Musical balm

“You don’t know it, but your face looks so relaxed right now. Before you were all [makes tight face].” – Nurse who called me into resident’s room to resident 3/3/2010

“See? She’s making you feel better” – Resident to her baby doll 3/3/2010

“Can you just follow me around for the rest of my shift?” “Be sure to find me next time.” – Nurse 3/3/2010

“That’s so soothing. I felt it go straight to my heart. See? It’s good for your heart!” – Visitor to resident 3/4/2010

Today a woman was crying. She was very lonely. I sat with her a while and played some hymns since she had a charm bracelet with crosses. She talked the entire time about how she was lonely, and by the end, the tears had stopped, but she still sounded pretty angry. She finally stopped talking about the people who left her, but then she started talking about one of the residents whom she doesn’t like. She did acknowledge that the music was beautiful at one point.

I also finally realized the power of playing non-specific music very simply today. I started to play a song, slowly, but the patient got agitated. I changed to a different song, and she was still agitated. Then I switched to non-specific noodling, and she calmed down.


I learned a new song yesterday. Three Coins in a Fountain from the 1954 movie of the same name sung by Dean Martin (also recorded by Frank Sinatra, The Four Aces, and Jack Jones) as requested by a gentleman at Post House in Glassboro, NJ. Today I played it for the first time (at a different venue). One man from whom I’ve never really heard much coherent said “three coins in a fountain”. I was so pleased he recognized it and showed signs of liking it. Normally he grumbles to himself, though once he did start ‘singing’ “You Ain’t Nothin But A Hound Dog” when I played “Love me Tender.” :) He’s a man one could easily assume is ‘not all there,’ but he acknowledges me with his eyes and these occasional musical connections. It’s wonderful because he’s one of those visibly affected by harp therapy. Today’s was such a short moment, but of a significance where one couldn’t say it was “just” a moment.

There was another encounter today where one of the residents’ daughter told me she noticed the whole hallway quiet down when I started walking down and playing. That was really nice to hear, because I don’t always notice the change in dynamic when I’m focusing on the individuals. She was so appreciative of the soothing music for her mother and for the rest of the residents. That’s something I really need to keep better track of. I got to a point in my internship, and I suppose still now with my work, where I heard something like that so often that I stopped recording it. For these people it’s so novel and special, and what more can a person say than “Oh thank you that is so soothing” or some variation thereof? I will make it a point from now on to keep better track. It’s nice to be appreciated, but rather more important to know how many people I’ve touched with my music. Sometimes people aren’t verbal with their thanks. Some people can’t be, so I don’t have any more proof than the appreciation of their peers and my intuition that they can hear me and I’m having an effect on them without checking their monitors, which I can’t normally do in the nursing home setting.

The pros and cons

Yesterday I was finally able to get out of the ice and get to work. The two days previous were highly frustrating because for all that I chipped away, I couldn’t get out.

I got a really nice comment from a gentleman. He said, “You don’t know this, but I’m hard of hearing. I can’t hear when people speak to me. I heard your music. It was lovely. Thank you.”

It really was lovely to hear that. I’ll be the first to admit that I don’t understand the science (if any) behind it, but it’s wonderful to have that quote in my collection in case anyone says “Oh she’s deaf” in the future.

On the down side, there was a woman in a hallway just in front of the nurses’ station calling for help. I put myself in her view hoping to comfort her, but she just kept calling for help. A nurse came up and told her “Listen to the nice music. Isn’t that nice?” The woman cried “Sure it sounds nice, but it can’t help me.” While I understood she was having a problem, that was rather hard to hear. Hard, but important. When you’re surrounded with smiles and compliments, it’s good to have a reminder that what I do isn’t a cure-all. Nothing really is. I’ve seen people have such wonderful relaxation responses to my harp. Maybe it doesn’t work for everyone, but what does? For the many who are positively affected, it is profound.