I saw a video on line the other day about a nursing home resident who had not spoken for years. He sat in a wheel chair with his chin on his chest and was totally uncommunicative. One day they began music therapy and put a headset on him with music playing. After some time with the music, his demeanor changed. He opened his eyes, looked around and was moving to the music—dancing in his wheelchair. They asked him if they could remove the headset for a while and although he looked displeased, he agreed. They began to ask him “yes or no” questions. He responded in a loud and clear voice. Then they asked questions that required longer answers. He again spoke out clearly. When asked who his favorite singer was, he responded by giving a name (I didn’t recognize it) and then proceeded to sing one of his favorite songs. Amazing!
I am so grateful to be able to provide a similar experience to the residents of a local nursing home. Once a month, a group of us sing show tunes to a group there and encourage them to sing along. What joy it brings to see the smiles and nostalgic looks as they belt out “Oklahoma” or “I Could Have Danced All Night.” And what a gift it is to me to share memories of music that has touched my life.