February 2019

Let the music speak …

So this afternoon I took a bunch of students to a local retirement home and put on a little concert for the residents. The date for today’s concert had been booked in for the last 6 weeks, but somehow residents knew nothing of it and were more than a little surprised when we arrived. One elderly lady in particular had been sitting at the table in the common area, where we were setting up, reading her newspaper and got incredibly annoyed when I started plugging in my speaker (I hadn’t even turned it on yet). She pulled me a side and demanded to know what was going on. I explained the situation as best as I could, but she didn’t seem impressed with my explanation and in a huff, packed up her papers and gruffly left the room. Staff were busy gathering other residents and getting them settled in the space, whilst I waited for the rest my performers to arrive. The newspaper lady was still in the hallway clearly put out and super annoyed with what she called an “intrusion” and announced she was going to have “none of it” and instead would go back to her room. I finished setting up and got the concert underway. As each of the kids got up to do their performance, you could feel the energy change and the joy on the faces of the residents said it all. In fact 10mins passed and the newspaper lady came back, stuck her head in the room and then proceeded to make her way to a free couch closest to where the kids were performing. She was still a little gruff but another resident very audibly rebuffed her, reminding her that “they were just kids and that she ought to give them a chance”. And for the rest of the concert, she let down her guard, clapped enthusiastically and beamed after all the kids had performed.

It’s interesting how music, particularly when kids are involved, builds bridges and dissipates the barriers we build around ourselves. What a beautiful transformative moment! In fact, the newspaper lady had nothing but praises to sing afterwards; about how awesome the kids were, how beautifully they sang and played and how she enjoyed the concert. If only more people would let down their guards and let music speak to them – can you imagine such a world? #moremusicplease #letthemusicspeak #musictransforms #musiciansdream

One of my older kids, Ella, in the moment

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