Whenever I go to play music at the hospital, I feel so unprepared. And in today’s case I was unprepared because I had not played anything since Christmas; at which point, I came down with a month-long respiratory illness. I lugged in all my equipment to the unit of the Children’s Hospital, promptly dropped music everywhere, and was too lazy to open either flute case.
So I ended up jamming on the handpan for about an hour and a half in 2 different locations on the unit. I came up with a nifty tune that had a heartbeat. And I went into trance state – hence the title of this post. A baby who was crying uncontrollably in a treatment room instantly calmed down. I always think it’s a coincidence but perhaps it is not. It’s also nice to hear staff say that the music is beautiful but I hope what they are saying is that it is calming them. (One nurse requested that I play closer to their station because they were all in high-strung mode).
I had the chance to practice calm and spread some calm as a code was called over the PA system and police were running around. My inner freak-out was lessened by the handpan and I also figured the metal instrument would make a good shield if it came down to that (yikes).
My intentions are:
To have a nice cart so I can pull around all my equipment and not have my shoulders take the brunt of the weight and bulk.
To be PAID to do what I love to do – even if it is at poverty level, but hopefully not.
Yesterday, I got a bit of sunburn on my face. In Oregon!!! In October!!! The weather here has been glorious. Sure wish it could always be like that. I can live just fine without rain.
I also played music at one of the Children’s Hospitals and had great interactions with the staff. One PT knew that I was playing an alto flute. A nurse asked if I was a professional player. The facilities man said my playing was very soothing. I have to chuckle at the undeserved last 2 comments because I was “jamming” – essentially playing glorified scales while watching the happenings around me.
One thing I am proud of is that I can play through anything – patients doing PT exercises right in front of me, facilities people moving equipment up close, children screaming and crying down the hallway (ok, that’s a bit tough but I figure I can help them the most with soothing music) and loud noises such as alarms or espresso machines (from the hospital lobby snack bar).
BUT – I finally met my match!! A very cute, bald from chemo, sweet little boy was completely mesmerized with my flute. He walked up and stuck his finger in the end of the flute while I was playing. He then proceeded to mash keys and pry the flute out of my hand and attempt to play it. There is something about these kids that I just hand over my $2,000 flute and think nothing of it. I finally blew air through the mouthpiece and let him mash keys. And throughout this whole time, neither of us said a word. I’m not even sure he spoke English – or spoke at all. But it was as if we had had a meaningful, heartfelt conversation.
Ahhh – I always receive so much more than what I give at the hospital.
Alto flute with curved head piece.
Alto flute with, what I believe to be, saxophone keys
Today, I played music at the children’s hospital where I am on the floor – unit, technically speaking – with the sick kids. I love when I am tuning up and some bystanders say they like the sound. Easy audience! I hadn’t even played anything yet; so sweet. The ad-lib numbers on the alto flute and therapy harp went well. Had some boo boos and one really bad song on the concert flute along the way. Oh well. The most interesting thing was struggling to get notes out of my alto flute because I was sliding off of it from sweating. Wheeeee.
Some of the kids I play for are literally fighting for their lives because of cancer. I couldn’t believe, while driving home and listening to the radio, that a blurb came on about “how to survive a bad haircut”. Survive? Seriously??
Once home, I opened a letter from our sponsored child in Guatemala.
Ahhh. Fabulous day.
(If I could get paid to crochet and play therapeutic music, that would be the ultimate!!)
Since last October, I have been playing flute music in the lobby of one of the children’s hospitals in town. It has certainly been a great experience so far, and I look forward to continuing there.
Today, though, I got to play on the unit with the children at the “other” hospital. I LOVED it. A few people told me, in passing, that the music was soothing. A staff member told me that 2 patients down the hall wanted their doors open so they could hear me. YAY! (I marvel at that because I was told repeatedly, before arriving, that I should play very quietly). My dream job would be to get paid to play therapeutic music to folks who need it. And I think we all need it!
The best moment today was when a young boy (a patient) came by on a scooter and asked me about my alto flute. I told him it was really heavy and just handed it over for him to hold. He told me it was not heavy and that it looked like a walking cane (because of the curved head piece). 🙂
The delivery will be easy but I think my wallet needs an epidural – haha. Look at the *gorgeous* Reverie Harp that’s on the way to my home. I REALLY want to provide therapeutic music to folks, especially and hopefully at the DREAM job I applied for at the children’s hospital. Anyone can play this harp because it is set to a pentatonic (5 note) scale where every note harmonizes with every other note. It’s impossible, even for non-musicians, to hit a “wrong” note. The soothing sounds and the vibrations from having this harp on your lap, or on your chest if you are in a hospital bed, are stellar. And from what I’ve heard, even quadreplegics with some arm motion can play this. How awesome is that???
22 strings, 20″ X 12.5″ Lightweight, portable, gorgeous sound, anyone can play it!!
The “face” on the harp reminds me of this character.