"That has to be the most beautiful thing anyone has ever done for me," she said as the last note faded away. An hour earlier I had entered the room to share therapeutic keyboard music, on only my second day as an intern of the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP). In the 18 months since that day, I have shared therapeutic music at the bedside with several hundred hospital patients and nursing home residents, and am a certified music practitioner and graduate of MHTP.
This summer marks 40 years since my parents consented to the beginning piano lessons I so desperately desired. The green antiqued upright piano they purchased for me the following summer was truly the "most beautiful thing" I had ever seen.
This fall will mark 30 years since I won my biggest award—second place in a regional high school competition, and for many years my big red rosette ribbon was a truly beautiful thing to my eyes!
Almost 20 years ago, I began teaching piano lessons to beginning students of all ages, and my scrapbook of thank you notes and photos of recitals continues to be a beautiful thing, especially as most of those students are now grown up and moving about the world as young adults.
Ten years ago, the high school music teacher asked if I would accompany her chorus for their concert. Learning to play parts and accompany a choral group was an enormous challenge, but playing in tandem with a soloist, a small ensemble, or a large group is a truly beautiful experience every time.
But the most powerful, unique use of my musical skills has come through my training and experience as a certified music practitioner. Each week, I share prescriptive music with nursing home residents, many of whom are unable to leave their rooms or otherwise participate in the activities of their facility. I have been told that the music is "like being in the sky with the clouds floating by" and "this is better than any pill." By sharing these familiar tunes and others, I can help ease loneliness and reduce pain, and help the residents access pleasant memories and build community between roommates. And that is a truly beautiful thing.