By Ray Leone, MMT, MT-BC
Ray is a Board-Certified music therapist who directs A Place To Be’s medical music therapy program through a partnership with Inova Health Systems.
Recently, at the hospital where I work and provide music therapy services, I was asked to see an older gentleman who had been in the hospital for several days. He was somewhat disoriented, uncomfortable and agitated, and, it was his birthday. When I entered the room, it was dark and his wife was sitting quietly as he was lying in bed with his eyes closed, but, with a somewhat pained look on his face. When I said “hello” and introduced myself he stirred a bit and mumbled something that I couldn’t understand. She gently touched his arm and said “this gentleman is here to play some music for you for your birthday.” Slowly he looked up, looked at me and quietly said, “Really?” and then his face softened into a slight smile. I sat down and started playing and singing “Fly Me To The Moon” and immediately his smile and face lit up, as did his wife’s. As I continued with a few more songs, he never stopped smiling and occasionally let out a somewhat giddy laugh. Then, when I started to sing “Blue Moon”, his wife stood up and said, “That song is our story!” She then sat next to him on the hospital bed, snuggled up to him, gave him a kiss and held his hand. Suddenly it felt like we were back at the high school dance as they continued to hold hands and smile and nuzzle at each other; like high school kids who just started courting. When I then finished with “Happy Birthday”, his face was glowing through a few tears and they both were very thankful for my visit and for the music. Many of the moments that I’m a part of in the hospital can be emotionally draining and quite sad. This, however, was a very sweet moment that was able to happen because of a song…a simple song. Sometimes that is just what we need to get through the day, a simple and meaningful song; it can do wonders, especially during very trying times. And for me…seeing them together, in this way, really brightened my day too.
“Blue moon, you saw me standing alone
Without a dream in my heart
Without a love of my own…
Then suddenly you appeared before me
The only one my heart could ever hold
I heard somebody whisper please adore me
And when I looked up the moon had turned to gold.”
The healing power of music…
(*the stories presented in this blog are based on accounts and experiences and are not actual accounts and experiences)