What has keys, but cannot listen to the beauty it unlocks? A piano.

Many facilities are privileged to have a piano, but most facilities do not utilize their existence.  I was blessed to play recently at one of our partner facilities, Dominion Senior Living, in Sevierville, TN. While visiting the facility, I was randomly asked if I could play. Next thing I knew, Bonnie, the activities coordinator, had put me on her schedule to play the following week.  On my way home that day, I was lost in thought:  What will I play?  Do I remember how?

The following Thursday, I walked in very nervous, and I do not get nervous!  Playing the piano is something I hated as a child, but grew to love as an adult, but I seldom play for anyone. It is my scape goat, my stress reliever, and my friend, but I do not like to play for an audience. When I arrived at the facility, Bonnie greeted me and said, “Jill, I am sorry, I only have one resident that said she wanted to come listen.” I said, “It is ok, I will play for 30 minutes.”

I sat down to a room with one little lady sound asleep in her chair.  Silly me, I did not want to disturb her, but I started playing the Forrest Gump theme song. As I began, I pictured the little white feather floating around.  Never looking up, I ventured into my own little world. I had my prepared playlist beside me, but I never even noticed it was there; songs just started pouring out. Minutes passed before I began looking around, and one-by-one, the residents were peaking around the corners.  Some had even started wandering in to sit down and listen.  The Administrator walked by and said, ‘it’s beautiful Jill, you can hear the music throughout the whole building.”

As I continued, a little lady in her wheelchair in the back of the room caught my eye.  I watched as she slowly inched her way towards me; I smiled and motioned for her to come and sit beside me.  While she slowly made her way in my direction, a gentleman began singing at the top of his lungs. When I finished the song, he told me he used to play.  When I invited him to play, he jumped up so fast, sat beside me, put all 10 fingers on the keys, and began playing “Old Rugged Cross.”  His hands just knew what to do; he did not even have to think! When he finished, the little lady had made her way right beside me.  She told me how beautiful I played and said she wished she knew how.  She thanked me for being a bright star in her day.

I was shocked when I finally looked at my clock and it was 12:15pm; I began playing at 11:00 am! I was astonished by how fast time had flown and overwhelmed with joy to this day that I was able to be a bright star in those people’s day. Now, I look for a piano in every facility I visit and will jump at every chance I get to play, hoping to bring joy to another’s day. It truly is the little things in life that can make a difference.  Once a selfish piano player, I now realize how blessed I am to play.  Thanks, Mom, I can bring the gift of music to others and all it requires is a little bit of my time.

 

Jill Fiala, Director of Elite Living