Working in Derby Children’s Hospital with Nick Cutts and Rich Kensington today we played our way along the upper wards in the morning. We met a young patient who was so relaxed and open about her music and singing, she just couldn’t get enough of making music with us.
We started with “Yellow Bird” as an instrumental piece and then a sung song. The patient and another friend in hosptial were both offered a shaker instrument to join in with – which they both did with great joy in their faces – sometimes fast, and then slow, and then stopping to listen to the music on its own.
I smiled at the patient and asked if there was anything that she liked to sing – to which the answer was certainly “yes”. She said her favourite was “The Wheels on the Bus”. Oh great we know that one – and we sorted out which verses we could cover. This young patient, lying on her back for medical reasons, unable to sit up, joined in and led the song, thinking of new different verses with Mum’s help. Her voice was quite confident and happy and clear, such that a group of doctors standing nearby on their rounds, stopped and looked up from their work.
“Can we sing another song?” came her voice, at the end of that one…..we decided on Five Little Speckled Frogs, and encouraged her to help with the counting. She was not quite so confident with the words on this one, but none-the-less made every effort to join in with us.
She then became interested in my violin and I moved around the other side of her bed and showed her the instrument. She plucked the strings with such care and sensitivity. Then I explained how to touch the bow, and with Mum’s hand on one end of the bow, hers in the middle and mine at one end, we drew the bow back a forth across the D string.
“Can we sing another song?” she asked, whilst still bowing the D string on the violin…..Twinkle Twinkle in D major of course, worked really nicely. She played so gently and sang the words at the same time.
So lovely to meet this young patient – to listen to her voice and share those musical moments. The fact that we were in hospital did not really matter – the fact that she was lying down didn’t seem to hinder her participation and indeed, leadership in the music.
We did indeed sing another song.