Goals for the Outreach Component of LCMC

smiling woman

Performing music initially gives us a feeling of great accomplishment. Young students burst with pride after playing a recital piece for their parents and receiving adulation from the audience. The talented young student can dazzle audiences with his/her precocious technical mastery. Often however, playing for outreach audiences does not provoke the same exuberant outbursts from nursing home residents. A ward full of Alzheimer's patients will not spontaneously jump to their feet in applause at the end of a moving performance. The sense of achievement students get from playing for outreach audiences is much more profound and much more subtle. A connection made with one audience member who smiles at a particular phrase or "joke" in the music can fill a student with pride more than the adulation provided from an audience of parents and peers. The director of one of our outreach facilities recently wrote:

The patients were delighted by the music and your young musicians. They all gave rave reviews. One woman was experiencing a great deal of pain when she arrived at the performance. She said that the pain was soothed by the music. Another gentleman was in constant motion, yet he stopped and moved with the music. It's amazing all that happened last night in one short hour.

Source: Activies Director at a Local Hospital

pondering womanThis is the effect our students have on their outreach audiences, and this becomes the basis of their sense of pride and feeling of fulfillment.

Most of our students will not pursue music professionally. Many are high academic achievers; members of the school math team, highly competent athletes, members of the debate club, etc. While dealing with such high achieving students often leads to scheduling difficulties, I would not have it any other way. Music is the other side of the academic coin. It fills a void left by other academic pursuits.

quartet playingOften students come to me after performing at outreach facilities and express profound fulfillment from playing for these audiences. The sense of pride a young person gets from performing for elderly residents at these facilities is very different from the pride they get from academic or athletic achievement. It is not a pride of personal competitive achievement, but a pride of cooperative giving; they understand that they have touched lives in a profoundly personal way, and they have done this with a team of their peers. What better way is there to help students understand the responsibility we all have to those pushed aside by our fast-paced society?

It is clear that all of our students will be wildly successful at whatever they choose to pursue as a career later in life. I want to help them become compassionate giving members of our society as well.

We are residents here, but sometimes we feel like prisoners. Your students' music made us feel like people. Thank you.

Source: Resident at a nursing home after an outreach concert.