When I see kids, I try to connect with them and play something they can interact with. And when I’m at the children’s hospital, I see a lot of kids! The other day, a mother came in with a fussy baby, I was playing my usual stuff, and so I quickly switched midsteam into the universal baby language: Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. And as soon as I started, that baby whipped his head around, looked straight at me, and started to laugh!
I have a few tunes that I can play in any key, so I can smoothly move into them without needing to stop and reset my levers when I need to play them. Twinkle is one, How Much is that Doggie in the Window is another (for when the therapy dogs arrive!), Happy Birthday is another good one to know, and Somewhere Over the Rainbow on the harp is always a hit. And of course, theraputic harpists have a large repertoire in many different keys, and can make up new music on the spot to suit the mood.
That’s the whole advantage of live music in therapeutic settings. Instead of our clients adjusting to the music around them, we can adjust to meet their needs. I’m still smiling, thinking of that cute baby’s face.