Music is a great uniting force. Music is an incredible power. Music is something that people who differ on anything and everything else can have in common. Music is one of the greatest universal languages of mankind. Where words often fail, music speaks. Music can take pain, loneliness, or sorrow and turned it into something beautiful, into something that people connect to, that’s what music does. It speaks to you. It changes you.
Music has always opened many doors for me in my life and it has been a way for me to connect with people in many ways. When I came to work here at Riverview I found that music was a great way to connect with our elders. I think the key to making any connection with our elders is all about learning their stories and who they are. I rarely come to work without some type of musical instrument, and I have definitely branched out to learn different genres of music and new songs to satisfy their musical tastes and connect with them. I think the roots of our being are anchored deep in the music of our heritage. A song can move you, trigger any number of emotions, bring to surface old memories. I think a person can hear a song and it can cause them to think of someone, or somewhere, or something from sometime in their life. I’ve found that to be especially true with our elders. Whether its through the Gospel Music program or Appalachian Heritage Music Program here in our home, a one on one room visit with the guitar, piano in the dining room, claw hammer banjo on the back patio, their favorite songs through headphones on the iPod, or simply and old hymn sang a cappella, music has been a fantastic way for me to connect with our elders here at Riverview.
-Phillip R. Ramey, Director of Spirituality