Thursday, December 29, 2011

The gift of music--for my Dad

For Christmas, we gave our Dad a portable electronic keyboard. Things like this don't come cheap, but we had to invest on it because Dad's 86-year-old memory has deteriorated a bit more lately. He's been grunting or moaning almost continuously, and our bit of research showed that the grunting could be one of the signs of more memory loss. Especially when the thinking faculties aren't used that much anymore, or something like that, our research showed. And since my Dad really doesn't do much these days, or can't move as much as he did before (he was a tennis player and a sportsfisher in his younger days), I thought then that we were racing against time--to not lose more of his memory on the succeeding days. So I convinced some siblings of mine that we should get a portable keyboard for Dad so that he could be busy with something that he really loves. And listening to or creating music is one of the things he loves. He plays the piano by ear (as seen in the video below that I took early this year when he was 85 years old) and also plays the guitar. So as soon as my siblings and I made the decision to buy the portable keyboard, I hurriedly went to the mall one day to purchase it, braving the horrible traffic and the throng of holiday shoppers at the mall.

Now, Dad is slowly enjoying to play his new toy, as I place it on the dining table where he usually sits. At least now he can play tunes on the keys, as he is slowly remembering the tunes he used to play on the piano. Sometimes, we need to coax him or encourage him by clapping or nodding our heads to him to play the new portable keyboard, and play some more. And he does, slowly but surely. This is a good development because it's become quite hard lately for us to guide him to sit on the stool of our piano that's on one end of the living room. And making him leave the piano stool to go to the dining table for dinner is another long story--not only of his slow movements but also because sometimes he doesn't easily understand anymore what's being said to him.

But, curiously, I've observed that my Dad has so far played the new portable keyboard only with his right hand. Could it be that he doesn't quite remember anymore how to use his left hand? Because even in eating, he rarely uses his left hand. But we're happy to note that his grunts or moans have now turned to hums. There's melody already to most of his grunts. Maybe because he can now play more (although still quite slow but with tone) his favorite tunes on the keyboard and, hopefully, his memory is improving. In fact, for at least two nights now (he sleeps very late), I could hear him (I sleep quite late, too) also playing his guitar in his room already with a tone or melody. This is also good because just a few weeks ago, he seemed to have forgotten already how to play the guitar because he was just plucking it without producing a strong melody.

Having said all this, my profound conclusion is that: Music is really good--and for the enjoyment of everyone, especially of senior citizens :)

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