Armed with a guitar and a melodion (a hand-held, wind-powered keyboard), we spent an afternoon visiting nurseries, playrooms, and classrooms to play children’s songs and well-known classics such as 月亮代表我的心 and Amazing Grace for the children. The children’s reactions were hilariously varied: some began laughing, while others cried uncontrollably. Still others sat completely still in shock, or crawled closer and closer, fascinated by the music. The nannies who cared for the children in each room were warm and genial, enjoying the hubbub and happiness our music brought to them and the children. We shared laughs as the curious children attempted to play the instruments, and concern as they subsequently tried to put them in their mouths. Some nannies were keen to find out about our lives, reminiscing to us about their grown-up children, while others requested their favorite songs and seemed quite in another world as they listened with closed eyes and a contented smile
The part we played in their lives was unspeakably small - mere minutes of forgettable music by average musicians on simple instruments - and yet, somehow, unspeakably profound. Incredibly, some nannies recognized us from visits to other orphanages and fondly recalled performances we’d given years ago! The music we brought was plain and shallow, but the love and joy we shared through it was genuine and deep. I saw embodied in our unremarkable service the beauty of MedArt’s mission: that instruments both medical and musical could be used to help these children and the nannies who care for them, albeit in different ways - the first to bandage their afflicted bodies, and the second to soothe their aching souls.
(Written by Hayden Ngan who is a junior at the University of California - Los Angeles majoring in Biochemistry)