Kirkwood Middle School students, accompanied by Literacy Coach Karen Ambuehl, recently visited Aberdeen Heights to interview our residents about the kind of music they like to listen to. The students had recently seen the documentary “Alive Inside,” about “music’s capacity to reawaken our souls and uncover the deepest parts of our humanity.” It is a story about Music & Memory founder Dan Cohen and his efforts to “demonstrate music’s ability to combat memory loss and restore a deep sense of self to those suffering from it.”
“Our kids benefited immensely from learning how to have a good old-fashioned visit. We prepared the students with a questionnaire that gave them questions or talking points when talking with the residents of Aberdeen Heights. More than anything, we stressed that they needed just to be present and have a conversation,” said Karen. “Kindness counts more than getting answers to all the questions. I loved watching how the students gently jumped right in and began having conversations. The residents were equally glad to have a captive audience! I am hopeful that we can go back to Aberdeen Heights next year to actually see the residents using the iPods and personalized music.”
The students also donated iPods that will be filled with music specifically to each resident’s tastes. We thank them for their time and donation!
“The importance of recognizing each other’s humanity is one of the most important assets we can give to others. Being able to see students engage with residents made everyone feel recognized. The students walked away with stories and insights that they wouldn’t have normally had,” said Karen. “Although we went to ask about musical histories, we ended up walking away with stories and an understanding that all people just want to tell their story and be heard. Hopefully, the music program will allow residents to remember even more of their stories.”