Testimonials from Volunteers
I just wanted to say that the program is honestly one of the coolest things I've done in my short life. My only regret is that I couldn't come on a more regular basis. I was so excited when I heard that this program was coming out, and it exceeded my expectations. I loved just jamming out to our songs with all of the participants listening attentively and I'll never forget some of the smiles I saw when we played some old songs. This experience will definitely stick with me for the rest of my music career and life, and I just wanted to thank you for the opportunity.
In just a few short months, Mind&Melody has become something that is very near and dear to my heart. I feel extremely grateful to have the opportunity to connect with participants and share my love of music and service with other volunteers. Mind&Melody not only provides me with an educational experience that will aid me in my own future, it also has become a source of enjoyment and an outlet for creativity. Having a grandparent with dementia, I feel a closeness with the participants. As a volunteer, each of their small obstacles and successes throughout the session becomes your own. Words cannot truly describe the rewarding feeling I get from Mind&Melody, but I suppose that is quite fitting, considering what we do goes beyond words—it’s music!
Donna Singer, PhD
I am delighted to have this opportunity to recommend Mind and Melody, Inc. This is a non-profit organization that implements interactive volunteer based music programs for individuals in need to an organization or facility. Our firm, Emerald Baby Recording Company is an innovative, creative and fast-paced company devoted to advancing the careers of musical artists. I am the CEO of Emerald Baby. My experience in the entertainment field is as a recording artist. My last CD was submitted for a Grammy nomination and I’m honored to be singing the national anthem at a Miami Dolphins’ Game this October 2015.
Mind and Melody provides the opportunity for musicians to perform in a low-pressure environment while simultaneously enriching the lives of others. I am thrilled that Christina asked me to write this letter of recommendation. Last fall Cristina asked me to bring a jazz showcase reflecting the music of the 30’s, 40’s and 50’s to enhance and promote the great American songbook and give the patients a show they would enjoy. Not only did I see smiling faces, my trio and I were able to see, before our eyes the joy of them remembering and singing along to these songs. We even had a few participants take the mic and perform the whole songs themselves. What a joy and opportunity it was to see this wonderful transformation from being an audience member to being participants. I would immediately return for a repeat engagement as I am sure my trio would as well. Mind and Melody, Inc. would be a great asset to your facility. They bring intelligence and enthusiasm to any project they are working on with a positive, cheerful and cooperative attitude. They actively participate in the development of the professional development activities involving the audience, patients and the entire team in the process. Their personal maturity, open-minded, flexible and always prepared to take on any task is outstanding. They also are excellent team members -- everyone found them easy to work with and reliable – consistently maintaining their work schedule and arriving on time. For all of the above reasons, I strongly recommend Mind and Melody, Inc. to your organization. We look forward to working with them in the present and most assuredly the future.
It's been really amazing volunteering with Mind&Melody! I love using my music skills in a way that makes people smile. One woman, originally from Russia, came up to me afterwards. She told me in a raspy voice that she couldn't sing any more, but the music was still alive in her! I will never forget that smile as she thanked me over and over for spending an hour with of our time just making music with the group.
Mind&Melody is a great organization, positively impacting the lives of patients experiencing memory loss. This program is about performing for them, bringing back memories of songs they grew up with, and listening to them sing and play along with percussion instruments. Also, teaching them about how different instruments work, how to read music, and how to play keyboards. For some patients, it comes easier than to others, usually due to previous musical skills or just understanding the basics. Either way, volunteers need to be encouraging and help the patients along accordingly. I had the pleasure of working with a man who was a singer and dancer, and we would sing together with music in front of us, while I played guitar. He would sometimes struggle to tell me about his past and what he did, but he was still able to read music and sing! I just finished my sophomore year in college, and I've been doing a lot of soul-searching as a result. As a music major that wants to help people, this program has really been eye-opening. Bringing back memories, seeing smiles, and hearing stories of their pasts make us smile. Patience and encouragement are really important, as well as having a good understanding of music fundamentals. Mind&Melody has been truly rewarding.
Making a difference in the lives of people with memory loss through Mind&Melody has been a truly wonderful experience. I love watching the participants learn and showing them that they’re capable of more than they think they are. As a music major, the pressure of learning difficult music and constant critiques of my work can be stressful, and Mind&Melody is a great reminder of why I chose to study music. The sessions are always positive, and participants and volunteers alike always leave smiling.
Mind&Melody first caught my attention at ClubFest, an event at my school where all clubs on campus are displayed. I was informed what the club was about, and being a neuroscience major who was very involved in her high school choir and took piano lessons her whole life, I immediately jumped on the opportunity, as the musical programs available at my school were extremely limited. After attending the first few sessions and actually experiencing what they were like, I was amazed at how dedicated Cristina and Lauren were to this organization they created and how well they established it and spread it to different universities. Interacting with all the participants is one of the most humbling experiences I have ever undergone. Watching the participants’ faces light up when they understand a concept or successfully complete an activity not only brightens their day, but brightens mine as well. Mind&Melody has given me experience interacting with individuals of various different backgrounds and working with others. I have also gained experience with making lesson plans and having to cater them to different people’s needs. I have become a better teacher as well, learning what methods are most effective at conveying different concepts. However, what I liked most about Mind&Melody was that it gave me an incentive to get back in touch with my musical roots, something I dearly missed once I began college. Being able to teach music rather than be a music student was new to me, but exciting nonetheless. Joining Mind&Melody was one of the highlights of my first year of college and I look forward to continue working with them in the future!
I became a part of the Mind&Melody program during my senior year of high school—a time when students are to choose what they want for their futures. Becoming a part of this program helped me to decide just that. I have always wanted to continue in music, but I did not know what field of study I would go into. Going to Mind&Melody sessions helped me realize that I should pursue music therapy. As a student taking part in the program I learned how to make lesson plans that will keep the patients focused and that will allow them to interact. I also learned how to make up questions or new musical lessons on the spot if there was extra time left—you have to be ready for anything. I learned that, as a musician, I can use my music as a way to help people and shape their lives. I learned about how to interact with patients who have varying levels of dementia and memory loss. Mind&Melody is a wonderful learning experience, and it also allows for young musicians to practice their pieces in front of a welcoming audience. Playing a new piece publicly for the first time can be a scary thing, but the caring and kind atmosphere at Mind&Melody makes performing a simple task. Also, interacting with other talented musicians does nothing but help each of us to grow. We all learn from and build upon each other, which really allows us to become better musicians and people. I am very grateful to have found Mind&Melody, for this group has taught me that I can shape other people’s lives through my passion for music.
My girlfriend, Alexis, had been a volunteer for the Mind & Melody a few weeks before me and was the one to get me involved. She convinced me to go with her to a session with her one and I'm so glad I did. The Mind&Melody sessions held at FAU were all basically run by the volunteers which are comprised of a majority of high school music students. This allowed the volunteers, such as myself, to take charge and develop our public speaking, as well as lead a group. The volunteers were all given opportunities to present their ideas and contribute whatever they have at any session. The program allows volunteers to control the direction of these sessions, which grants volunteers to experiment and gain experience. Attending these Mind & Melody sessions enlightened me to a field of study I hadn't even considered before. By providing a comfortable environment for volunteers to thrive, and allowing the volunteers to direct the sessions, Mind&Melody has built a strong foundation for my future as a musician and perhaps music therapist one day.
It was instilled by my parents the need to give back to the community in whatever way possible. As a musician, Mind&Melody, allows me to give back to the community through something that I am passionate about, music. During my experience as a volunteer musician, you could see the participants engage in the various musical activities that were planned out during the session. Their level of attention and focus was evident and more importantly, all of them, including the volunteer musicians had fun. The icing on the cake, for me, was at the end of the session, bringing out my classical guitar and performing a few pieces for everyone in attendance. Music does a beautiful thing, not only to the mind, but also to the soul. Giving freely of my time and participating in Mind&Melody was a sincere pleasure and experience in knowing that I had a small part in enhancing the lives of those experiencing memory loss.
My experience at Mind&Melody has been challenging and rewarding. I have gotten the opportunity to make a real difference in someone's life while enriching my own. I was able to assist patients, give presentations, and had many opportunities to perform. My teaching skills have gone up noticeably and I was having fun the whole time. I can gladly recommend Mind&Melody (to anyone) who wants to volunteer.
Mind and Melody is a wonderful program because it gives people the opportunity to connect to music. Through Mind and Melody I learned how to teach music to dementia patients using colored post- it notes. Helping dementia patients play piano made me realize that it takes a small action to make a huge difference. I'm honored that I had the opportunity to make a difference in someone's life.
My name is David Bungarz. I have participated in Mind and Melody activities three times. I am currently a music student at FAU. The instrument that I am studying is classical guitar. I would like to say a few things about the Mind and Melody program. First, I would like to say a few more things about who I am. I have been a Boca Raton city employee for Ocean Rescue for thirteen years. I have been a Emergency Medical Technician for three years. Through experience over the years in clinical hospital/fire station settings, and work related settings I have a good bit of knowledge about emergency elderly care. I also know that in situations with the elderly, and terminally ill every bit of care that other people show them counts. The volunteers that put this program together every week truly have greatness and goodness in their hearts and minds. I have personally been there to see and hear the gratitude of those who have been an audience to Mind and Melody activities. I am writing this testimonial in awe of the efforts of the volunteers who run this program week after week. Their determination to stimulate the minds of Alzheimer's, and dementia patients through music is both inspirational and heart warming.
My experience at Mind & Melody was terrific. Their mission is simple. Help expose music to people who could use it. As a musician, educator and performer with 15 years of experience, I've seen great things come out of Mind & Melody's music education system. Within a few short weeks, participants could read basic melodies and express themselves. Music allows an individual to access an unbelievable amount of mental and physical benefits. It still amazes me to this day that a patient suffering from dementia can remember a song that they haven't heard in over 30 years. Mind & Melody successfully helps patients remember these memories so that they can seem young once again. It is fun and scientifically proven to awaken an individual's mind. Hence the name: Mind & Melody.