Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016 - (Page 20)

SHARING THE GIFTS by Noah Lee LAST SPRING, AS A FINALIST IN THE AMERICAN CHAMBER ORCHESTRA CONCERTO COMPETITION, I PERFORMED A MOZART VIOLIN CONCERTO WITH THE ORCHESTRA. I ALSO PLAYED A PROKOFIEV PRELUDE AT CARNEGIE HALL DURING THE AMERICAN PROTÉGÉ INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION. THESE WERE AMONG TWO DOZEN MUSICAL PERFORMANCES I PARTICIPATED IN OVER THE PAST YEAR. BUT THE MOST MEMORABLE ONE TOOK PLACE WHEN MY FAMILY PERFORMED FOR A GROUP OF CHILDREN AT A CHURCH IN KOREA. I started playing the violin at age four. After a couple of years of lessons, I felt very comfortable with the instrument. My violin teacher encouraged me to enter local competitions at age six, and at age eight, state-level competitions. Around the same time, I also began to play the piano. Yet even as I earned awards and certificates for both instruments, my father had a different plan for applying my musical talent. My father, a geriatric psychiatrist, works with patients with Alzheimer's dementia. When I was nine, he came up with an idea for my family to play music for dementia patients in nursing homes. My sister, Rebecca, was five and just starting to play the violin. Rebecca was also a terrific singer, although she hadn't had any formal voice lessons. My father had sung and played guitar in college. With my mother as the piano accompanist, we formed the Forget-Me-Not Family Ensemble. To be honest, I was a little reluctant about the idea. At nine years old, I didn't grasp the importance of music to these patients. And our first concert, at a dementia care nursing home in Sykesville, Maryland, was one of the most frightening experiences I've ever had. The Forget-Me-Not Family Ensemble In the nursing home, assistants were pushing elderly people-many with oxygen tubes in their noses-around in wheelchairs. When we began to play, some members of the audience made odd grunting and murmuring sounds. The audiences I was used to were attentive and would clap at the end of each piece, but now there was only silence. Feeling uncomfortable, I kept glancing at my father, who just smiled and encouraged me to play on. When my sister began playing "America the Beautiful" on the violin, something magical happened: The barely awake audience began to sing along, their voices rising in chorus. In spite of this, and although Rebecca seemed unaffected by the audience, I continued to feel flustered and made multiple mistakes. I 20 imagine simply wasn't comfortable in the nursing home environment. To my nine-year-old sensibility, it smelled like sickness. It smelled like ... oldness. I would much rather have played somewhere cheerful and sunny, perhaps in a nice concert hall. It took a long time for my parents to convince me to perform in that kind of setting again. Playing for the People Over time, I began to appreciate the concerts and all they encompassed. Developing music programs and practicing together for each concert became special experiences for my family. I also grew accustomed to spending time around patients with a variety of illnesses. At some point, I realized that I was no longer playing for a prize or praise from a group of judges; I was simply playing for people who enjoyed good music. After one performance, I

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016

Big Picture
In My Own Words Senator Barbara Mikulski
Run, Ride, Sell! Funding causes that matter
Start Something! Initiatives by kids, for kids
Changing Lives, One School at a Time Making a difference for students in need
Empowered to Make a Difference The Civic Leadership Institute at CTY and CTD
Sharing the Gifts of Music The Forget-Me-Not Family Ensemble
Service, Leadership, Entrepreneurship . . . Launch! Learning the art of the startup at MIT Launch
Sharing the Rewards Building a shadowing program for my peers
Discovering the Leader Within Exploring leadership and social justice at Brown
Gap Year A time to refresh, serve, and grow
Research at the Edge of the World An Antarctic photo essay
Selected Opportunities and Resources
Off the Shelf Review of Anthony Doerr’s All the Light We Cannot See
Word Wise
Exploring Career Options Interview with entrepreneur Henry Albrecht, CEO, Limeade
One Step Ahead My college startup
Planning Ahead for College Skills and knowledge for college success
Students Review: Lehigh University
Mark Your Calendar
Knossos Games

Imagine Magazine - Johns Hopkins - March/April 2016