We at Alliance Homecare are committed to providing comprehensive, full-service care to our clients. We can’t do this alone, which is why we’ve created a network of professionals spanning from financial services to at-home yoga visits.
Today, we’d like to introduce viewers to our newest connection, Concerts in Motion. This organization is dedicated to providing professional music to people in need. We spoke with Jennifer Finn, founder of the organization to learn more about this inspiring idea.
Alliance Homecare: Can you give us a brief history of your organization, Concerts in Motion? What inspired you to start this project?
Jennifer Finn: I founded Concerts in Motion in 2009. I am a professional opera singer and music teacher. Before I had to perform a new role, I would practice by singing the part at local nursing homes and hospitals. It didn’t matter if the audience was knowledgeable about music or if they didn’t know a thing; they were paying attention to my singing and were appreciative. After these concerts, I was blown away by how music helped these people.
After one concert at a nursing home, I left knowing with complete clarity that this was what I wanted to do. I recruited other like-minded musicians to join my cause. Over time, I learned how to enter a room and decide what song choice could lift up two complete strangers.
I eventually asked my private students if they wanted to perform our spring concert at a local nursing home instead of at a formal concert setting. The students said yes. After the nursing home concert, the patients showered the performers with compliments and asked questions about the music. After this experience, nursing homes became our concert location of preference and Concerts in Motion was born.
Today, we provide over one thousand concerts annually and extend across the five boroughs to reach thousands of New Yorkers. We give both private and group concerts to people from all walks of life. Our roster of musicians can perform every genre of music under the sun: Traditional Chinese, Klezmer, Motown, Jewish, Jazz, Classical, Folk, and Broadway to name just a few.
Music is a powerful tool that can help someone regain vitality, and I am grateful to bring the gift of music to people who need it most.
Alliance Homecare: How can Concerts in Motion serve the home health community?
Jennifer Finn: We are eager to bring the healing benefits of live music and personal interaction to people unable to leave their homes because of illness or disability. Sometimes the older adults we reach were active concertgoers in the past; sometimes we are reaching older adults who had little access to professional musicians before. Either way, our focus is to present music that is most impactful to the individual.
Once, after our musician played Spanish songs for a Spanish-speaking older adult, the home health aide told us that it was the first time he had seen this patient smile in a long time. Aides often tell us that a concert visit makes patients calm, happy, and alert. This comment from one of our concert recipients sums it up: “You have no idea what it does for me when you come here! I wish you could come every day.”
Our performers interact beyond the music. We have lively conversations with older adults and answer questions about the music or share personal experiences. For people who can no longer communicate verbally, the visits are just as powerful. Music needs no words.
Do you believe the therapeutic effects of music are utilized to their full potential? If not, what would you like to see change?
Jennifer Finn: There is so much that music can do, especially when it’s the music that is beloved by the concert recipient. In our experience, the right piece or song can connect people with one another or with their own memories and emotions. Music renews energy, inspires conversation, helps with physical or cognitive rehabilitation, alleviates stress and pain, and makes people feel good. Dr. Audrey Chun, Director of Mount Sinai Hospital’s Martha Stewart Center for Living, says, “Music has been shown to ease pain, reduce depression, and decrease the amount of medications needed to manage symptoms. It has been used to accelerate recovery from debilitating illnesses, like strokes, heart attacks and much more.”
What is especially wonderful is that the effect of these personalized concert visits can be seen very quickly. For example, after one of our concerts, the home health aide told our performers that the senior had been depressed and crying earlier in the day, but cheered up immediately after the concert. A family member of another concert recipient said that when Concerts in Motion comes to visit, “It is as if someone pressed the restart button on my father’s memory.”
Alliance Homecare: Well said, Jennifer. Thank you so much for your time and corroboration with our agency. We have a feeling that this is the beginning of a wonderful relationship.
If you or someone you love could benefit from the beauty of music, visit the Concerts in Motion website.