One of CICOA’s goals is to enrich the lives of those it serves. That’s now happening through music therapy. Amy Rohn, a Celtic harpist from Indianapolis, volunteers her time to bring her music into the homes of several CICOA clients each month.
While music therapy at CICOA is in its early stages, it’s already garnering a positive response, said Tara DeBoo, CICOA’s volunteer coordinator. Studies have shown the emotional and health benefits of music therapy. Because so many seniors experience loneliness, DeBoo hopes this new program will help combat that.
“We want to think outside the box and bring in different volunteers, like Amy, to implement art enrichment,” DeBoo said. “Clients are so appreciative. One of our clients used to be a musician, and he said he’s not heard someone play an instrument so close to him for a long time. His wife had never heard a harp in person.”
Rohn plays for 15 to 20 minutes for clients. One client saw her neighbors outside, so she invited them in, and Rohn performed a private concert in the living room for the small group. Several were brought to tears when she played “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
Not only does Rohn play a variety of songs, but she also composes a unique song for each client by “playing their name” on the strings, which she says often offers a healing experience for people.
“I certainly like to provide that for people in hospice care or for those with disabilities. It touches them in a way that Christmas music does not. It’s very personalized,” she said.
Rohn has donated more than 180 hours to play the harp for CICOA clients. She’s looking forward to being able to touch even more people with music in 2018. Her website is thelittleharpist.com.