The Gift of Music

Rehabilitation Center Performance

Fretmentor Bluegrass Class Members Performing At A Rehabilitation Center in West Palm Beach, Florida

A new feature for Fretmentor’s Blog is to hear about the experience of other music lovers, students and performers .  Today,  I have invited a guest (Silvia White) to contribute a story on her recent experiences playing music for a special group of elderly residents who welcomed and appreciated their gift of music.  At Fretmentor’s Blog, I look forward to other contributions and musical articles of interest.  Please contact me to see how you can contribute such articles.

When I retired from teaching I started taking guitar lessons from FRETMENTOR.  My mom was delighted at my new “venture” in life as I had quit playing the piano long ago against her wishes and my dad’s.  She kept asking me when was I going to play at her assisted living facility.  My reply was always: “never….I’ll never be “that good”.  Each Christmas I would ask her what she wanted us to give her and she would always reply that she just wanted my husband and I to play music for them….she was relentless…so I finally gave/caved in.
Performing At Assisted Living Facility

Silvia & Sam White Performing At An Assisted Living Facility In Baton Rouge, Louisiana

Our first “performance” was three years ago.  I made up booklets of songs that my mom had requested us to play with all the lyrics and each person got a book so they could sing along and make it more festive.  Boy, was it a hit….my nerves stopped as soon as we played the first song and all the residents started singing as loud as they could.  My “non-expertise” was not  noticed.  Music just brought all the residents  alive!  There was this one gentleman in a wheel chair that hadn’t stood up for a long time and when we got to the patriotic songs and played and sang Anchors Aweigh, the Navy tune,  he stood up and saluted us, (his wife told us he had been in the Navy during the Korean War)….I still get tears when I think of him.

Now each time we go to visit my mom and they see us they want to know when the party is!  Needless to say we always oblige!  This is such a rewarding experience that now each time we get to play for others in need of a little enjoyment we jump to it.  A few weeks ago 8 of us from our Bluegrass Class performed for about an hour at a local rehabilitation center.  It was the first time most of them had experienced this and they came out with the same feelings…..what a way to give back!   Music brings us memories of different times in our lives, it brings us joy and for a little while it helps us forget our troubles.
We are so grateful to my mom for having insisted that we play at her place.  We give a little of our time to help others enjoy this life a little more but what we receive from them is 100 times over.  Thanks MOM!
NOTE:  Silvia White took piano lessons in elementary school.  She is a graduate of LSU where she majored in Education.  She taught secondary education for 35 years and upon retiring she started taking guitar lessons from Fretmentor.  She followed her guitar lessons with mandolin lessons from the same instructor and is also learning how to play the fiddle.  You will see her every Wednesday night at the Bluegrass Class offered by Fretmentor in Jupiter, Florida.

About fretmentor

Born in Detroit, Michigan, David F. Jakubiak has been involved in music since the age of 7, beginning as a clarinet player and then at 9 turning his attention to stringed instruments. He earned trophies in group talent competitions while a student at the University of Michigan. The instructor earned a BA degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. At college, he also studied classical music and music history. His passion is teaching music and in performing as a musician. In addition to on-stage performances, David has played in various venues from outdoor festivals to small nightclubs. He plays, performs and teaches various styles of music, including rock, pop, blues, jazz, classical, country and bluegrass styles. He performs and teaches acoustic and electric guitar, five-string banjo, and mandolin. His styles range from Scruggs, melodic, Reno and old-time style on banjo, to finger-style and flat-picking technique on guitar, to various styles of mandolin. For over 45 years, Mr. Jakubiak has taught all age groups, taking a personal interest in each student to ensure that they receive the attention and lesson plans that meet their needs and interests. His lessons and instructional materials place a strong emphasis on the practical use or music theory to ensure that the student understands the instrument and learns how to improvise to develop their own style. Mr Jakubiak teaches group and studio classes, webcam lessons over the internet, and individual private lessons to students of various ages. He has compiled and produced eight instructional books on CD as well as numerous instrumental arrangements. David has written for Banjo Newsletter, a monthly publication for the banjo enthusiast and has published an article in Issue #37 of the Fretboard Journal. He is the founder of To contact David Jakubiak, please feel free to e-mail him at david AT (substitute the @ sign for the word AT)
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One Response to The Gift of Music

  1. avatar Julia says:

    I just finished playing at a assisted living facility this afternoon, and I utterly agree with you, Sylvia: It is amazing how even thirty minutes of music can bring such hapiness to people, because it is thirty minutes of pure joy. Music is called the “universal language,” and it is true; even if the person cannot speak, it can speak to their heart and work wonders for the human soul, no matter what sort things one might have gone through in their life. Every song has and tells a story, whether of happiness or sadness, and sharing those stories can bring people back to places that they have been, or help them to better enjoy and see the good things in the place that they are at.
    What an amazing gift we have been given, both to enjoy and to give again, in music!
    God bless!!!!!!

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