Healing, through live music performances. Giving Music is a 501 (c)(3) non-profit charitable organization.
Every year Giving Music uses the healing power of secular music to impact thousands of Los Angeles County residents in nursing and convalescent homes, hospitals, veterans affairs centers, and senior citizen centers. Our live band sings along, dances, and plays instruments with audience members and their caregivers, using music to create a bond for appropriate care. We give over 100 performances and dances every year, and play swing, oldies, jazz, r&b, country, 50s, rock, disco and themed events – any popular, mainstream songs that can unlock nostalgia in someone’s life: a wedding, a first kiss, cruising in a car, a dance…
Why is this important?
Music is the last thing to go – it has its own neural circuitry. It triggers memories with emotion, which breaks through medical ailments to get to the person. Once the person is reached, better caregiving can be provided: victims of stroke and Alzheimer’s are able to find their words again, gait therapy with music steadies shaking for those with Parkinson’s disease, and dancing to music strengthens muscles that help with balance. Better balance increases mobility and prevents falling, which is the number one serious-to-fatal injury in the elderly. According to the Centers for Disease Control:
Bringing the healing power of music to the residents of Los Angeles County care facilities and institutions is what Giving Music is all about. Our dedicated team of volunteer musicians and singers reside in every neighborhood of Los Angeles, and are working professionals who travel throughout the County to perform at a fraction of their usual rates. As a non-profit organization, our costs also include: scheduling and staffing performances, gas to/from each event, load-in/load-out, setup and strike, music preparation and printing, providing and running a sound system, photography, flyers, and website and social media maintenance.
We can only accomplish our mission with your help.
A tax-deductible donation gives music to many who would otherwise not enjoy the health benefits that live music can provide. Help us spread the healing power of music by clicking on the red ‘Donate Now‘ button in the upper right-hand corner to make a contribution. Your name or company’s name will be added to our performance programs, as well as to our benefactor’s page. Also, our organization receives contributions when you make Amazon Smile and Ralphs purchases, so please click on the links and follow the instructions to get signed up and help with our mission.
On behalf of our audiences, thank you for helping to give the healing power of music, and for making wellness a priority for Los Angeles residents!
Giving Music is a Los Angeles-based, 501 (c)(3) charity dedicated to bringing live music to care facilities and social service agencies in Los Angeles County. We are staffed by music, medical and social service professionals who are committed to bringing the joy and healing power of music to nursing homes, hospitals, veterans’ centers and shelters at no cost. Our volunteer professional musicians and singers have performed for thousands of residents at over 100 care facilities. A typical performance features 3 to 5 musicians accompanying one or more vocalists, and showcases secular music that is familiar and specific to our audiences. We also feature classical ensembles, soloists and duets as well.
We are in demand most around holidays, the most musical times of the year. These are also the loneliest times of the year for our audiences, who may not be able to be around family. This makes our mission even more important: we prepare music specific to an occasion, including love songs for Valentine’s Day, Irish jigs for St. Patrick’s Day, “parent” songs for Mother’s and Father’s Days, Spanish songs for Cinco de Mayo, patriotic material for Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veteran’s Day, spooky songs for Halloween/Dia De Los Muertos, and holiday classics for year-end events.
“After the last event, residents who are not normally able to give a response were suddenly clapping and singing. There’s clearly something happening here that’s quite wonderful.”
– Myles Andrews, Administrator, Highland Park Skilled Care Facility
“Our residents have never heard that kind of music. They were in great spirits not just for the rest of the day, but for the rest of the week!”
– Linda Goldfinger, Activity Director, Fireside Convalescent Hospital
“To our surprise, one of our residents who rarely speaks was rocking away, even putting her hands up and waving them along with the music.”
– Jean-Marie Meyer, Activity Director, Woodland Care Center
“Truly Awesome! It is caring people such as yourselves who make all the difference for our patients and make the world a brighter place.”
– Marianne Davis, Chief of Voluntary Service, Department of Veteran Affairs
“I have no words to express the excitement that your program put in my residents. Even the ones that never get out of their chairs were dancing and singing. Your carolers, musicians and every single person that was part of this amazing program need to know how grateful they all are. Thanks for bringing so much joy to them.”
– Vera Zakuto, Fairwinds-West Hills Program Director
“Giving Music was exceptional! Five wonderfully talented musicians delighted our residents…and we hope to see you again soon!”
– Howard Celnik, Activity Director, Fireside Convalescent Hospital, Santa Monica
The big guy standing near the parking garage told us, “I’m just the security guard,” but said he would try to help the band find parking. If you know Santa Monica, where we were doing an outdoor gig at a nice nursing home, you know we were a lot more likely to need help with parking than we were with security. We all got a good place to park our cars and only had to carry our equipment a short distance. It was a sunny day and we set up on the patio where the residents were enjoying a beautiful day by the beach with a bar-b-que and live music. That’s us.
I’m sort of the roadie and equipment guy as well as the photographer and president of our organization. With all that assumed authority I get to set things up, to a degree, the way I want them to be. I like to give our singers long cords, thirty to fifty feet, on their microphones so they can get off the stage and out into the crowd. The nursing home staff and residents seem to like that and the singers do too. The residents often sing along and hug the singers. As a medical social worker, I have always encouraged physical contact like that and the nursing home residents love it when I bring pictures of them with the singers or the band the next time we play there.
Near the end of our set, the residents were dancing and singing along and I happened to glance over at the big security guard, also watching the show. As I looked closer, I noticed he had tears on his cheeks. No social worker would let that get by, so I walked over to make sure he was OK. Sometimes our performances hit a strong musical memory and it isn’t uncommon for patients at nursing homes to tear up from such memories. But it didn’t seem like that would be the case with this guy. He was too big and strong for that.
“Are you all right?” I queried.
“Yeah, I guess,” he answered and then went silent for a moment. I did too.
“I’ve worked here for a few years now and seen a lot of musicians come and play, but you guys are the first ones I’ve seen that physically touch the patients. Other bands seem a little frightened to do it. But look at them. Look how happy and content they are.”
By now he was wiping at his eyes trying to keep up with those happy tears. Pretty brave, I thought, for a guy who was “just the security guard.”
We still didn’t need one of those. We just needed help parking. But the residents really did need that security guard just like they needed that touch. It was a special gig for us, getting noticed in that way. Even the social worker.
–Bob Lanz, L.C.S.W.