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Monday, July 7, 2008

For an audience of one: A hospice musician

As Judith Jackson recalls, last October "my mother was in her final week of life when Marcia [Feldman] came to play for her. It was a wonderful gift not only to my mother but to me. I was spending hour after hour sitting at her bedside, and then Marcia would come in and play this very soothing music. The nurses told me the last thing to go is the hearing. And my mother always loved that type of music."

Marcia, a classical guitarist, is a hospice musician. She has educated herself in the musical traditions of a variety of cultures, so that she can best match the music she plays to the heritage and preferences of the patient she is playing for. "Even when patients are too sick for verbal expression, the nurses can tell me when they are responding well to my music – their breathing may become less labored, for example," she said.

Marcia first began thinking about the connection between death and music when she lost her father 20 years ago. "His situation did not involve hospice care; he died suddenly. But something about the process of grieving for him made me think increasingly about the role music plays at our most troubling times," she said.

She has recently released a new CD, "Between the Worlds."

Advice: Consider bringing some music for your loved one in hospice care.

Read another hospice story.

Thanks to Nancy Shohet West for the source story in today's Boston Globe Sidekick magazine.

You can order her CD at CDBaby.com. I haven't heard the CD. I don't get any money for recommending this.

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