About Laura Monk Music
I have been immersed in the music world for over 60 years! Really! It all began when my Mother started taking piano lessons while she was pregnant with me.
This love of music has led me down many paths. As a teacher, preschool director, youth minister, professional Storyteller and professional Singer/Songwriter I have performed and shared music with all ages in settings ranging from one on one to large groups in auditoriums.
However, it wasn’t until I learned that a dear friend whom I have known since elementary school was suffering from early onset Alzheimer’s that I became aware of what my next musical journey would be.
“Musical memory, buried in the oldest parts of our brain, survives the ravages of the disease and can create a bridge to the past both for the patient and family and friends.” – Oliver Sacks, Neurologist
I am sure you would agree that special moments throughout our lives have been marked by music. “Most people associate music with important events and a wide array of emotions. The connection can be so strong that hearing a tune long after the occurrence evokes a memory of it.” (AFA) I have experienced this very thing as I watched an Alzheimer patient who sat motionless and mentally removed from a group suddenly light up and wave her pointer finger in the air as I began to sing a song from the 1930’s. I would consider it an honor to share memories and a musical journey with your residents and their families.
Now, 3 years after the reunion with my dear friend I find myself revisiting a part of my musical story. Making and sharing music and stories with children! Having joined the Grandparent club I am so thrilled to be playing children’s music again… it was just a matter of time before I wanted to travel that road again professionally. For more information about children’s music please click on the button at the top right corner.
And so I now find myself joyfully… Awakening The Musical Spirit Throughout the Circle of Life!
Laura is a gift from heaven… all the residents and my wife enjoy the way she interacts with them and the sweet music she plays….. truly a gift from heaven.
Cecile's Story: Why Music for Alzheimer’s Patients?
My journey to music with Memory patients was truly an unexpected trip.
One Sunday afternoon in January 2016 I attended a small gathering at a friends home where you made your goals for the year….sort of like New Years resolutions, but goals that were more about spiritual and personal growth and what you wanted to give to others.
My first goal was to do more with my music and music in general. I didn’t know how, but I felt I needed to do something with music that would not only feed my soul but others as well.
Then, while on facebook one night, someone from my high school mentions keeping those who are sick in our thoughts and prayers…on the list of those who were ill was the name of my best friend from elementary and high school.
I was shocked….I had friended Cecile on fb around 2009, but never had any response from her when I posted. She did accept me as a friend, but that was it. I was sad, but just figured she had moved on and our friendship didn’t carry the same place in her memory as it did for me. It was okay…that’s just how it goes sometimes.
I found out that she had been diagnosed with early onset Alzheimers and I was devastated. I cried for a full week, off and on …it would just hit me and I would be overcome with sadness. I wanted to see her, I had to see her….I had to tell her I was sorry I didn’t try harder to connect. I realized that the reason I didn’t hear from her on fb was due to what she was going through. I had to get to know her again in what ever way I could and I had to tell her our stories. I was able to find her husband and we spoke on the phone and I learned Cecile’s story.
One of my clearest memories of our friendship was the music that surrounded us. She had a music filled home. Her Dad would turn up the stereo blaring classical music. We would turn up the stereo blaring The Rolling Stones or some other popular band. I shared this memory with her husband and the fact that music was always a connection we shared between us. I asked if I could come and play for Cecile. There was a lot of music between us!
I began to visit around every two weeks and sing for Cecile and before to long the other residents were joining in. I was feeling so fortunate to have Cecile back in my life and on top of that I received such joy and peace from singing with her and all the residents there. I truly know that I am receiving more than I am giving.
Lo and behold I was fulfilling my first goal on that January list. I had no idea what was ahead of me when I wrote that down, but I am so grateful for the door that opened.
Would it be wonderful to sit and reminisce with Cecile over a glass of wine? Of course. And I hate that we didn’t have that
time. But I will take what I can get and I have to believe this is our time.
And just in case there is any doubt that I am suppose to be doing this I must share one more thing with you. Do you know who the Patron Saint of Music is?
That says it all!
How could one ever imagine that after losing touch for almost 40 years two childhood friends would come back together following one of them experiencing a terminal illness? My wife Cecile was diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer’s disease in 2009 at the age of 51.
In 2016 I was contacted by Laura Monk who was Cecile’s best friend in Middle and High school. She had seen a prayer for Cecile on the their high school alumni website. She immediately needed to find Cecile and found me through the internet. Since then Laura has been visiting her at the care home where she is in the final chapter of her life and plays music for her and the other residents. Everyone including the staff feel that Laura is a gift from heaven as they all enjoy the way she interacts with them and the sweet music she plays….. truly a gift from heaven.
What Laura Offers
One hour music sing-a-long includes old standards, show tunes, folk songs, hymns, patriotic songs, pop songs accompanied by vocals and acoustic guitar.
Requests are welcome…if I don’t know it I will learn it!
Hand percussion instruments such as egg shakers, small drums, etc are available for anyone who would like to join in and be in the band.
Movement and dancing encouraged if residents are able. Staff on hand to “partner” with residents is always great fun. Hand movements are added to songs to get more involved.
Here’s a very short list of the many songs in my repertoire!
- Frank Sinatra: Fly Me To The Moon
- Ella Fitzgerald: Ain’t Misbehavin’
- Johnny Cash: Ring of Fire
- America The Beautiful
- God Bless America
- Smokey Robinson: You Really Got A Hold On Me
- Side by Side
- James Taylor/.Carole King: You’ve Got a Friend
- Barry Manilow: Can’t Smile Without You
- O Love That Will Not Let Me Go
- Amazing Grace
- Wayfaring Stranger
- The Boxtops: The Letter
- Del Shannon: Runaway
- Mares Eat Oats
- Take Me Out To the Ballgame
- Nothing Could Be Finer
- Dream A Little Dream
- Sting: Fields of Gold
- Carole King: Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
- The Beatles: In My Life
- Patsy Cline:I Love Ya Honey
- Walking The Dog
- The Wizard of Oz: If I Only Had A Brian
- You Are My Sunshine
- Ain’t Misbehavin’
- The Sound of Music: My Favorite Things
- She’ll Be coming Round The Mountain
- Lullabies such as Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Rock Abye Baby
- Seasonal Songs