I started volunteering in high school, mainly because of a teacher’s encouragement. According to her, volunteering was fun, meaningful, and rewarding. I did find my volunteering meaningful; however, unlike most volunteers, I did not find it that interesting. Of course, whether something is fun or not is relatively personal. It was then I started realizing that even for volunteering it has to reflect my own identity – who I am, what I believe, and who I care for.
As a pianist, I have always found music affective and touching. Since a young age, I believe that music should not be bounded in concert halls or certain events. It has a crucial role in society – to touch those who may have less access to live music. What if music could be performed in hospitals and care homes? I began to look up for charities, who are keen to use music in hospitals and care settings. And surprisingly, quite a few of them were very welcome to the idea or have started using music in care settings!! I started to give concerts for elderly people in care homes and offer music sessions for patients at hospitals. For the latter instance, I would carry a small electronic piano to the patient’s bay, to have conversations with them and to take their musical requests.
I think we all have our specific ways of expression, besides semiotic language. And to me, it is piano music. In a care home setting, for instance, when playing the tune of Salut d’amour (Elgar, 1888), serenity, gratitude and love were some emotions that were embodied in my musical expression. It is my great joy and privilege, that elderly people and patients would connect with me in that musical moment. Their faces would look contented and relaxed. I felt like as if our hearts were connected in music. After the performance, these lovely elderly people would share their life with you. That moment of human connection through music is my greatest joy of volunteering.
As mentioned, I think everything we intended to do reflect who we are and what we care about. Finding my own volunteering path, through finding an opportunity that match my passion has been a rewarding process. It has been a continuous, wonderful journey, full of joy, surprises as well as excitement. I hope you find your own volunteering path and enjoy it as much as I do!