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  • Writer's pictureNathaniel Keen

Don't you worry 'bout a thing

Musician: Nat Keen (guitar)

Today I was flying solo and began my day with JG who got up from bed with a relative bounce to greet me. I enjoyed meandering conversations with her whilst playing folky guitar pieces. We talked together about the different sounds that could be achieved by detuning the guitar. We sang together and we agreed that when I sang an octave below her 'our voices blend well together'.

JG enjoys engaging in many aspects of music. Together we talked about the significance of concentrating on lyrical content and how easily one can be distracted and swept away by the instruments surrounding the voice. We looked through my music pad and she was intrigued by some of the musical terminology that she noticed e.g 'what's a medium ballad?' and 'can you explain AABA form to me?'. We then flicked through some more pieces and she noticed the Stevie Wonder song 'don't you worry 'bout a thing' which, due to her less than perfect eye sight she read as 'how about a fling?'. I politely declined and then attempted the song, forgetting how difficult Stevie songs are to sing, JG was very forgiving of course.

Next, I went to see JBL and noticed her partner Matt standing outside in the bitter cold wearing what looked like 10 layers of jumpers and coats. I chatted with him about how I'd noticed a big improvement in J's communication/movement in recent months, he echoed my sentiment by mentioning that everybody is saying the same thing including her language therapist. JBL clearly understands everything and responds accordingly with her eyes but is also clearly building strength and mobility every day. I played some of her favourite Bob Marley songs as Matt filmed in order to send to their family members and we chatted about his upbringing in Tulse Hill in the 1970s.

On the first floor lounge area I bumped into Daniel (nurse) busy at work and resident DB sitting on the couch. I was aware with DB that he feels more comfortable being slightly distant from the rest of the crowd due to his condition so I decided to engage musically with Daniel so as not to pressure DB into any social interaction. In a moment of personal triumph, I gently bullied Daniel into singing Dolly Parton's Jolene with me and from the corner of my eye I could see DB smiling so when the song came to an end, I asked 'You'd like to hear Daniel sing another song wouldn't you?' he replied 'Yes!'. By the end of the song DB gave us a rapturous applause and promptly bolted out of his seat and left the room.

After this scene resident JS entered the room. He seemed a little preoccupied and down so I began a conversation with him about architecture, (he lived in Australia and worked as an architect many years ago) hoping to bring his thoughts into the present. JS is often in an anxious mood before we play music together and it more often than not then alleviates his stresses but on this occasion, he mentioned that his hearing had all but gone and he was finding it difficult to hear anything I said, let alone played on the guitar. It would be a great shame if he wasn't able to engage with music due to his hearing as it brings him so much joy. We finished by talking about his happy days singing with the Shoreham singers on the Sussex coast back before he left for Australia. If JS's singing is half as good as his percussion playing, I can imagine he was quite the south coast vocal star back in his day.

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