Ithaca College Students volunteer at Cayuga Ridge.


Fifteen Ithaca College student volunteers from the “Healing Through Musical Companionship” club are bringing smiles and toe-tapping to residents at Cayuga Ridge Skilled Nursing Facility this school year. Guitars, singing, double bass, and even vibraphone can be heard wafting out from rooms of bed-bound residents and down the hallways. I have heard everything from “You Are My Sunshine” to Van Morrison‘s “Brown Eyed Girl” to “Hey Jude”. Wow! This music is truly cross-generational as a new generation of elders redefines the songs that light them up AND the students know and cherish the same songs! Providing support and mentoring to these kind, musical students is a true pleasure for me. Below you will find quotes from a few of the students sharing their thoughts and experiences.


“I went into the Music as Medicine class with a sense of skepticism I think many who haven’t shared music in a healthcare setting may have. I just could not believe the positive impact live performances could have on the people I met and how their reactions would change the way I felt as a performer. There’s a sense of honesty in the way our music was received that required just as much genuineness in it’s delivery. I found I was much more capable of real human connection than I had previously thought.”

~ Dan

“When we walked down the hall we saw E., who saw our instruments and asked us to play in the hall. We played “Isn’t She Lovely” and “When the Saints” for her. At that point we had drawn a crowd and decided to go into the common room. A few people asked me t play “Turkey in the Straw” which was well received with clapping and stomping and lots of smiles. At this point, we were raking requests, so we also played, “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and the theme from “Devil Went Down to Georgia.” We had so much fun playing for lots of smiling faces.”


“Today’s visit to Cayuga Ridge was an important experience for me. I went in with anxiety and fear about the day. I was not sure if I was fully prepared to play my music, I was nervous that I would have negative feelings about the nursing home, and I was nervous about interacting with people so different from myself. As soon as I walked into T.’s room, however, that all changed. Her bright smile and welcoming personality reminded me that there was nothing to be

nervous about.” ~Alex

“Working with the residents of Cayuga Ridge in our Exploring Music as Medicine class at Ithaca College was one of the most transformative experiences of my life. After spending a semester sharing our gifts with the residents, I felt like I finally unlocked a missing puzzle piece of what it truly means to be a musician and what it truly means to make music. It became clear to me that music is meant to be shared, and that the power of music can elevate and transform the human condition. I carry this discovery with me every day of my life. “ ~ Tristen (class alum, club)

“I love visiting Cayuga Ridge and the residents because I love seeing them smile while they’re listening to us sing to them. It seems like we are really brightening their day and seeing them happy makes me content. I also believe that music distracts them from whatever they are going through and gives them something else to think about even if its for a few minutes.

I really love visiting them!”


“The two things that matter most to me are connecting with people and appreciating music. Visiting the elders at Cayuga Ridge affords me the opportunity to combine these two things as we engage one another in the sharing of our love for music and song.” ~Sarah