A video of an elderly man playing piano at his home in England has left netizens deeply moved. His son shared the video and it quickly attracted a lot of attention online, with people talking about ‘power of music’.
The man playing the musical instrument is Paul Harvey, a noted musician and former music teacher. Although he now has dementia, and often “seems lost”, his son Nick shared how he is never more “present than when playing the piano”.
Recently, Nick, also a music composer, took to Twitter to say that he gave his 80-year-old father just four random notes, and he improvised and created a melodious tunes in a matter of few minutes. “Dad’s ability to improvise and compose beautiful melodies on the fly has always amazed me,” he wrote while sharing the clip.
“Although his dementia is getting worse, moments like this bring him back to me,” he added. The video has got over 1.4 million views on Twitter alone.
Watch the video here:
Dad’s ability to improvise and compose beautiful melodies on the fly has always amazed me.
Tonight, I gave him four random notes as a starting point.
Although his dementia is getting worse, moments like this bring him back to me. pic.twitter.com/dBInVCTmfF
— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) September 17, 2020
The video delighted people from various parts of the world, with many highlighting the healing powers of music and saying the composition uplifted their mood in such trying times. Others shared their own experience with people having dementia, saying how music brought them peace while fighting the disease.
Whatever happens in our lives, music will always feed the heart, mind and the soul and never leave us. This is just beautiful Please read and watch this everyone and sleep well everyone. Jb https://t.co/z69ymJNNph
— John Barrowman MBE (@JohnBarrowman) September 19, 2020
This has been a hell of a day. If your heart can take it, end the day with this. It’s beautiful and inspiring and heartbreaking all at once. https://t.co/nM2yDcWUAd
— Gene Weingarten (@geneweingarten) September 19, 2020
I can’t stop crying https://t.co/nnBp6YUfev
— Curtis Stigers (@curtisstigers) September 18, 2020
So beautiful. Four notes shining through the clouds. What a graceful player. https://t.co/TQYX1F1u9U
— Nitin Sawhney (@thenitinsawhney) September 18, 2020
A welcome break from the hellscape of 2020. So beautiful. https://t.co/vN1hEsOTPY
— David Schneider (@davidschneider) September 18, 2020
This is utterly beautiful and life-affirming. What an exceptional talent. Thank you for sharing it with us. https://t.co/sWvlNJhIYW
— Rebecca Front (@RebeccaFront) September 18, 2020
For those in any doubt of the truly magical qualities of music 💛 https://t.co/T3KYBSMXMB
— Claire Warner – Charity Consultant & Mentor (she) (@ClaireWarner) September 19, 2020
That’s fantastic. Music is one of the few things dementia has trouble taking away from those suffering from that horrible illness
— Rory Cowan (@1rorycowan) September 18, 2020
Transcendent and incredible to experience, even virtually. He’s quite a talent. Lost my father that way… music will keep your pops alive in more ways than one so keep encouraging him to play. Thanks for sharing that.
— Joel Cummins 🇺🇸🎹 (@goldlikejoel) September 18, 2020
I know most of us are having a pretty tricky time of it right now. We’re worried about the present and the future. But I urge you to take a deep breathe and float for just a few minutes in something truly beautiful that will bring tears for the right reasons for once ❤️ https://t.co/2Le90mtA8x
— Joanna Le Grys (@Jsedai) September 18, 2020
Beyond beautiful! What an extraordinary mind he has for harmony. The B-natural reminds me very much of a Chopin nocturne. It’s hard to think of a greater compliment, for someone to be able to simply improvise the work of a composer. Just so moving.. thank you for sharing.
— Michael G7VJR (@g7vjr) September 18, 2020
Beautiful. For some reason it made me think of the married life montage in UP, perhaps the way your Dad conveys a lifetime of emotion in his improvisation. So I edited that scene to fit the music, and it’s perfect. pic.twitter.com/w6x566nrPO
— James Norden (@jamesnorden) September 18, 2020
I try to be upbeat and uplifting. 2020 has taken its toll on my mental health. It gets harder every day to deal with it.
And then I see something like this. And the corners of my mouth turn upward. My eyes fill with good tears. And my heart beats a happy beat. Thanks for sharing.
— Mike Mellon (@MTM91324) September 18, 2020
This is so beautiful, brought tears to my eyes in a good way. It reminded me of my darling mother for whom music remained special to the end. Dementia is so cruel, music so wonderful pic.twitter.com/tLgkB77pmn
— Mary Anne Kennan (@MaryAnneKennan) September 18, 2020
My Gran was exactly the same. Dementia ravaged her mind, making her confused and anguished. Putting her in front of a piano calmed and centered her, and she could sit there playing away for hours without a care in the world. Bless her soul.
— Cantanko (@cantanko) September 17, 2020
My mother has Alzheimer’s. She was an actress. If we give her a poem or a few pages of a play to read out loud we get her back in full force. It’s a wonderful gift and your father’s music is beautiful. Our parents are still there, just hidden by the illness.
— Lucy Briers (@lucyjbriers) September 18, 2020
Dementia is cruel to everyone around it. But I sense that when he plays he gets comfort whilst inside a piece. As do you. As did I listening. To have that ability and use it as therapy is inspiring. Good luck.
— anthony (@primrose4) September 17, 2020
This is so lovely it made me weep. My dad, a jazz pianist and master improviser, lost his ability to play as his Lewy Body dementia progressed. He had enough awareness to calmly accept all the other challenges that disease inflicted on him, except that one. That one broke him.
— A Novel Woman (@anovelwoman) September 18, 2020
…she’d mostly ceased speaking, she’d comfortingly tell dogs “It’s all right” while she petted them. My mother was the most gentle comforting person with a very soothing voice so this was very moving.
— Joanna Sholem (@BookJo) September 18, 2020
Not everyone living with dementia is as accomplished a musician as your dad, but they all have things they find pleasurable and freeing. It is our job as carers and nurses to find that thing that raises their self esteem & allows them to be more than a series of losses. Bravo 👏
— Karen Webb 💙🧍♀️xx🧍xx🧍♂️ (@KWebbNurse) September 18, 2020
As the video got everyone talking online, Harvey posted an update saying he called his father to inform that the video went viral, the elderly man had tongue-in-cheek response to it saying: “As long as the virus isn’t Covid, he’s happy”.
Harvey added that he will make sure his dad get’s all the message sent for him, saying he knows his father will be moved by all the responses and love showered on him.
I’m overwhelmed by the response to dad’s video. I’ll be going round to see him later and will read him your replies. I know he’ll be deeply moved. Thank you.
I just rang him to tell him that he’s gone viral. He replied, saying that as long as the virus isn’t Covid, he’s happy.
— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) September 18, 2020
However, not the first time, the senior man took social media by storm with his delightful performance. Last year, he mesmerised all with one of his original composition, ‘Where’s The Sunshine?’ from 1980s, when he used to head the music department at the Imberhorne School (East Grinstead).
‘Where’s The Sunshine?’ by Paul Harvey
— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) June 23, 2019
We’ve just found this. With lyrics by Pete Talman, ‘Where’s The Sunshine?’ was written for an original Imberhorne School (East Grinstead) production in the 1980s when dad was head of music and Pete was head of drama. It was a fantastic show. I remember it as if it were yesterday. pic.twitter.com/J1E8Gfv3dc
— Nick Harvey (@mrnickharvey) June 24, 2019
Although Nick found the sheet music, his father didn’t need it — he played the whole song from memory, despite his illness.
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