Music as Medicine: Coping with Cancer and Covid though the Piano

In this June 3, 2020, photo, Associated Press retail writer Anne D’Innocenzio sits at her piano in her apartment in New York. Her piano has been a source of comfort during the coronavirus outbreak. (AP Photo/Anne D’Innocenzio)

Since the beginning of the Pandemic, we all find ourselves spending time at home more now than ever before in our lives. And it should come as no surprise that many of us have tried to use this time effectively- so as to look back on this time with feelings other than sadness and grief; We desire to reflect on these times as a period in which we developed our creativity, improved our skills, and moved onto the next year having learned new things about the world and ourselves. For many, that has meant looking towards musical instruments as an outlet. Within our own shop, we’ve seen numerous customers walk through our doors who say, “I’ve always wanted to learn the piano. Now seems like the right time…”

In New York, Anne D’Innocenzio has been battling stage three breast cancer for the past three years. The pandemic forced her to take sheltering in place extremely seriously as she was at a high risk for complications if infected. During this time, she would go outside only for her chemotherapy treatments. But whenever inside, she focused on the piano.

“During that time, I longed for a bigger place with room for my piano, which my late uncle left me and was in storage for four years. Playing piano is a source of comfort; it helps me ease the anxiety that many cancer survivors have.”

Musicians all over the world, unable to play live performances to physical audiences, have appropriately turned to social media as a platform to showcase their own musical diaries as they compose, refine and develop their music.

“Every night, I play the piano. In recent weeks, I’ve been sharing videos with friends and family on social media. Now I’m getting requests — including ‘Wheels on the Bus’ from my great-nephew. I figure everyone could use some beautiful music, even if there are a few wrong notes.”

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