Keeping in Tune with Patients
George Cobaugh admits he is no therapist. However, his music is soothing therapy for patients and caregivers at The Cancer Therapy & Research Center (CTRC).
Cobaugh, a cancer survivor, offers piano classes at the CTRC for anyone interested in learning to play music. He teaches the basics: chords and melodies. He keeps it simple to allow students to play tunes in weeks.
“When I’m down, I play the piano,” George says of his ongoing struggle with cancer. “I know how music can lift up people. After all, learning to play the piano is on everyone’s bucket list.”
George, born and raised in San Diego, moved to San Antonio in 2002. After a few years, he moved to Green Bay, Wisconsin. It wasn’t long until he yearned to return to the Lone Star State.
“I missed the place,” he admits. After the move, he wound down his career as a software developer and contractor. He returned to his first love, playing the piano.
“I’ve always had a piano in my home,” George says. “I’ve played in bands over the years." His music has ranged from blues to classic rock, country and now Christian rock.
He shares his love of music with his students during classes at the CTRC. “Currently, I have five students. I do a 30-minute session with each one of them. That way they get individual attention.”
He recalls one patient anxious to learn the piano. “He had brain cancer and was undergoing radiation. Within six weeks, he was playing music. One day he walked into class and began playing ‘Amazing Grace’.”
Most students stick with playing the piano even after the lessons are over. That is testimony to the enthusiasm for music and piano that George imparts to his students.
“Music brings such joy,” George smiles. “Most people enjoy listening to music. But knowing how to play music, well, that’s special.” His students would agree with that assessment.
Anyone interested in joining George for lessons can schedule time during his weekly classes on Tuesday’s at the CTRC. For more information, call the Patient and Family Services office at 210-450-5570.