In The Spirit Of Giving

Grace VanderWaal Shared The Power Of Music (And A Few Ukuleles) At A New York Hospital

"I feel like music just really clicks in your heart."

We love tinsel and trappings as much as the next Elf on the Shelf devotees, but here at A Plus, we believe that true wintertime magic comes in the form of connection and human kindness. Over the next month, come back and join us in raising a glass to those who give — because what's December without a little holiday spirit?

Last year's America's Got Talent winner Grace VanderWaal has been busy in recent months putting together her debut album, Just the Beginning — all while going to school. However, that didn't stop the talented 13-year-old from taking the time to visit a few kids at NewYork-Presbyterian Komansky Children's Hospital this holiday season.

With the help of Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb of Today, VanderWaal surprised a group of patients at a music therapy session led by Brianna Piatt. "While they're with me, they don't have to be a sick kid," Piatt shared of her work, adding that it gives patients a way to "express themselves."

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VanderWaal met with a 6-year-old boy who enjoys playing the xylophone from his hospital bed, and brought a special gift to Piatt's therapy group ukuleles donated by Fender. (VanderWaal's signature ukulele-playing was a memorable part of her time on the America's Got Talent stage.) Together, she and the kids performed "Jingle Bells."

The powerful effect of music on the human brain, and as a way of coping with trauma, has been documented in various studies, but there's nothing quite like hearing about it directly from those who have benefited from the experience.

That includes 13-year-old Betty Rose, who was particularly excited to learn the ukulele, which VanderWaal signed for her. "A lot of kids enjoy music, and to think that I can still continue while I'm in a hospital, it's just uplifting," she shared, adding that VanderWaal "brought a happier mood to everybody."

"I feel like music just really clicks in your heart," VanderWaal told Today, saying of her visit, "These kids are here, it's the holidays, and they want to be home. But they're still so, so happy, and they're still smiling. It's the most inspiring, sweetest, most motivational thing I've ever witnessed in my entire life."

See VanderWaal's generous visit in the video below:

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