Riva Capellari

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Located in Brookside in the heart of Kansas City


News of Note

A “Sound” Education

I recently read an article about music students who, as soon as they graduated with their music degrees, chose to enter medical school. As a college student myself, I remember that several of my fellow music students did the same. In fact, while none of my family members became professional musicians, all of them at one time played a musical instrument, some of them eventually going to work in the medical field.

An anomoly? Maybe not.

These students were of the opinion that the discipline required for musical training came in handy, siting musicians’“work ethic and self-motivation” as similar to those needed by med students.

Collaboration and teamwork are essential during a performance. Watching the conductor and the music, listening to the other players or singers, develop skills that now Doug Angel uses with his surgical team. Lisa Wong, a professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and a violinist in the Longwood Symphony Orchestra in Boston, made up of medical musicians, points out that the crossover between music and medicine in new fields such as neurologic music therapy and musical treatment for cognitive, sensory and motor dysfunctions, more clearly demonstrates the advantage of having medical personnel with foundations in musical training. She believes that “the music we create builds in us an emotional strength” while Michael Lasserson, a retired physician who also plays the double-bass, finds healing in his musical experiences. A neurologist and songwriter, Mark J. Tramo feels there is an “overlap between the emotional and social aspects of relating to sick patients and communicating emotion to others through music”.

Recently I decided to dig out my old piano books to encourage some sit down time at the piano. Never a good player, I sought mainly to stimulate my brain and to hopefully keep my hereditary arthritis at bay from my fingers. But it also provides this amazing calming bubble in which I spend maybe an hour letting the rest of the world deal with its own problems without me.

This compatible relationship between medicine and music, science and art is not new. An Australian surgeon of the 19th century who also played the piano suggested that “after a certain high level of technical skill is achieved, science and art tend to coalesce”…

So the idea that music can heal, both patients and those that care for them, makes for a very convincing argument that musicians make skilled and passionate medical staff. And that perhaps musicians, in their own way, can also help heal the world.;

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