“One good thing about music, when it hits you, you feel no pain.” – Bob Marley.
In 2008, Michael Silverman, Director of Music Therapy at the University of Minnesota, and Jon Hallberg, Medical Director at the University of Minnesota Physicians Mill City Clinic, created a program through which students studying classical piano and guitar at the university performed in waiting rooms at medical clinics to help calm patients. The program, which had an overwhelmingly positive response from clinic staff, also provided a way for young musicians to hone their art while connecting with new audiences.
In the April 2015 issue of the journal Musicae Scientiae, Silverman and Hallberg report on the results of a survey they conducted with clinic staff who were involved in the program. One of the results they reported was an unexpected one—patients would often play the piano in the waiting room when the musicians weren’t around. “[This] seemed to enhance staff abilities to initiate non-medical discussion with patients, potentially increase rapport, trust, and therapeutic alliance,” the researchers said.
“I think it can calm people—get their minds off themselves in a way if they’re stressed or unhappy or whatever—which is what most people are when they come here,” one nurse claimed. “It speaks to the soul.”
“An intimate setting, an appreciative audience, a chance to bring a little joy and creativity into people's lives at a time they could really use it—what's not to like? Plenty of research has found music helps people heal; here is one unobtrusive way to jump-start that process,” noted Pacific Standard Magazine.