A young pianist recently wowed passersby in a hospital by pounding out a ream of tunes ranging from pop to orchestral.
The young girl, named Diane, drew attention as she played with amazing skill and agility.
Her performance attracted the attention of everybody walking by, prompting them to pull out their phones and start recording.
Diane opened her performance with a rendition of “Halo” by Beyoncé, then moved into “Rolling in the Deep” by Adele, and finished up with the “Pirates of the Caribbean” theme.
She was totally focused as she played, not looking up at the cameras all around her.
As her fingers flew over the keys, Diane was concentrated and professional, playing with the gravitas of a professional musician.
It must have been amazing for the visitors of the hospital to see such a talented young pianist playing with such skill and passion. The ease with which Diane played showed that she had spent a long time honing her skills. But it also showed how much she loves music and playing for others.
You’d think that a hospital isn’t the best place for a piano but you’d actually be wrong.
In fact, music has been shown to have an enormous effect on healing, both mentally and physically.
Music therapy is now becoming an important part of scientific research as we find out more about how music can affect the process of healing. And there are more opportunities than ever to find out how that works.
“The favorite part of my job is seeing how big an impact music can have on someone who isn’t feeling well,” says Holly Chartrand, a music therapist at Massachusetts General Hospital.
“Technology gives us so much access to all kinds of music that I can find and play almost any kind of music you like,” she says.
Many hospitals are now adding music therapy programs to treat chronically ill patients.
Studies show that music can decrease anxiety and depression, low heart rate, and even have positive effects on brain function and development.
“Music on its own has immense power to influence how we feel and behave,” says Maxwell Corrigan, a music therapy researcher at Winnie Palmer Hospital. “It is a music therapist’s job to contain that power and administer elements of music to enact clinical therapeutic change. Music therapists target social, emotional, physical, and cognitive goals through structured music experiences.
We may provide groups in which patients learn prosocial interactions through cooperative instrument play, help patients write music to process their emotional state, engage patients in drumming exercises to promote movement for rehabilitation purposes, or provide regimens of live and recorded music for infants to help develop their ability to discriminate sounds and strengthen neurologic auditory pathways.”
As research into the importance of music therapy continues, we will know more about how it affects patients on emotional and physical levels.
But that day in the hospital, Diane provided it for free out of her own enjoyment.
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