Imagine that your friend or loved one is in the hospital. You walk into the lobby and stop by the information desk to double check the room number. Lilting tones of classical music dance in the air. No, you are not dreaming. You have just heard the first notes being played by the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra as part of their Music and Wellness program.
I experienced this program personally when a friend of mine went into the hospital for surgery. The long morning stretched into an even longer afternoon. By dinnertime the doctors assured us that she would be ok so we felt free to leave.
I heard the music when I stepped off of the elevator into the lobby. There, next to the wall was a string quartet from the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra Music and Wellness Program. Gathered around the quartet was a small crowd. For a few minutes, those of us who were in the lobby were temporarily transported to a world where cares could be forgotten. It was a welcome distraction amid hospital life.
Maestro Lucas Richman developed the program in time for the 2003-2004 season. Quartets from the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra perform at Covenant Health Centers and at the University of Tennessee Medical Center. It was at the medical center that I became familiar with Music and Wellness.
In 2006, the Music and Wellness program earned the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra received an award for Excellence in Education from the Bank of America. The only other organization to win this award that year is the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra.
The goal of the program is to bring music to lift spirits for patients, visitors and staff in health care settings. Quartets have also performed at the East Tennessee Children’s Hospital and the cancer institute.
The Knoxville Symphony Orchestra is not the only organization to integrate music with health and wellness. The Society for the Arts in Healthcare was founded in 1991. There are member organizations across the United States with partner organizations in Australia and Canada.
The University of Tennessee Medical center in Knoxville points out that some of the benefits of the Music and Wellness program of the Knoxville Symphony Orchestra include an outlet for feelings, help for people who are suffering with depression and reduced pain levels and nausea among patients.
Different forms of music are enjoyed by cultures around the globe. Who is better to experience the healing power of Music and Wellness than by people who can benefit the most?
Knoxville Symphony Orchestra
University of Tennessee Medical Center at Knoxville
Bank of America
Society for the Arts in Healthcare