Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine

Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine

Language: English

Pages: 368

ISBN: 1605984345

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


The story of The Longwood Symphony Orchestra and the remarkable interplay between music and medicine

You may have read about the Longwood Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in the paper or heard them on your favorite classical radio station. Yet the LSO is not just any orchestra. The LSO began in 1982 began in 1982 with a group of talented Boston-area physicians, med students and health-care professionals and, thanks to Harvard Medical School pediatrician and violinist Lisa Wong, who became the president of the LSO in 1991, the orchestra has transformed into a proud, extraordinary group of musicians with fans around the globe.

In Scales to Scalpels, Dr. Wong chronicles how the music acumen of these physicians affects the way they administer healing and, in turn, how their medical work affects their music. How does practicing the art of music transform the art of practicing medicine? 8 pages of B&W illustrations

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professionals were getting to play all the plum passages. We began to sense that something wasn’t right. We were committed as an orchestra to playing in Jordan Hall, one of the city’s gems. We knew we needed to bring our level of music up to the level of the hall where artists like Yo-Yo Ma, the Juilliard String Quartet, Maurizio Pollini, and others frequently performed. We could hear the difference, and it was a discordance that we wanted to fix ourselves. It was a crossroads moment. This all

marriage. DR. STEPHEN WRIGHT: “WHAT IS THAT INSTRUMENT?” Let’s start with Dr. Stephen Wright. Gray-haired and bespectacled, with a welcoming smile and gentle manner, Dr. Wright could easily fit the role of country doctor. Instead, he’s the recently retired beloved Chief of Medicine at Faulkner Hospital, and a Professor of Medicine at Tufts Medical School. Speaking in the same baritone voice as his bassoon, Wright said he owes his medical career in part to a humble wart. “I always had science

meaning that the nerve is registering pain from one part of the body in another part. We were able to give the appropriate treatment simply because I listened. “When I’m playing cello in the LSO I have to listen carefully all the time. You learn to listen whether you’re sharp or flat and when you’re playing a note in tune. That helps me listen for the right information from the patient. In both cases, you learn to weed out what’s noise and what’s not.” One of the more interesting stories is

music’s impact on health could not be observed under a microscope or measured with a blood test. In 1986, Dr. Jayne M. Standley of the Center for Music Research at Florida State University published a sweeping examination of research up to that time, “Music Research in Medical/Dental Treatment: Meta-Analysis and Clinical Applications,” which sorted out which early systematic studies had yielded statistically significant results, and which had not. She found that the effects of music are often

while listening to this movement, I know I’m doing OK! Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony was one of the first pieces I played in Youth Symphony. I especially loved the slow movement. I think it helped provide a transition from grade school technician to a musician who was part of a larger whole. It was such a connection! And Barber’s “Adagio for Strings” is etherial: life, angst, death … and life again. HEIDI HARBISON KIMBERLY I love Bach’s unaccompanied cello suites, preferably played by Yo-Yo Ma.

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