Free concerts at downtown hospital helps patients

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A Latin jazz group might be the last thing you’d expect to find at Eskenazi Health on the near west side of Indianapolis. But the soft rhythms flooded the concourse at the health center recently and both patients and staff were immediately drawn to it.

Pavel Polanco-Safadit, who teaches Latin jazz at Earlham College, recently played at Eskenazi with his group.  He says he can easily spot those who tune into the music and respond and forget about their pain.

“I remember one patient was having trouble walking,” says Pavel. “And he was walking and dancing at the same time.  Music can be a healing tool for many people.”

Bridget Hines-Ridley is a nurse at Eskenazi.  The music, she says, helps put patients in a lighter, happier mood and that translates to better compliance.

“We have a lot of people who are non-compliant and anything we can do to make them more compliant in their care and more involved in their care, we’re going to try to do,” says Hines-Ridley.

The music at Eskenazi started in 2013 with the donation of a piano from Marianne Williams Tobias, PH.D.  She decided to share her love of music through the Marianne Tobias music program. The music is intended to lighten the mood and lift the spirits of patients and visitors.  She makes the piano accessible to everyone.  It’s played by both professional and amateur music lovers, which in turns attracts crowds. Among the artists her program has attracted, renowned cellist Zuill Bailey, pianist Sullivan Fortner, IU Jacobs School of Music students and winners of the international violin competition.

The Chief of Neurology at IU health, Dr. Robert Pascuzzi, is thrilled with the free concerts at Eskenazi.  He believes music is a healing power.

“It may actually channel you to a whole world of memories and events you haven’t considered for decades,” says Dr. Pascuzzi. “The brain has tremendous capacity to store information and life experiences.”

He believes more research should be done in the area of music and brain health.

“That’s the role of research in a neuroscience community, to figure out what does music do to the brain. How does it engage other parts of the brain in what ways is it therapeutic and can we measure that.”

Friday May 25th, forward motion will play at 12:30.  Jon Mclaughlin performs Tuesday May 29th at 4:30 and Joshuea Thompson performs Wednesday June 7th  at noon. For a complete list of all the performances  and concerts at Eskenazi health,  click on the link below.

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