Archive for July, 2009

Medicinal Music on 26-string African kora for Hospice

July 2nd, 2009 Tom Rossi No comments

As most of you know from the last letter, I’ve been playing music for hospice patients for many years now. This experience continues to be a humbling and rewarding one in many ways. One of those ways is when it becomes so clear, again and again, just how powerful music can be as a form of medicine.

In many cases, I’ve witnessed relief of great pain, depression and anxiety. Sometimes the relief is only momentary, or for an hour or so, but sometimes there have been considerable shifts in patients that I’ve been able to see more regularly. Even though they still may be on their way towards death, they somehow find what I can only describe as a kind of reconciliation in themselves.

One gentleman, who I had the distinct pleasure to play for, began reciting some of the most profound things just off the cuff, one of which I was able to remember.
He said,

“Light is always looking for a home
and when it finds a place to dwell
it illuminates all in its presence.”

I thought, Wow. Something is happening here that is much bigger than just playing music, especially after his son noticed this shift and mentioned such poetic incantations were not his nature. It goes way beyond entertainment, when someone receives the music in such a way. It becomes a means to heal, a means to tether us to something greater, something comforting and timeless.

Peaceful Resonance music sample:

Click to listen