Medical Mysteries of Music

Published on March 25th, 2018 | by Alan Cross

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Another example of music’s important and indispensable healing powers

I’m a big, big believer in music therapy and the good it can do for people. Over breakfast at the Junos out here on the west coast, I ran across this story in the Vancouver Sun.

Lying on his back in a hospital bed, George Frederick closed his eyes to listen. On the violin, Lucy Thomas played Amazing Grace.

At one point, obviously moved, Frederick brushed away tears from both eyes.

“What comes up for you, George, when you listen to Amazing Grace?” asked Thomas, a music therapist.

“I think of my lady, Marion.”

Later, after listening to the same song a second time, Frederick, 91, said it made him feel guilty for not loving his wife as much as he felt he should.

Marion visits her husband almost every day at St. Paul’s Hospital. When Marion, who has multiple sclerosis, can’t make it, they talk on the phone. The couple recently celebrated their 63rd wedding anniversary.

Frederick is one of the participants in the hospital’s music therapy program in palliative care. He said that Thomas’s music is something he looks forward to hearing.

“One thing I do know,” said Frederick, “is that there is very little pain or no pain when I know she is going to be here in the next little while to play a song.

“I’m pleased and happy that someone like her is here and plays a song she knows and plays it so well. She brings it out of you.”

Keep reading.




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About the Author

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 30+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.


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