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Healing Music in Action

Using music as a healing tool is something that has been around almost since the beginning of time. There is a reference in the book of Samuel that goes something like, “David would take his harp and play. Relief came to Saul and he would feel better.” 1 Samuel 16:23.

The picture shown here is of my longtime friend, Rick Chinisci. The location is the pre-op area at Parker Adventist Hospital in Parker Colorado, where he begins playing his music every morning at 7:00am. His task is to play healing, helping, soothing music for those patients who are preparing for surgery. Later he might be found playing for those same patients in post-op, critical care or just about any other area where his services can be put to good use. Originally from Albuquerque, New Mexico, Rick is a highly skilled guitarist. His credits include everything from playing behind Luciano Pavarotti with the Denver Symphony to cowboy bars in downtown Denver and almost everything in between. Suffice it to say that if anyone was ever qualified to take on the task of playing healing music in hospital settings, it would be Rick Chinisci.

Although music has therapeutic properties, let me say here that Rick’s title is not “Music Therapist.” His title is “Certified Music Practitioner” for good reasons. He is a graduate of the “Music for Healing and Transition Program” which is a national organization teaching musicians the specifics of playing music for the benefit of patients in hospital settings. This is overseen and administered as part of the Healing Arts program within the Centura Hospitals group.

To the naked eye, most people wouldn’t find many differences between the two practices except that there are subtle variations in the approach Music Therapists might use as opposed to Music Practitioners. In a nutshell, it works something like this. A therapist might use recorded music as a tool to re-teach a patient to speak or walk, whereas a music practitioner might use live music to help slow a racing heart rate, help a hurting patient to relax and heal, or use as a “pick-me-up” to drive off post-op blues. Subtle but strong and equally as important to be sure.

The person who oversees the Healing Arts programs for the Centura group is a wonderful lady named Jude Keller. She is a deep believer in the benefits of live music as a healing tool and you wont find a more staunch supporter of Music Practitioners anywhere! We certainly thank her for that!

In the past, it seems as though the main instrument of choice for this type of work has been the harp for a number of reasons. It is portable. It has that beautiful, relaxing, chordal sound that soothes your heart and makes any day just a little bit brighter. Harpists can play a wide variety of songs that many recovering patients enjoy. There are also a growing number of other instruments showing up as acceptance of this medium grows. Even some of the woodwinds such as flute are finding a home here but it seems as though the main qualifications to date are portability, versatility and chordal appeal.

This brings us to the guitar and it’s ability to fit all these criteria. It is portable. It is versatile. It has a beautiful sound, and style wise, in the hands of a good player like Rick, it can turn on a dime! Next time you visit a Centura Hospital and you hear some great guitar chords coming from somewhere, look around, it just might be my friend Rick Chinisci at work! Tell him I said hello!

As usual, send me your critiques and comments. If you’d like to be put on our mailing list, send me your email address and we’ll get you going.

Thanks again,
Posted by All Around Seniors at 9/4/2013 4:32 AM


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