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Musicians on call

music Updated: Mar 24, 2009 15:46 IST
Parag Kamani
Parag Kamani
Hindustan Times
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Much like the Make-A-Wish Foundation set up globally, that provides hope, strength, and joy to children with life-threatening medical conditions and had its genesis in 1980 with a boy’s wish to be a police officer, a similar concept has been promoted in the US called Musicians On Call (MOC).

With a mission statement of bringing live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities, MOC uses music to promote and complement the healing process of patients. To date, MOC volunteers have played for over 125,000 people via room-to-room hospital performances by both local musicians and national celebrities.

Membership on the rise
The non-profit group has organised concerts in large arenas outside hospitals in order to raise money. There are numerous musicians that play with the group from time to time. The association of ever-changing and ever-increasing members has been brought together by the desire to provide support for the unwell.

The therapeutic value of their actions is enormous, doctors say. Patients immediately feel better, as a pleasant mood and positive thoughts are proven to influence a person’s state of health. Patients become optimistic, even if for only a few hours or for a couple of days. The changed environment helps ease pain, and even lends speed to the process of recovery.

John Mayer and Avril Lavigne are just two major music names that have performed in room-to-room shows in various hospitals around the US. The chance for the bed-ridden to be near their favourite stars makes people genuinely happy, psychologists say, even though, paradoxically, if it wasn’t for their illness, they probably wouldn’t have had the chance to talk to musicians face-to-face.

Healing music
Stating the obvious, music does play an extremely important role in the lives of people. It can get you emotionally down or fill you with joy, influencing your mood and perception of things. However, patients in hospitals, apart from suffering from various illnesses, are also psychologically affected, as they are deprived of hearing sounds that they consider soothing.

That’s why MOC has been organizing bedside performances in hospitals since 1999, thus bringing joy to people who go through pain and suffering. Indeed, a noble cause.

All for charity
A recent online auction that ran through March 5 to raise funds for MOC sold, among other things, autographed guitars from Coldplay, Kings of Leon, Depeche Mode, Maroon 5, Counting Crows, Nickelback, David Gilmour of Pink Floyd, Bruce Springsteen, and an original black and white photograph of Led Zeppelin.

I really am not aware whether a concept like Musicians On Call exists in India but, if there is anyone out there who is pursuing this initiative, I would heartily like to support it in the best manner I can.