Mu­sic of­ten in­stru­ment for health

Western Suburbs Weekly - - Health - By CAITLIN TILLER

MU­SIC played to hos­pi­tal pa­tients could be the spark that ig­nites a life­long pas­sion, says School of Spe­cial Needs, Med­i­cal and Men­tal Health (SSNMMH) teacher Mau­reen El­ph­ick.

Ms El­ph­ick, who helps to con­tinue ed­u­ca­tion dur­ing kids’ hos­pi­tal stays, said mu­sic was an im­por­tant com­po­nent of a bal­anced school curriculum.

“Re­search has shown that those who learn an in­stru­ment tend to have im­proved aca­demic achieve­ment, en­hanc­ing their test scores, at­ti­tudes, so­cial skills, crit­i­cal and cre­ative think­ing,” she said.

“It is there­fore no co­in­ci­dence that the SSNMMH has part­nered with WA Symphony Orchestra (WASO) to de­liver the Hos­pi­tal Or­ches­tral Pro­gram.”

For seven years, WASO mu­si­cians have vis­ited chil­dren in Princess Mar­garet Hos­pi­tal (PMH) to play mu­sic on the wards, de­liver in­ter­ac­tive work­shops and ensem­ble per­for­mances.

“Some­times the days are quite long and this gives a new op­por­tu­nity; some of the older kids even have a go on the in­stru­ments,” Ms El­ph­ick said.

“For many it brings joy and al­lows them to forget why they are in hos­pi­tal, if only for a short time.”

WASO trom­bon­ist Liam O’Malley said trav­el­ling around Perth to per­form gave many chil­dren the chance to see or­ches­tral in­stru­ments up close.

“It’s a lo­gis­ti­cal night­mare to get a full orchestra around, so we usu­ally take a small group of peo­ple,” Mr O’Malley said.

WASO com­mu­nity en­gage­ment man­ager Cas­san­dra Lake said the pro­gram was self-funded, with as­sis­tance from pro­gram part­ner­ships.

“Our plan is to con­tinue to run the pro­gram when the Hos­pi­tal Schools Ser­vices re­lo­cate to the new Perth Chil­dren’s Hos­pi­tal next year and to in­crease our vis­its from six to eight per year,” Ms Lake said,

“We will con­tinue to fin­ish the year with our Christ­mas con­cert, which is al­ways great fun and full of joy.”

An ensem­ble of at least 12 WASO mu­si­cians and 16 WASO Cho­rus singers will per­form a mix of tra­di­tional and con­tem­po­rary Christ­mas Carols at the Telethon The­atre on De­cem­ber 8.

Pic­ture: An­drew Ritchie­mu­ni­ d445393

Ray­mond Mor­ri­son (6) with Liam O'Malley and Joshua Davis from WASO.

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