MusicMDs Brings Serenity, Joy To Sick Patients
By Maria Sonnenberg, Space Coast Medicine // June 6, 2013
CENTRAL FLORIDA HUMANITARIANS
Student-Run Volunteer Organization Brings Music, Joy To The Sick
The MusicMDs know that music is just what the doctor ordered to light up the day of a hospital patient, so this troupe of talented young musicians from nine local public and private schools make it their mission to bring music to hospitals and other healthcare facilities.
Organized in 2009 by teen brother and sister Varun and Esha Bansal, the MusicMDs now include 15 other teenage musicians – many of them members of the Brevard Symphony Youth Orchestra – and even a couple of college students, such as award-winning harpist Haley Rhodeside, who plays for the MusicMDs along with violinist brother, Tristan, when she returns home from college.
The Bansal siblings – children of Melbourne pulmonology, critical care and sleep medicine specialist Dr. Parvesh Bansal and his wife, Radha – got the idea for the group when they noticed how the music from their violins made their sick grandmother feel better.
They researched music therapy and discovered that indeed, music has been proven effective in helping to lower blood pressure and pain, increase immunity and help fight depression. They have also learned important lessons about volunteering.
“Being a MusicMD has shown me that the best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others, as Gandhi said,” said Esha.
“The patients and families I serve have given me indescribable inspiration. They have touched me with their stories, their kindness and their courage. Through them, I discovered my passion for serving others and learned so much about music and its incredible role in the healing process.”
The nonprofit, student-run, volunteer organization the Bansal children launched improves quality of life in a hospital setting through live musical performances for recovering patients, families and healthcare staff.
By using music as a medium of patient communication, MusicMDs add a new dimension to patient interaction, removing barriers of language, culture and socioeconomic status.
For patients, they promote healing by helping them forget their troubles. For healthcare staff, they offer a welcome change from the daily routine and stress.
“Being a part of MusicMDs is a touching experience,” said MusicMDs violinist Rachel Ho, who attends West Shore High School.
“The music affects patients’ hearts in ways we cannot even begin to comprehend. It makes me ecstatic when they tell me that I’ve made their day.”
The talented teens have racked up approximately 1,000 hours of music as they play at hospitals, nursing homes and similar venues. In just a month, the MusicMDs performed 21 times at Health First Holmes Regional Medical Center.
Varun and Esha train new recruits and coordinate rehearsals. Performances are usually held on weekends, but the MusicMDs also play during Christmas concerts and at special events, such as patients’ birthdays and even a wedding at the hospital. The groom’s mother was very ill and would not have been able to attend the ceremony outside of the hospital. Holmes staff transformed a waiting room into a chapel and the MusicMDs played the Wedding March.
“Your music is beautiful, but it’s your heart that is even more beautiful for doing this for the patients,” a patient told the young musicians.
Violin, French horn, viola, piano, cello, tuba and string and electric bass are all represented in this unique group that reverses the traditional generational role of adults caring for children. With the MusicMDs, teens reach out to sick and recovering adults.
“We are not music therapists, but even at our level, we can see the positive impact music can have. It gives us great joy to know that we can create a moment of happiness for an individual who is experiencing hard times, just by doing what we love,” said Esha Bansal.
“I am a better person because I am a MusicMD.”
• Varun Bansal
• Esha Bansal
• Charlotte Goodman
• Henry Goodman
• Rachel Ho
• Sarah Hock
• Scott Hurwitz
• Allison Parks
• Tristan Rhodeside
• Haley Rhodeside
• Evan Ristow
• Isabela Rovira
• Jennifer Ruiz
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The Central Florida Humanitarian Awards were created to recognize outstanding individuals and organizations that dedicate their Time, Talent or Treasure to help people in need locally – and around the world.
This year, more than 30 deserving humanitarians will be honored during the Gala, which will be held Thursday, Nov. 8 at the Hilton Melbourne Rialto Place, with the festivities beginning at 6 p.m.
“Over the years, our editorial team has had the distinct honor and pleasure of identifying and featuring the many members of our community who give back so much and are dedicated to reaching out and helping others, here and throughout the world, in a multitude of ways,” said Maverick Multimedia Editor-In-Chief Dr. Jim Palermo.
“We remain firmly committed to identifying and telling those stories and providing a timely media platform to recognize Space Coast and Central Florida residents’ altruistic contributions on a regular basis in our magazines, as well as SpaceCoastDaily.com,” said Dr. Palermo.
This inspiring and compelling event is sponsored by Brighthouse Networks, Health First, Brevard Physicians Network, MPAC ACO, Community Credit Union, Kindred Hospital, Knudson Brain & Spine Law Injury Office, Florida Pain, Space Coast Medicine & Active Living magazine, CentralFloridaMedicine.com and SpaceCoastDaily.com.
FOR MORE INFORMATION or to make a nomination for the Central Florida Humanitarians call 321-615-8111 or e-mail SpaceCoastMedicine@gmail.com