The Manchester Royal Infirmary received a well-deserved injection of music

The brilliant Ros Hawley and Mark Fisher aka ‘Delhi Babies’ crafted a beautiful musical experience for those in the MRI Outpatients areas, Reception and Clinic areas last month. Monday 24th June, at 10am.

This challenging area was transformed by the wonderful music, as it flowed around the densely filled seating area, lifting the spirits of those waiting and working. The exotic beats drifted through the Manchester waiting room, taking it to far-off places.  

The music was well received from the outset. The receptionist on duty gleamed with encouraging questions after first spotting the musicians. Individuals who sat alone turned their heads towards the musicians, smiling and tapping their feet to the external stimulus. A man and woman who were sitting together began to gently sway their bodies from one side to the other, to the rhythm of the music.

Once the music had begun in the next area, patients started to nod their heads in time to the beat, whilst nurses beamed encouragingly. Again, transforming an even smaller space.

A lady praised the music, acknowledging and appreciating the inclusivity of all cultures:

“It [the music] is comforting to the soul; it makes you feel as though you are not in a hospital. It allows you to forget your pain and it also brings so many cultures together.”

As the musicians progressed to the next area, a gentleman expressed his appreciation of music in healthcare environments. Stating that it is “better than any medication”. After expressing his gratitude and explaining his daughter’s interest in playing the clarinet, he filmed the musicians play. He conveyed how the music enabled feelings of tension to disappear for him:

“Music calms the savage beast! The amount of people smiling over there, it’s great. You come in stressed, then once you hear the music it changes”

Two nurses danced together joyously, laughing as another nurse danced towards them, eagerly requesting for more music to be played. Their demeanour changed to allow enjoyment to take place within the hospital. One nurse, who thoroughly enjoyed the music, stated that she would be “happy if it took place again”.

After positive feedback from the surrounding individuals and encouragement to continue playing, Ros and Mark proceeded with an additional piece of music.

In the final waiting area, the music was truly treasured by those around. The positive feedback flowed rapidly in many forms, including an enthusiastic “thank you for this!” as people walked by to attend their appointments. Individuals voiced their gratefulness and the importance of accessing culture, which the television screens already present in the area, did not seem to provide:

“The music makes such a difference, in a place where you feel low and depressed, like this hospital, is where music is needed most”

 “It’s lovely! What we need is some culture, not that TV.”

People gathered to watch the musicians play, commenting on the difference made to the environment. A child in a pushchair was engaging well with the music. As a result of this, the interactive element of the music augmented. With the use of eye contact, smiling and recognising reactions, an interactive musical experience ensued involving the child, the musicians and the rest of the waiting room.

One lady highlighted that, in addition to the music, the way that the musicians smiled and engaged with the individuals around made her feel happy. Here, it is emphasised that connecting with others as a result of music, has an important effect upon patients.

A gentleman expressed his advocacy for music within a healthcare environment, and wrote:

“Playing music in [a]hospital environment is a necessary part of treating illness and diseases. Music calms the soul, lowers stress, pressure and anxiety. In fact I know of people who have come out of comas, recovered and became well again.” [The gentleman was then called to his appointment and rushed away]

An abundant round of applause followed the music, along with cheers and encouragement for more music to be played.

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