Music in by


Edward S. Stem

"When griping grief the heart doth wound And doleful dumps the mind oppress, Then music with her silver sound With speedy help doth lend redress". Romeo and Juliet, IV, v, 128-130 and 146.



active band

every asylum had,1 of attendants, weaflfc unifofl11Ruritanian for the weekly dance a"1


resplendent which played on special occasions such as anflu3 sports and parties. The young Edwafl; Elgar, when a male nurse, conduct^ the band at Powick Asylum, for wblC; he numerous composed piec?' including a gavotte. In ancient times the soothing povv'e; of music had been recognised. Tberj

GENTLEMAN entered a large London store and asked to see pianos. He was shown a Broadwood upright, tried it, and ordered twelve, then a Chappell, of which he bespoke two dozen. Although he only purchased six Bliithner medium and two Bechstein concert grands, the shop was assistant by now becoming thoroughly alarmed, and his suspicions were confirmed when the gentleman send them all told him to to " Summermeads AsylumThe assistant hurriedly telephoned that establishment?"We have one of your patients here; he's ordering pianos by the dozen", to receive the laconic reply: "Oh, that's all right, it's only the Medical Superintendent?he is refurnishing the asylum and providing a piano for every ward." All this was fifty years ago, but it shows that even then an interest in music was passively fostered. On the



is the well-known passage: I. tl 16, 14-23, in which David played Saul: "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp* and played with his hand; so Saul was refreshed and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him." Music was a treatment for meflt3 diseases in ancient Egypt and Greec. The present interest in therapy dates from 1947. Sir SteUa Wilson, then Music Director of ^ Arts Council, pointed out although the value of music in % treatment of mental disorders was recognised in a general sort of way, I special application had been relative}'1 neglected, either as "occupation"














generally available,




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Inn, London, W.C.I),

Mr. ^clude Sir Steuart Wilson, critic of ^ank Howes,Mr-then MusicRubinstein, Stanley Wefl Times> 0Wn f?r gramophone


cert sun




Perintendents '



regular high quality


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single artist



ncerts at a growing number of ntal hospitals. Its financial position secured by the generosity of the ^secured Services Welfare Society. Society

^?"eciative re


medical numl:,er and others. With the of the Board of Con-

tr0Ci0u.ra?ernent arranged



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from to

competent pianist and


Our first rehearsal drew a large number to the band, the performers expecting that their efforts would at once sound like the L.S.O. The inevitable disappointment was soon overcome, and after a period of steady but enjoyable practice an orchestra is in being that gives occasional much appreciated concerts in the hospital, and even draws an audience to its practices. has There always been some organised singing in the mental hospitals, e.g., in the church choir, and occasionally an enthusiastic patient would form a glee party. In 1956 the Council tried the experiment of paying for a course of singing classes at three hospitals. This was so successful that permanent choirs were formed, and they give concerts both in their own and at other hospitals.

but for normal minds, Concentrate on live performances. One of his staff, Miss Sheila who had been organising usic clubs, thought that some sPitals might like to receive conmental h rts; Knowing nothing of , sPitals, she had in mind general spitals only, and wrote to a number. ^V accident one of her letters went to raylingwell Hospital and this was the one answered. A recital proved ccessful there, and so was repeated ?* mental hospitals, and the Co uncil for Music in Hospitals was r (Secretary: 5 and 6 Raymond

j5c?rds Was






of choirs, quartets, and even Qiature operas, and listeners vary *? a few hundred patients, all of 0111 attend voluntarily. The pieces ar explained and the audiences are at 1 as appreciative as any other senr I that publicatt eriti?n is particularly good with the ^ difficult pieces. Both medical Su re. and artists give conreports after each performe* Gramophone recitals are also giv and some hospitals employ a therapist to play in the wards 8ive where these tyjl, ?e individual lessons appreciated. Sometimes the brj r Oth ers Pat'ents themselves perform. u may form a choir, whilst those have more difficulty benefit from j0j?ning This a percussion band.





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beginning, gramophone concerts were given, and now some mental hospitals have regular musical appreciation lessons which attract enthusiastic audiences. Some hospitals

have set aside a room for music and are forming libraries for the records and scores. What does all this amount to, and what does it signify? Just as the public taste in music has risen in the country at large, so it has in the mental hospitals. The provision of music has become more general. This is important for those for whom music is so much a part of their lives that to be deprived of it during illness is hurtful and a severe hardship. Others learn its delights for the first time and have their level of musical appreciation raised, so that when they recover they are better educated and have wider interests as a prophylactic against relapse. Music may provide an interest or a contact with reality to patients who would otherwise regress into apathy or fixate in fantasy. The dullest of all, unable to interest themselves in anything else, may learn to concentrate and occupy themselves fruitfully in music as the first step to recovery.

Besides the Council for Music in other there have been cognate associations, e.g., the Association for Music Therapy, now incorporated in the Council, and the Society for Music Therapy and Remedial Music (Hon. Secretary: 48 Lanchester Road, N.6), which also concerns itself with musical education in schools, besides various others in the U.S.A. Naturally, with so much interest, useful research has been done. The work of the Council was described by The Times Music Critic (1948).

Mitchell and Zanker (1949) treat5 c small group of assorted kinds patients with weekly sessions gramophone music, and a montn1 lecture. They found that the mo$

Mixed programmes

upset. ^ patient temporarily pressionism, e.g., Debussy, Ravel a"' Delius, had little therapeutic val1"1 Perhaps it is too delicate and subt'1 Realistic music, e.g., operas by BiZe Puccini, Mascagni, and Leoncaval'1


Most notable contributions made by the late Dr. Sydney Mitchell (1948), who gave gramophone recitals, followed by discussions, to small He found that groups of patients. mixed programmes were the most appreciated and beneficial. Romantic music gave rise to personal associations of ideas, serious contemporary music was still more effective in making conscious the emotional feelings of some schizophrenics. The firm, formal structure of classical music gave more security. Perhaps this is a general rule, for which of us has not, when in trouble, gained comfort from such music? He also found that as musical education progressed, increased group cohesion was manifest from it. Traditional and folk songs were quite the most effective in increasing the harmony of a group, for this music, though from many countries, is based on deep-seated cosmic and human relationships, and so strikes a universal chord, binding all people together. In another paper (1949) he found

that patients' orchestras, though





deficiency mental hospitals. He had successfully formed one of piano, fiddles, mandoline, banjuline, triangles, castanets, cymbals, rattles, bells, cuckoos, nightingales, etc., and played such pieces as Haydn's "Toy Schumann's Symphony", "Merry tions,



style, e.g., Palestrina, Byrd, Gibbonand Morley, was too esoteric for m&. The classical style, e.g., Bach, Han

Music in Psychiatry.

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