The Sentara Music and Medicine Center (SMMC) focuses on integrating music-based therapies as a treatment tool for improving disease outcomes, enhancing the quality of life of patients, caregivers and members of the community. The Center performs research to advance the understanding of the application of music in the therapeutic process, in addition to educating the medical, musical and general public about the effects of music on health and disease. SMMC includes the following programs:
Music Therapy is the use of music as a treatment modality by a board-certified Music Therapist to help patients reach nonmusical goals. Sentara employs a full-time Neurologic Music Therapist who strategically utilizes evidence-based techniques to treat areas such as: gait impairment, cognitive impairment and language disorders as well as difficulties with mood, anxiety, and coping/adjustment.
Performance Medicine involves preventing and treating problems of musicians, singers and dancers resulting from disuse or repetitive stress due to the practice of their art, helping stage fright and other performancerelated problems. It is led by a Neurologist helped by a multi-disciplinary team of physicians, healthcare professionals and music educators.
Music Medicine brings live performances to patient care settings to create a general well-being environment, decrease pain and anxiety, shorten length of stay in the hospital and enhance patient satisfaction. It is led by SMMC’s Artist-in-Residence and includes professional musicians from the community. Performances include: concerts, hospital lobby performances and music on the inpatient units.
Clinical research is applied to Neurological Music Therapy, Music Medicine and Performance Medicine. It is typically a multidisciplinary approach and involves the collaboration with research institution such as local, national and international academic institutions. SMMC is currently seeking funding grants for its research program.
The impact of music on health and disease is such that almost every human civilization has perceived its importance. Today, the most modern medical technology is proving that music works very effectively on the brain and other organs of the body. We need to push further the knowledge and the science behind Music and Medicine and educate the patients, their families, the medical professionals, medical students, academicians, musicians and the general public about the field of Music and Medicine. For this, a strong philanthropic support is essential and the active involvement of the professional musical community and of the scientific community are invaluable. The Center’s Medical Director and Artist-in-Residence lead this effort through organizing Music and the Brain lecture-concerts and symposia locally and internationally.