Apr 11, 2016

    Band Aid: Chorus of support for music in hospitals

    MUSIC lifts the spirits, which is why hospitals here are putting up free performances for patients, staff and visitors. The National University Hospital (NUH), for example, is increasing the frequency of its programme - where musical groups play up the healing touch at lunchtime concerts - from a monthly to a weekly basis.

    The hospital marked the first anniversary of its Musical Rendezvous programme on Wednesday with a concert that included appearances by jazz maestro Jeremy Monteiro, Malay music ensemble Sri Mahligai and the Mayflower Primary School Guzheng Ensemble.

    NUH patient Esther Lee, 46, said she enjoyed the music as it "injects life into the ward".

    "Hopefully, the musicians can play more songs next time. It's nice to have such performances every week," she added.

    Musicians will perform at NUH wards from 2pm to 3pm every Wednesday throughout the year, with concerts in the NUH Lobby B held monthly.

    Over at the Changi General Hospital, Lim Ee Guan, director of corporate affairs, said it started a Caring Arts programme last year to "help create a more pleasant, healing environment for patients and visitors" through bi-monthly song, dance or art performances and displays.

    At Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH), pupils from Greenwood Primary School have been performing quarterly at the main lobby since 2014.

    Performances range from singing and dance items to even rope skipping.

    KTPH also has professional performers and groups visit the hospital to play for patients and staff.

    For example, the Singapore Chinese Orchestra will be at the hospital's main lobby at 12.30pm on April 20.

    A KTPH spokesman said such performances are generally well-received.

    "The older patients particularly enjoy hearing music from the olden days," she added.

    Being out of bed helps patients to be more mobile and aids in their recovery, she said.

    At Alexandra Hospital, staff with musical backgrounds perform for patients regularly, on top of visiting musicians and community bands.

    A brass quintet from Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music performed there last Saturday and on Friday.

    The arts programme at KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) involves not just patients and staff but also the community, which is welcome to showcase their talents.

    Under the Arts@KKH programme, started in November 2011, performances are held monthly, with 51 completed to date, involving some 1,900 participants from performing arts groups and schools.

    Singapore General Hospital's Arts For Health programme has seen more than 300 concerts staged for more than 10,000 patients, staff and visitors. These are usually held on the last Friday of each month at the SGH quad.

    Local flautist Sin Jin How, who performs for patients and was at NUH's concert on Wednesday, said he hopes his music brings joy to patients.

    "Every time I play for them, I feel like tearing up. It is a reminder of how fragile life is and we should really treasure our time with our loved ones," he added.