July 2014: Music is good medicine

In the course of any given workday, a lot of my time is spent in medical facilities and hospital rooms. Rarely are the circumstances easy and often cause a lot of stress for the patient. In an attempt to bring calm to the situation, I get people to reminisce about happier times. The quickest way I have found to defuse a difficult situation is through music. My go-to genre is music of the 1940s. Thank goodness for smartphones and the ability to store favorite songs and play them with just a finger swipe.

As Diana Krall began crooning “This Can’t Be Love,” my client and her husband started singing along. Next thing you know, we were having so much fun we barely noticed the nurse coming in for more lab work. Her mood had visibly changed, even more so than when she got the shot of painkiller.

As another client and I departed for a recent appointment, there was much angst and worry in anticipation. We left the apartment to walk down the long hall. I took his arm in mine, turned to him and began singing…


Click here to hear “A Couple of Swells”

But we haven’t got the price

We would skate up the Avenue

But there isn’t any ice


We would ride on a bicycle

But we haven’t got a bike

So we’ll walk up the Avenue

Yes, we’ll walk up the Avenue

‘Cause to walk up the Avenue’s what we like.”


Those verses from “A Couple of Swells” from the 1948 musical film “Easter Parade” made the pending trip and walk down that long hall much more enjoyable.

What if we prescribed songs to help change our moods? In case of pain, listen to selections from “Oklahoma,” “Accentuate the Positive” followed by a Sousa march.

Need to sharpen and improve your memory? Studies show that a diet of classical music, specifically that of Mozart, Vivaldi, Bach and Handel, increases attention span and improves test scores. Sounds like Handel’s “Messiah” and Vivaldi’s “Four Seasons” would be the perfect way to spend your afternoon. Music can be good medicine. What songs would be on your prescription pad?


Share your musical memories with Pollard by emailing jenniferp@aoscaremanagement.com.