CD Review: Vital Music

CD Review - Vital Music Vital Music
 All tracks performed and recorded at The West Wing, St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London
 Produced by Vital Arts and The London NHS Trust
 Available from , 020 7480 4654, Katrin Jones

This CD is a collection of music “found to be appropriate for a hospital setting”. It was put together as part of the annual music programme that the arts charity Vital Arts delivers, writes Joy Gravestock.

In celebrating its 10th anniversary this year concerts and workshops were held at Barts and the London NHS Trust, one of Britain’s top teaching hospital trusts.

I was expecting a rather muted, even sombre, set of tracks on this CD, given that they are aimed at people attending hospital, ill, and in need of “appropriate” sounds.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear such a culturally diverse CD with music from Spain, Wales, China and India along with parts of Africa.

All the artists play with great sensitivity and produce music that is never slushy or sentimental, but thoughtful, vibrant and alive.

There are some deeply relaxing pieces, such as I would have expected, but these are not somnambulant. Rather, the CD as a whole seemed to have the effect of opening up inner space, and creating an uplifting and positive feeling of well-being within me.

Three of the CDs featured musicians. Rhodri Davies (harp), Morgan Szymanski (classical guitar) and Jonathan Mayer (sitar) are musicians-in-residence this year at the hospitals, performing recitals on a weekly rota; typically, two concerts a week on different wards.

As a soon-to-be student music-therapist, I shall definitely hold on to it to use in clinical settings.

Maybe it is a CD that could be used in some psychotherapy settings, and most certainly in the waiting area of the child and adolescent mental health service team clinic where I work.

Its meaningful, hopeful and invigorating sounds certainly beat the usual daytime TV or indiscriminate radio offerings.

Joy Gravestock, a therapist in child and adolescent mental health services, is a violinist and singer, and will begin music therapy training this September

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