The health benefits of listening to music, or musicotherapy, are much researched and well-documented.
According to a John Hopkins article on mental well-being, listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness and memory. An article published by Harvard Medical School states that 'listening to and performing music reactivates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion and reward.' These statements were recently put to the test in Diaverum Uruguay, where an extraordinary initiative has been spreading music concerts through our clinics.
Nephrologist Dr. Gerardo Pérez, a keen player of the bandoneón (a popular Latin American instrument, similar to a large concertina), is the founder of Hospital Tangó, a project that seeks to bring small-format concerts to healthcare spaces and nursing homes.
Dr Pérez has been playing music to his patients for over two decades, but it was only last year that it evolved into a bigger project. Speaking about the project’s mission, Dr Pérez explains that it aims to: 'Get people out of the scenario in which they find themselves – illness, uncertainty, suffering, often not knowing what this diagnosis holds for their lives'. In hospitals, he added 'they are alone a lot of the time, often in anguish'.
Together with singers and guitarists, Dr. Pérez's organisation creates events for patients,including Diaverum’s clinics in Lagomar, Intir and Renis. While the collective focuses on tángo, it hopes to reach NGO status and expand to feature other styles such as folk, salsa and candombe (a style of music and dance originating from Uruguay), as well as explore other artistic and cultural expressions for the benefit of patients and staff. A patient at Diaverum’s Montevideo renal centre commented on what Hospital Tángo’s music has meant to them: 'This is more than medicine. I had fallen into a routine. I did things, but not with the usual enthusiasm. Music gave my soul the desire to live, joy, enthusiasm, feelings that were fading.' Another added that with these small shows, 'times are greatly shortened' and being 'anchored' becomes 'much more bearable'.
Pablo Presso, Country Manager for Diaverum Uruguay, spoke about what the project has meant to the organisation: 'We are delighted to see how much enjoyment Dr Pérez and the Hospital Tángo initiative have brought to our patients and we are incredibly proud to have sponsored this. We believe in the power of music and what it can offer our patients, which is why are doing a quality of life analysis on the impact of music with the patients of the participating clinics Intir and Renis'.