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Why physicians benefit from playing music

“Physician and musician are both noble professions. They correlate one another in many ways. It is often very good to be musician at the same time due to benefit of music, such as relaxing effect and many more.” – General Practice

Its easy for some people to forget, but doctors are people! When they aren’t busy saving lives, they enjoy their own personal hobbies and interests – hobbies are important stress relievers, which is especially important for professionals in high-stress careers like medicine. Recently, a US pediatrician shared one of his most cherished hobbies, music:

I am addicted to playing music. Some of my earliest memories are as a four or five year old spinning Elvis Presley and Bobby Darin records on a cheap turntable and speaker and singing along. In the choir all the years of school from grade school through high school. Studied classical guitar from the age of eleven or twelve for four years. Rock band in HS and fusion, jazz, and even country along with classical through college and beyond, though now I am principally a jazz and classical guitarist and (self taught) pianist. I spend two to five hours a day playing, composing, practicing, recording, and occasionally gigging out. Apart from original compositions, my main focus is the Great American songbook and jazz standards. Addicted. It is my greatest joy, apart from my family.

As many doctors find when posting on Sermo, this one was not alone in his passion. Physicians from all over the world responded with their own stories and experiences:

“I grew up playing rhythm guitar with my Dad and Uncle, who played baladas, corridas y cumbias at home and at family fiestas. Picked up alto sax in 4th grade and played saxes all the way thru high school. Our high school Jazz Ensemble and our Tex·Mex band, from high school, thru under-grad were living testimonies of how wonderfully tight-a-functioning machine, the Human pack-animal can achieve!” – General Practice 

“Music is also a big part of my life. I was a mediocre violinist and violist through high school and college but loved playing in orchestras, something I really miss. I majored in music composition in college and compose classical music as a hobby (a few of my works I’ve shared in this forum in the past).” – Neurology 

“I have been a percussionist since 6th grade. After many years away from playing while going to school, residency, marriage and babies, I now have been part of a community concert band for about 5 years. We perform 5-6 times per year and had our most recent performance about 2 weeks ago. Now our weekly practice is focused on Christmas music for our Dec 10 performance.” – Anesthesiology 

“I play clawhammer banjo. I play because I love the music and it’s a way to express that love. It is also a social activity when you play with friends. There was a time when lots of people played. You didn’t have a radio or records, so if you wanted music, you had to make it yourself or have someone in the community who did.” – Neurology

“I have known a lot of quite talented physician musicians, a two physician band with a number of non-physician members used to play bluegrass at many of our student gatherings. I’m sort of one myself but with a great deal less talent than many. My best friend at residency played at his own wedding.” – General Surgery

“After 5 years of classical voice lessons, singing in 1 opera, giving 1 benefit recital for my hospital, I still sing in the OR all the time. In fact patients sometimes insist I am singing before they allow sedation to be given.” – Pain Medicine

 “My therapy for years has been playing the piano and organ, but my tastes are largely in classical music for each. There is nothing like playing Bach on a large pipe organ to send my soul soaring to the heavens, away from the nitty-gritty of the world and in the ER.” – Emergency Medicine

 “What is cool is to hear everyone’s pet musical interests, as varied as we all are individuals.” – Pediatrics

Are you a physician? Join Sermo to meet other doctors with similar hobbies and interests!