Violins invade hospitals

SLU doesn’t strike us as a great investor in classical music, so the new joint initiative between SLU’s string ensemble and the Saint Louis Symphony Orchestra is especially remarkable and stands out as one of the University’s more distinctive outreach programs.

Together, they are devising a new music therapy program that seeks to research the ameliorating effects of music on cancer patients; violas, violins and cellos are brought into hospital rooms in the hopes that they will aid in the healing process.
This program doesn’t just benefit those who have taken a beating by chemotherapy; both SLU and St. Louis have something to gain. As seen in the past, most recently with the H1N1 research, SLU and St. Louis are mutually reinforcing entities: SLU is the dominant institution in midtown and provides much academic prestige and financial boosts to the rest of the city, and in turn St. Louis, with its cultural resources such as the SLSO, brings opportunities and insights to our college life and helps diversify the campus.

This alliance between SLU and the symphony orchestra does a couple of things in particular. First, it brings the orchestra to the attention of students; the ensemble has won international acclaim and boasts performers of the highest pedigree, schooled at some of the best conservatories in the world.

Because SLU lacks a renowned music program, it is sometimes necessary for classical music culture to seep in from the outside in order for students to be aware of it, and this new bond accomplishes exactly this. Powell gets to be more than that imposing building on the corner of Grand and Delmar-students might be more inclined to venture into its posh interior.

The program also helps forge alliances between disparate departments at SLU, such as those in medicine and those in music, which normally wouldn’t collaborate. As departments work together, the inner workings of the University become more connected and the institution is strengthened.

While SLU’s doctors work to save lives, student musicians wield their bows alongside practiced professionals. We think the University functions best when it constantly involves itself with its community in innovative ways.