It can motivate you to exercise, reduce levels of stress or even curb pain from such illnesses as cancer. Sound too good to be true? Well, it's no scam, and it's not magic -- it's music.
The Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra launched a music and wellness website Monday that offers resources to organizations looking to build music and wellness programs or individuals hoping to use music to improve their personal well-being. Among other tools, the website (http://wellness.pittsburghsymphony.org) provides a handbook with guidelines for developing such programs and a blog with tips for individuals.
It emerged out of the PSO's music and wellness program, which started in 1999 as the brainchild of violist Penny Brill. She became interested in the connection between music and wellness following her diagnosis with breast cancer. As part of the program, PSO musicians have worked with music therapists and visited local hospitals, including Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC and VA Pittsburgh's H.J. Heinz facility.
Other organizations have asked the PSO for help in developing similar programs. The desire to share the PSO's experience was an impetus to develop the site.
But that assistance is not limited to large organizations. The website's blog will target anybody looking to improve his or her health through music. For example, in a discussion of exercise, the blog will look at music to work out to. In developing workout playlists, the two most important considerations are tempo and "whether or not you find it motivating," said Jessica Ryan, manager of education and community programs, who will write the blog. Some people prefer to match music to their steps, while others use their heartbeat.
The PSO's music and wellness program is supported by a Getty Education and Community Investment Grant, the A.J. and Sigismunda Palumbo Charitable Trust, the Scaife Family Foundation, Michael Baker Corp. and the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust.
Elizabeth Bloom: firstname.lastname@example.org, 412-263-1750 or on Twitter @BloomPG.