Philadelphia Orchestra Jammin’ With BSM Guests

May 5, 2016

All of us on staff at BSM are thrilled to be part of HEAR The Philadelphia Orchestra – a collection of new initiatives focusing on four avenues toward more community engagement with these world-class musicians – Health, Education, Access, and Research. BSM is partnering with the orchestra in two areas – health and research.

The Health initiative involves a partnership that in addition to musicians also includes music therapists. The idea behind this three-fold partnership is to bring together musicians, clinicians and our vulnerable guests experiencing homelessness and scarcity to form weekly improvisational music groups. Over time, as these musicians learn effective ways of interacting with our guests, they plan to train other musicians to augment the work done in various healthcare settings to engage effectively and compassionately with other vulnerable individuals in hospitals, cancer centers and beyond.

The “R” – the research component – highlights the contribution that Temple University’s School of Music Therapy is making to this innovative pilot project. Their team has created a research study to explore the effects of both music and the interactions with musicians on the quality of life for those experiencing trauma. Although the results of the research study will not be known for a while yet, we have already seen some positive effects. Several guests are regular musicians in the group now (even though they had no prior musical experience), and are already expressing a feeling of belonging that we expect will continue to have a positive impact on their lives.

These types of innovative partnerships, where we have opportunities to explore new ways to meld music and other art with the healing arts, is at the heart of what we believe radical hospitality is all about – the interplay of various stakeholders in Center City and especially on The Avenue of the Arts with some of the most vulnerable people in Philadelphia. And we hope that the learning in this initiative will be applied to other individuals experiencing chronic and serious health issues.