The Boston Globe | Turning music lessons into 'trauma informed care' for frontline healthcare workers

The Boston Globe's Zoë Madonna writes about the Boston Hope Music Teaching Project, a collaboration between NEC and Massachusetts General Hospital that connects NEC teaching fellows and frontline health care workers for remote music lessons.

Dr. Kathy May Tran practiced her instrument while on break at MGH.
Dr. Kathy May Tran. (Photo courtesy of Boston Hope)

As a doctor in the hospital medicine unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Kathy May Tran has been taking care of COVID-19 patients throughout the pandemic, overseeing their care from the moment they’re admitted to the facility. It’s grueling and hazardous work with a high potential for burnout. But a new initiative has helped to pull Tran and some of her colleagues back from the brink.

In a six-week pilot collaboration between New England Conservatory and MGH this fall, the Boston Hope Music Teaching Project connected teaching fellows from NEC with frontline health care workers for weekly private music lessons. The goal wasn’t to teach them skill or technique, but to provide a refuge from day-to-day life on the COVID ward, said Boston Hope Music codirector Dr. Lisa Wong in a phone interview.

“The expectation for them is not that they get to be on the Carnegie Hall stage. The expectation is for them to have an instrument, and to learn to heal through it, and to express themselves,” said Wong, a pediatrician who codirects the Arts and Humanities Initiative at Harvard Medical School and formerly served as the president of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra.

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