Thanks to in-hospital musicians, our patients are escaping the boundaries of their illnesses and expressing themselves through song.
The creative artists and volunteers with UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine are always finding new ways to brighten patients’ days, and one of their newest ideas is a program titled Tiny Bed Sessions. These bedside concerts were inspired by the Tiny Desk concert series that National Public Radio has hosted for years. Tiny Desk features well-known and emerging musicians performing intimate concerts at the desk of NPR All Songs Considered host Bob Boilen.
Tina Mullen, UF Health Shands AIM director, said that music is brought to patients in hospitals all over the country, but these sessions bring something greater to the table.
“It’s this beautiful experience in which patients just become immersed,” Mullen said.
In these musical sessions, patients have the opportunity to form relationships with the artists rather than just listening to them perform.
Such is the bond formed between Ricky Kendall, an AIM musician-in-residence, and Jamal Davis, a young man who has been a patient at UF Health Shands Hospital for more than three months. Theirs is an example of how music can form friendships, create artistic connections and make a hospital stay more rewarding.
Kendall said that he enjoys connecting with patients on an intimate level through the Tiny Bed Sessions.
“You end up playing these songs that you would never even think of, but for somebody it means the world. You kind of learn why it means so much to them, and you end up loving the song, too,” Kendall said.
While Davis patiently awaits a heart transplant, he’s pleased that there’s now an outlet for his vocal talents.
“I was always singing and people were like, ‘Oh, you have such a great voice,’” Davis said. “But I’m like, ‘Do you really understand what I’m singing?’”
When Davis sings and spends time with Kendall, he feels like Kendall really understands him because they are able to connect on that musical level.
“Music is such a mystical, magical thing,” Davis said. “It unlocks certain things and I don’t feel like everyone can naturally tap into that by themselves.”
To view videos of the Tiny Bed Sessions and learn more about the UF Health Shands Arts in Medicine program, please visit artsinmedicine.UFHealth.org.