oa South African Family Practice - Music as a metaphor for the medical consultation : open forum

Volume 50, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 2078-6190
  • E-ISSN: 2078-6204



This is the story of a journey down a path of ideas and reflections about the role of music in the practice of medicine. It was stimulated, amongst other events, by a workshop entitled "The Arts in Medicine" presented at the 2007 'Network: Towards Unity for Health' conference in Uganda, by a team from the University of New Mexico. This led me to an article in the Annals of Family Medicine entitled "Jazz and the 'Art' of Medicine: Improvisation in the Medical Encounter" by Paul Haidet. But it is also informed, as many journeys are, by half a lifetime of experiences and unanswered questions, in my case, of medicine and of music as two separate and mutually exclusive activities. Medicine has taken the lion's share of my time and energy, and is clearly work for which I get paid, whereas music has been relegated to a hobby when time and energy allow. And I believe that there are many others in a similar situation - doctors or nurses or other health care professionals who are in fact very creative people, but for whom the demands and prerogative of the medical vocation has squeezed out music, art or other forms of expression, and relegated them to less central roles in their busy lives.

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