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Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine: The Story of the Longwood Symphony Orch

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The incredible story of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra that reveals the remarkable interplay between music and medicine You may have read about the Longwood Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in the paper or heard them on your favorite radio station. But the LSO is not just any orchestra. It began in 1982 with a group of talented Boston-area physicians, med students and health-care The incredible story of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra that reveals the remarkable interplay between music and medicine You may have read about the Longwood Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in the paper or heard them on your favorite radio station. But the LSO is not just any orchestra. It began in 1982 with a group of talented Boston-area physicians, med students and health-care professionals and has since flourished under the leadership of violinist Dr. Lisa Wong, who became president of the LSO in 1991. The orchestra is now a proud, extraordinary group of musicians with fans around the globe. In Scales to Scalpels, Dr. Wong and Robert Viagas chronicle how the musical acumen of these physicians affects the way they administer healing and, in turn, how their work affects their music. What cognitive and emotional shifts occur when a surgeon transitions from the chaos of the ER to the discipline of the orchestra rehearsal studio? What’s it like to make a house call to a poor neighborhood in the morning and then play trumpet in a jazz group that night? Does music heal the doctors the way the doctors heal their patients? How does practicing the art of music transform the art of practicing medicine?


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The incredible story of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra that reveals the remarkable interplay between music and medicine You may have read about the Longwood Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in the paper or heard them on your favorite radio station. But the LSO is not just any orchestra. It began in 1982 with a group of talented Boston-area physicians, med students and health-care The incredible story of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra that reveals the remarkable interplay between music and medicine You may have read about the Longwood Symphony Orchestra (LSO) in the paper or heard them on your favorite radio station. But the LSO is not just any orchestra. It began in 1982 with a group of talented Boston-area physicians, med students and health-care professionals and has since flourished under the leadership of violinist Dr. Lisa Wong, who became president of the LSO in 1991. The orchestra is now a proud, extraordinary group of musicians with fans around the globe. In Scales to Scalpels, Dr. Wong and Robert Viagas chronicle how the musical acumen of these physicians affects the way they administer healing and, in turn, how their work affects their music. What cognitive and emotional shifts occur when a surgeon transitions from the chaos of the ER to the discipline of the orchestra rehearsal studio? What’s it like to make a house call to a poor neighborhood in the morning and then play trumpet in a jazz group that night? Does music heal the doctors the way the doctors heal their patients? How does practicing the art of music transform the art of practicing medicine?

30 review for Scales to Scalpels: Doctors Who Practice the Healing Arts of Music and Medicine: The Story of the Longwood Symphony Orch

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer Cody

    This was recommended to me by a patient. I appreciate the subject matter, but this really should have been an essay, not a book. The thematic organization wasn't clear and a lot of the stories didn't "land" in terms of emotional resonance. Could have used closer editing. This was recommended to me by a patient. I appreciate the subject matter, but this really should have been an essay, not a book. The thematic organization wasn't clear and a lot of the stories didn't "land" in terms of emotional resonance. Could have used closer editing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Laeh

    This book would have been more engaging had it been told from the perspective of the symphony working toward something - an important show, working with a new conductor, reaching out to a startup physician symphony (something mentioned at the very end). As it's present, the book read like a hastily put together book report or senior project. I do applaud what these doctors are doing. I don't understand how they balance all of this with work and families. This book would have been more engaging had it been told from the perspective of the symphony working toward something - an important show, working with a new conductor, reaching out to a startup physician symphony (something mentioned at the very end). As it's present, the book read like a hastily put together book report or senior project. I do applaud what these doctors are doing. I don't understand how they balance all of this with work and families.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Sandra

    Fascinating book about medical personnel who play in an amateur musical group called the Longwood Symphony Orchestra in Boston. Members of this highly skilled orchestra believe that music touches lives and effects true social change.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Walter

    quick thoughts: agree with the authors assertion that health care is increasingly losing its humanity with technological advances and the fracturing of the health care team due to medicare and the like . as a student nurse i have witnessed doctors and nurses hustle to acquire the latest data on the patient so as to move on to the next patient on their ever increasing list of people to care for. the chamber group approach presented by wong to remedy this is attractive, insisting that patient care quick thoughts: agree with the authors assertion that health care is increasingly losing its humanity with technological advances and the fracturing of the health care team due to medicare and the like . as a student nurse i have witnessed doctors and nurses hustle to acquire the latest data on the patient so as to move on to the next patient on their ever increasing list of people to care for. the chamber group approach presented by wong to remedy this is attractive, insisting that patient care be a collaboration of a relatively small tight knit and i assume long term group of health professionals who quickly and efficiently communicate and exercise health care. Mayo clinic are noted as paragons of this approach, however, this broaches the issues related to health care and insurane, medicare, since such an approach would have to transcendthe obstacles currently in place. How music can initiate systemic changes of this sort is not clear. What appears more clear from wongs book are the, I guess, more localized benefits of music-therapy and musician-physicians on the individual and local community level. An anecdotally rich book this was, not dry at all, and not riddled with footnotes and endnotes citing this or that study and what not. book was bit more informal however still compelling and well informed by health care experts who she converses with throughout the book. not littered with technical music or medical jargon. a very accessible read that inspsired me to take up music (guitar) once more for both its personal and interpersonal benefits...

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    I usually steer clear of writing reviews for books written by people I know, but DR, Lisa Wong's is a special book with a special theme which might be of interest. I have always been curious about the relationship between medicine an music. As a lifetime keen amateur violinist, I have spent my life in orchestras mostly populated byt physicians. What's that all about? Dr. Wong here discusses her ideas about the neurological basis of the overlap, but also gives a very persuasive plea to use music I usually steer clear of writing reviews for books written by people I know, but DR, Lisa Wong's is a special book with a special theme which might be of interest. I have always been curious about the relationship between medicine an music. As a lifetime keen amateur violinist, I have spent my life in orchestras mostly populated byt physicians. What's that all about? Dr. Wong here discusses her ideas about the neurological basis of the overlap, but also gives a very persuasive plea to use music as a healing power, and as a force for social good. She had long been a violinist in Boston's Longwood Symphoney (which is where we met), but which has gone on to be a leader in combining excellence in music with a dedication to helping people in their community. She tells the history of the orchestra, how and why it evolved as it has, and relies heavily on interviews with fellow musician/doctors. This book is fascinating, important and well-written, like a fascinating chat with a friend -- which for me, was what it was, but I think others would like in on the chat, too. Highly recommended.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lucy

    Pediatrician and violinist Dr. Lisa Wong is part of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra of Boston, composed entirely of health care professionals and medical students. Dr. Wong and her colleagues use music as a respite from hectic, stressful professional lives, but also apply their music to the healing arts, performing in person at nursing homes & hospitals. They also play concerts to benefit numerous health-care charities in the Boston area. The stories of several musician-physicians are told, also Pediatrician and violinist Dr. Lisa Wong is part of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra of Boston, composed entirely of health care professionals and medical students. Dr. Wong and her colleagues use music as a respite from hectic, stressful professional lives, but also apply their music to the healing arts, performing in person at nursing homes & hospitals. They also play concerts to benefit numerous health-care charities in the Boston area. The stories of several musician-physicians are told, also how they use music in their day jobs. The book is very interesting but would have benefitted from one more run-through by an editor or proof-reader. Some typos, but my pet peeve is repetition. One 6-sentence paragraph has sentence 2 & sentence 4 almost word for word repeat. And an anecdote about Sen. Edward Kennedy is told on page 192 and repeated with slight wording changes on p. 200, in the same chapter. I would have given this book a 5star rating if it hadn't had so many irritating mistakes, glitches & repetitions, which I found very distracting while I was reading the book.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Sue

    Wong presents a great deal of narrative, scientific, and musical information. She uses a terrific variety of sources and attempts to present relationships between music and medicine on many fronts. Though pertinent and thought-provoking, Wong's body of the stories, theories, and research, lack focus or thread and do not lead to realizations or proofed ideas. In addition, there are a number of type-o's and repeated paragraphs. What exactly is Wong trying to say? However, I was able to share a num Wong presents a great deal of narrative, scientific, and musical information. She uses a terrific variety of sources and attempts to present relationships between music and medicine on many fronts. Though pertinent and thought-provoking, Wong's body of the stories, theories, and research, lack focus or thread and do not lead to realizations or proofed ideas. In addition, there are a number of type-o's and repeated paragraphs. What exactly is Wong trying to say? However, I was able to share a number of her theory summaries with my own music students in a number of different venues. Overall, Wong needs more thorough editing and a more clear sense of purpose.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Linda

    This book was written by the president of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, an orchestra made up of medical professionals in Boston. Dr. Wong talks about the history of the LSO, why Albert Schweitzer is the patron saint of the orchestra and about different members of the group. What I found most interesting was her discussion of studies showing how learning and playing music improve the human brain. If you are interested in the connection between medicine and music you will enjoy this.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Rhesa

    I really enjoyed this book, though it needed better editing! (e.g. same story told twice, a few pages apart - I thought I was losing my mind.) The orchestra has done some impressive work in their community. Some of the personal stories were particularly moving: of growing up as instrumentalists, of needing to continue playing throughout their lives, and how their art interacts with their professions.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

    It was an interesting review of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, but I felt like it wasn't the most organized book ever, and that it might have had a central focus, but it also had different topics that she talked about. I read this book for one of my classes, just to put that out there. I was an interesting book, but I think that it could've been more concise with a clear purpose that was covered. It was an interesting review of the Longwood Symphony Orchestra, but I felt like it wasn't the most organized book ever, and that it might have had a central focus, but it also had different topics that she talked about. I read this book for one of my classes, just to put that out there. I was an interesting book, but I think that it could've been more concise with a clear purpose that was covered.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kyler Burd

    Excellent review of the state of music the field of medicine today. Well written, playing off the stories of individual members of the Longwood Symphony. The personal, biographical aspect draws the reader in, rewarding them with valuable insight into the impact of music.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Elaine Bearden

    looks interesting - about an orchestra that is made up entirely of doctors out east; i'm interested in how the writer wrote about the phenomenon of music looks interesting - about an orchestra that is made up entirely of doctors out east; i'm interested in how the writer wrote about the phenomenon of music

  13. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

  14. 4 out of 5

    Joanne Hsu

  15. 4 out of 5

    Debra Hussey

  16. 4 out of 5

    Sukhita

  17. 5 out of 5

    Natalie

  18. 4 out of 5

    Michael Steele

  19. 4 out of 5

    Gail

  20. 4 out of 5

    Adela

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jeff Steward

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lif Strand

  23. 5 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sara

  25. 4 out of 5

    Malia

  26. 5 out of 5

    Julie

  27. 4 out of 5

    Laura

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  29. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  30. 5 out of 5

    Jocelyn Taylor

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