Music therapy hits the stage at Roanoke’s Jefferson Center – WDBJ7

ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) In Roanoke, a crowd was delighted at the Jefferson Center on Sunday by a unique performance. It was part of Music and Medicine — a concert and lecture on the effects music has on our health.

Music therapy hits the stage at Roanoke's Jefferson Center - WDBJ7 1
Jesse Stevens/WDBJ7

Like a surgeon hovering over the operating table, Prisca Benoit is purposeful with every stroke of her hands, making an impact on the people she helps.

“Music is not just a source for entertainment, not just an opportunity to engage in the high arts, but an opportunity to feel better about our lives and our health,” Jefferson Center Executive Director Cyrus Pace said. “This is an opportunity for us to get together and think about how music engages the community and also more importantly makes it even healthier.”

Music and Medicine is a touring show from the Sentara Music and Medicine Center in Norfolk. The performance and lecture show music’s effect on the body.

“Music is just a great joy in life, it helps when you’re depressed, it helps when you deal with stress it’s a great way to relax from all the stresses in the world today,” attendee Brad Knopf said.

It’s not just stress. Research continues to show the notes flowing through our ears aren’t just triggering pleasure, they’re healing too.

Sentara Neurologist Dr. Kamal Chemali said, “It activates most of our brain, it can bypass a lot of different areas of the brain so we can use it in order to recover function, we could use it also in order to create in us very strong emotions.”

There’s evidence of music improving outcomes from anxiety to stroke recovery. And it’s a message they’re continuing to spread.

“We feel that people need to know about it, they need to know the power of music, how we can treat with music,” Dr. Chemali said. “This is very unknown.”


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