Friday, December 18, 2015
Music, Medicine, and Trust
I find this video interesting on a number of levels. Clearly the doctor is a fine violinist, but I imagine that the "Tennessee Waltz" is not one of the pieces in his usual repertoire. I also imagine that he is not as comfortable playing by ear as the guitarist/singer/patient (who has to jump octaves when attempting to sing because of the key). Observe at the 46-second mark, when the violinist/doctor, following the form of the song, goes into accompanying mode, and the two musicians "dance" awkwardly for a verse, making connections with one another here and there, exposing personal and musical vulnerabilities and strengths along the way. When it's the violinist's turn to improvise, the guitarist seems happy to accompany/support him as he tentatively searches for plausible variations on bits of the tune.
The music may not be within either of their usual idioms, but it functions as a plausible middle ground, and they share some special moments of musical communication with people like you and me who are touched by seeing and hearing the spoils of an unlikely bit of music-making by people who might never otherwise come into musical contact.
There is more to this patient/guitarist/singer that meets the eye (pun intended). And Dr. Sloan, who works on violins in addition to playing them, is very generous with his collection of instruments.