• Welcome to Musical Living!

    Posted on August 19, 2013 by Jessica Ryan in Miscellaneous.


    The day’s workout seemed like a daunting task. I was supposed to complete my first-ever 13.1-mile run! Questions raced through my mind. Would I actually have enough endurance to run the entire distance? I had never run this many miles at one time before, and I had some nagging soreness in my right knee. Even if I could finish the run in one piece, would I be motivated enough to run at my usual pace? I was running with no one and racing no one. Could I stay on my feet if my knee really started to ache? I had my doubts, but as soon as I started my iPod things changed. The minute I stepped onto the sidewalk I heard one of my favorite pieces of music, “Jupiter” from Gustav Holst’s orchestral suite, The Planets. Suddenly I felt energized and excited about the run. I quickened my step and started off on a successful—even enjoyable—13.1 mile journey.

    Most of you have probably experienced a time when music helped you accomplish a personal goal. Whether you wanted to fall asleep more easily at night, relax after a rough day, or run a half marathon, you used music to live a healthier, happier life. I’m guessing that many of you even use music to better yourselves on a daily basis—often unintentionally. With just a little knowledge about how to intentionally select music that suits your goals, you can consistently take your already beneficial listening experiences to the next level.


    Two patients touch the instrument of the PSO’s Principal Cellist, Anne Martindale Williams, at the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC.

    So how can you gain this knowledge? There aren’t many online resources specifically dedicated to illustrating how you can use music for health purposes, but here at the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra (PSO), we have created Musical Living: The Music and Wellness Blog to fill this void. Musical Living is the newest facet of our Music and Wellness Program, which began in 1999 when we first started providing musical programs for people in healthcare facilities. To this day we continue to collaborate with local hospitals, but we also want to empower people to daily use music to increase their well-being and achieve their goals. We hope to do this through Musical Living by giving you practical information about how you can use music, especially orchestral music, to positively impact your life.

    To kick off the blog, we will offer a series about music and exercise. (If you are reading this and thinking about starting a new exercise regimen, please remember to consult with your doctor. I am a musician and arts administrator—not a medical professional!) Come back weekly to check out our posts discussing what characteristics to look for when selecting music for various types of exercise, as well as playlists of songs that motivate us to exercise. After you read our posts, don’t forget to use our comment forum to engage in conversation with PSO staff and other readers.

    Get started on your journey toward improved health and wellness by coming back for our first post in the series next week!

2 Responses so far.

  1. betsy blazek-o'neill, md says:

    This blog is a fantastic idea! I look forward to future posts, and I will be thrilled to be able to tell patients and all people interested in improving their health and wellness to check it out. Thank you for making this available.

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