“Musicaltruism” for those feeling the need to fly
Who we are: The Project includes professional volunteer musicians, and was born in Argentina based on María Eugenia Rubio´s initiative, then grew and spread to other provinces and countries. Today we are more than 2500 musicians from several cities and countries. MPA is a non-profit association, which has staged over 400 concerts and is celebrating its 7th birthday in 2019.
Our aims: We offer our professionalism at the service of people of different age groups both in hospitals or nursing homes in need of positive stimuli and entertainment. Our aim is to make their stay or hospitalization happier and less stressful, at least for a couple of hours, providing even a therapeutic benefit.
For whom: Time and availability, as part of our commitment, are offered for free, and depending upon both the space and time available in the health care centers, hospitals and hospital rooms where we may have a chance to provide spiritual happiness to patients.
There are no special requirements, it is all just about sharing time which is also be beneficial for the musicians, for mutual enjoyable experiences, in spite of the monotony and melancholy typically associated with hospitalizations and systematic health care.
Why?: Every professional artist knows that the best moment in their own experience is when the audience leaves aside the problems and anxiety affecting their moods, and lives relaxed moments and shares emotions and sensations that only music is able to trigger; with that objective in mind, the artist´s mission is fully accomplished, and satisfaction is deep.
You do not play music just for yourself, and those who live for music and thanks to music know that: the true and only conversational partner is the person who enjoys art. This is exactly the moral and physical commitment of an artist: to make the audience feel alive and moved.
For those who live in the world of art there is nothing happier than that; and if achieved for free, without any economic interest, satisfaction will be the deepest ever.
In brief: we are fully available: whether it is sick children, adults, or elderly people, or people who are bedridden or housebound because of their disease. This is our commitment: to do heartedly what we do every day, that is, to play music!
There is no limit to generosity, and our commitment is called Music for the soul (Música para el Alma), or we might even call it Musicaltruism, that is, giving the soul a pair of wings to free the heart from anguish of both body and mind, and forget, at least for a while, all the suffering and pain that prevent us from flying high in search of smiles!
Sergio Valentino, MPA Naples, Italy
…the lady was dancing during our concert. She got sad when she heard the music from “Schindler´s List” and went to the ladies´ to cry. She went in, looked at herself in the mirror, and said “I look ugly!”, and kept on crying sorrowfully poor little thing. Then she started dancing again, and when Fermín (Prieto, a tenor) sang “O sole mio”, she was overwhelmed and fell to the floor almost like fainting. Later, and sobbing, she told me “I don´t know what to do with so much happiness”. She did not faint, actually, she simply let herself fall to the floor….. overjoyed. Laura Rizzo, a soprano in MPA – Neuropsychiatric Hospital Braulio A. Moyano, City of Buenos, March 2013.
At the Moyano Hospital they told us the lady´s name is María Flora, 70 years old, and always goes to the radio program (Desate, broadcast by the patients at the Moyano Hospital) to sing and read her poems…. Sometimes, insanity devastates her thoughts, her feelings, her desires…. Sometimes, poetry is not enough …. (Video showing María Flora dancing).
Video of María Flora dancing:
MPA San Juan 2018 Tour
November 14th, 2018
Only those of us who are “lucky” to visit a hospital every day know what goes on inside. And I am saying this not just because of the patients but also because of all of us who work there. It is not easy to work amid pain, anguish, and uncertainty. It is difficult to learn how to manage optimism and avoid falling into despair. Only those involved in the life of neuropsychiatric hospitals know about the forgetfulness of the world outside, the absence of fresh air, new things; caresses, motivation, to be looked at, to make people unafraid.
Today Música para el Alma came to the hospital and filled our lives with nice things, with music lessons, with embracing sounds catching the attention of even the most apathetic, with connecting voices. With songs that are popular for many, unknown to others who tapped their feet on the floor or snapped their fingers to the musical beat, who were spellbound as they watched us, the visitors from Buenos Aires who came to play music, simply to help the people in a far away deserted place in the city of San Juan feel better, loved, with a big smile. And they even performed some magic tricks to make these children disguised as adults smile.
Thank you, Música para el alma: our souls will be full of nice things for a while.
Laura Tamarit, M.D. Director of the Neuropsychiatric Hospital El Zonda, San Juan.
We can be Heroes, just for one day
A couple of days ago I went to the movies to see Tim Burton´s “Miss Peregrine Home for Peculiar Children”. I was very excited, I love fantastic characters. Persons with superpowers wishing to be heroes, help others and make this a better world to live in. I like this type of characters so much that at a certain point I feel frustrated when I realize they are not real, that they do not exist and will never exist. With this contradiction in mind, I left the movie theater, to find out later that I was wrong.
The people from MPA came to the hospital, and from the very beginning, they showed me I was terribly wrong. They explained they take their music to places where music is necessary because live music is a different kind of magic.
Yes, it a different kind of magic, said the cello player and started playing. Right there, they started playing, and magical things happened, the strings vibrated, they blew their wind instruments and the whole place transmuted.
I must say that the place I am talking about is a rehab gym originally built as a theater for children and teenagers; the acoustics is good, the ceilings are high, there are drawings on the walls inherited from the past, mats, parallel bars, rigging.
Thanks to the artists, the walls started moving and it all seemed to be smaller, then larger. But not just the room transmuted, the persons there were hypnotized, overwhelmed by enjoyment and emotion.
Then, the singers… first, a lady opened her mouth and released an enormous flow of air and beautiful vibration which seemed to entrance us all. Then, a singer-actress or actress-singer, I don´t know very well, brought to us a wicked mother who ordered her daughter to kill a person for her.
There, before our eyes, she played her character, made us believe in that character, occupying the whole place; then, put it away as if she had never been there. Magic, more magic. They spread magic, I saw people go out of their own bodies while singing, people who cannot walk were able to fly, and fly really high.
The performance finished, they thanked and left like ordinary people because a superhero is an ordinary person too.
Magic, superpowers, the search for a better world, caring for the person next to you, right there outside the movie screen; I can not help believing.
Love, art, looking beyond selfishness may turn us into heroes, so small, so large, so far, so near.
If you want to contact these heroes:
HOSPITAL LOAYZA, PERU. Text was written by GUSTAVO RIVARA, M.D.
I learned about Música para el alma about 3 months ago, when they came unexpectedly and almost without any formal presentation to visit the in-patient rooms in my dear old Arzobispo Loayza Hospital, in Lima… they filled the air with magic. Light…. almost saturated with fantasy and life.
Music notes from the fine instruments were the most effective medication, and these notes like skillful brushes painted smiles on each patient´s face, even in those with the saddest diagnosis…Nurses, physicians, assistants, relatives… they were all spellbound and immobile as they felt how their skin pores contracted slowly…..
I saw the hands of a very sick woman dancing as if they were two agile dancers, I saw eyes cry with joy. I discovered that even the saddest corner in that room could be filled with fantasy. I witnessed sublime voices walking down the rooms, like seagulls flying over the sea, avoiding the waves, mitigating pain….
I saw magic, kind hearts giving without waiting for anything in return…. Some time has passed and I still feel moved when I remember, when I go back to those hallways, close my eyes and I can listen to them once more, and I smile,…. I feel fine, knowing that there are thousands of people who still care for others.
It is not just them, I am thankful because they exist, because they are, because they came to my hospital, and visit many other hospitals too …. Thank you, my friends, from Música para el alma, thank you so much eternally…. Because you came almost in obscurity, and you left footprints that not even pain will be able to erase….
Gustavo Rivara D. MD. MSc. Pediatrician neonatologist, hospital clown Lima Hospital, Peru.
A small button with the shape of a heart
That is the gift an elderly woman gave me yesterday when we visited a nursing home. What a moving experience, bringing music to places where elderly people live…. A long time since somebody visited them last… or somebody gave them a hug….
We are so lucky to bring them some happiness, and to be able to make that day at least a different day for them… and for us…
What a beautiful reward, what a beautiful gift.
A small button with the shape of a heart.
Laura Rizzo, soprano in MPA.
At the National Children´s Garrahan Hospital with Patch Adams
A hot Saturday afternoon. National Children’s Garrahan Hospital. A group of ordinary people has come. Some of them have hats, clown noses, wigs. Others timidly take their instruments out of their bags: it is somewhat messy, nobody knows very well where to go or what to do. After a while, they start playing Aleluya, and the magic starts.
Luca, the drummer at the Children´s Hospital in La Plata
This is Luca, who has been in the hospital for a couple of days now, here at the Children´s Hospital in La Plata. His dream is to be able to play the drums again. A message was posted on social networks. The next day, the drums appeared. We managed to find somebody to bring and assemble the drums.
June 27, 2015
I had made plans to pick up Guille – our second oboe – at one. I made enough room in my car for him; the rest of the room was for the double bass. We set out for Highway 88 under the bright midday sun (…), it was the first concert of Músicos para el alma.
Daniel, one of our trombone players, who teaches a class for people wanting to finish their high school at the National Psycho-Physical Rehabilitation Institute (INAREPS) had an idea. Most of the patients there – some are hospitalized – have all types of physical and/or psychological disabilities- and go to this center for rehabilitation in order to improve their quality of life (….)
We realized that it would be impossible to try and do certain things even before we started. So, without further delay, we put on our hats, and we winked an eye to the hard working doorman, who was crazy surrounded by wheelchairs and crutches mixed with laughter and loud talking. We started playing Mozart´s Serenade “A little Night Music”, and the audience responded warmly.
I expected to see a lady (Graciela) who works at INAREPS; she had told me she would be there with one of her patients. I looked around the place, overcrowded by now, with many people even standing outside in the porch, but did not see her. Obviously, she was not there (…)
We played other music pieces that my memory has hidden behind the emotion of that experience. When the concert was reaching a climax, I saw Graciela coming in and pushing a bed, yes! A hospital bed!, those beds with wheels you see at any hospital.
On that bed, a young girl was lying (her age I could not tell; her name was Luján), blank staring at the ceiling. We made an effort to keep on playing, with a lump in the throat, and tears running down our cheeks, we kept on playing (…..)
Then, something happened that we would never forget. In a couple of minutes, the music was like a guiding light and that blank stare changed into a smile of joy and thankfulness. Graciela was near her caressing her. Before the concert finished, she went back to the room with a different Luján on that bed (…)
Guille and I went outside. The sun was warming the siesta hours. We put the bass in the car and got in. I felt I was in no hurry at all. And I realized all of a sudden that there is no need to go far to go somewhere. Sergio Gugliotta. Música para el alma, Mar del Plata, December 2013.
University Teaching Hospital “José de San Martín”, City of Buenos Aires
Yesterday, as I was about to finish my round at the University Teaching Hospital, I came across a lovely gift in the Central Hall. We were all very intrigued, and almost in a second we became part of that celebration of happiness, the only aim was to have a good time.
It was all about enjoyment and happiness, not just in the audience but also among the musicians. Communicable happiness! By my side, there was a lady with a fan who was giving water to her little daughter.
To my surprise, she was a member of the choir. She sang with a sweet voice and got everybody smiling around her as she sang…. She fanned an old man standing next to her who was holding a bag…..
Another woman, who played the violin, danced and danced and laughed as she created melodies with her friends. Then, voices were heard, as if coming from a chamber orchestra, the musicians themselves were surprised…
They were the patients themselves who could not control that impulse to join such a gifted moment!
I am thankful for having been there yesterday! I am thankful for the emotion and the tears, and much more than that I am thankful for the smile I had on my face for the rest of the day!
I would like to thank the physicians, nurses, elevator men, staff and receptionists, who are in the trenches every single day although they may seem moody, THEY ALWAYS FINISH A CONVERSATION WITH A KNOWING SMILE, so you leave happy, hopeful, and proud of being alive.
I want to thank the physicians who in the middle of a hectic working day took a break to teach us that life is life when enjoyed.
A big word of thanks to all of them because all this is simple though difficult to sustain. I will do my best to always remember what I felt when they smiled at me, and I will try to follow suit. This happened at the University Teaching Hospital and the musicians are Música para el alma.
Carlos Andrés Pellegrini
University Teaching Hospital, October 2014
A keyboard for Caren
We met Caren when she was 12, at the Gutierrez Children´s Hospital back in 2012. We were with her during her hospital stay, played the cello for her. Her mother told us some time later, when Caren was already back home, that our visits had motivated her to learn how to play an instrument.
A miracle for Lorenzo (Lorenzo´s oil)
One of the many stories we learned as part of the “Música para el alma” project. Valeria is Lorenzo´s mother, Lorenzo has epilepsy. Valeria told us about the therapeutic effects of Mozart´s music in reducing the number of seizures in people with this condition. Mozart´s K448 is ideal for these cases.