Reviews Soundings

Tell Tchaikovsky the news

BMJ 2006; 333 doi: (Published 03 August 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;333:309
  1. Des Spence, general practitioner
  1. Glasgow

    Most mornings I awake to BBC Radio 4. I shouldn't because the medical stories, with their constant oversimplification of healthcare issues, set my temperature rising. Rather than blow a fuse I flick over to Virgin Radio, a station proud of its white-van-man image, but at least it occasionally plays the Jam or REM.

    To my surprise, early one morning I found myself nodding in agreement with one of Radio 4's health stories. According to “medical experts,” music makes patients feel better. Rocket science, I thought. But my joy evaporated as, in an apparent bid to prove this revolutionary new theory, “top scientists” had commissioned violinists to play on hospital wards. I was bemused and wondered how this had ever got past the ethics committee, for clearly this was medical torture—I hate classical music.

    This is not inverted snobbery or political posturing, as I have tried to get into classical music. To my shame we even played Mozart to our daughter while she was in the womb, being assured by “research” that it would improve her intelligence quotient. Ten years later, she gives me the double loser sign as she blasts out McFly and Busted from her bedroom. Rock me, Amadeus.

    Music therapy is clearly an international conspiracy by the middle classes whose educational imperialism is seeking to control the musically illiterate masses. It is time for doctors as legitimate advocates of the people to speak out in protest. All you soon to retire consultants on your pensionable merit awards must never forget Elvis, the Beatles, and the Stones. Wake up you spoilt and whining baby boomers and remember Woodstock. Get angry, all you Bowie fans, and go get your eyeliner and sequins. Help us, you pyjama wearing punks. Even you sad Spandau Ballet and Duran Duran wannabes, with your silly big hair and blouses, can help by screaming about the injustice so that even the now deaf heavy metal fan doctors might hear us. Ravers, put down your whistles, take off your shell suits, and drop the fake Mancunian accents, as we need your help too. Even you revoltingly spotty Eminem fans from your “ghetto” public schools must help. Let us all join together.

    Roll over Beethoven, tell Tchaikovsky the news, music therapy I'm a-givin' you my warnin' you desperately need some rhythm and blues.

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