'As always, it was sheer pleasure to observe Robin Hill's remarkable fluent technique: everything looks easy when he plays it.' Colin Cooper- Classical Guitar Magazine ----- 'Wonderful for their (Hill & Wiltschinsky) precision, touch and clarity of sound... refined virtuosity, the achievement of a long interpretive process.' Il Giornale D'Italia (Rome) ----- 'I loved your CD and thought your technique and performance were fabulous...' Rick Wakeman

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Organ Donation Awareness to Mood Changing Music

Blogcatalog are running a 'Community Organ Donation Awareness Campaign', which, as the title suggests, plans to highlight the need for more organs for transplantation.
For more information on the UK statistics visit 'UK Transplant'.
How does this fit in with the life of a classical musician you may ask?
Well I'll tell you.

We have first hand experience of the benefits of organ donation.
A very significant person in our lives was lucky enough to be one of the few on the waiting list to receive a new heart.
As you can imagine this was preceded by years of failing health and distress to all concerned.

The 'call' from the hospital informing us a match had been found was equally difficult to comprehend.
Hospitals have strict assessments for anyone on a waiting list, as they have to be able to cope with not only the physical strains of the procedure, but also the emotional ones.

After many tense hours, the operation was completed, but it was a few days until the worry started to subside.
It's actually quite amazing how quickly someone recovers, and within a few weeks, are back at home in a much better state of health than prior to the operation.

Robin was obviously involved with the whole event. Regular visiting, boosting moral, and generally supporting the rest of the family, not to mention continuing his performing career and looking after son number one, as we went through this stage of our lives.
One thing that remained at the front of all our minds was the 'gift of life' we had been given - literally. We had the pleasure of Tony's company for seven more years, it would only have been days or possibly a few weeks at most without the transplant.

The donor family were, and still are, often in our thoughts.
This is a difficult concept for anyone to deal with.
Their loss was our gain. But we never forgot that.
Little information is given about donors, but we did know that it was a 19 year old boy.
The strange thing is, that Tony suddenly developed a liking for pizza, which he had never previously enjoyed.
I've heard of other cases where likes and dislikes change. So I hope that donors can take some comfort from the fact that part of their loved one very definitely lives on.

But could musical taste also be altered. We know from research that music can most certainly affect mood. There's a very interesting article by Nic Fleming discussing just this. Listening to music releases dopamine which results in a sense of happiness. You can read the article here.

Can musical memories be passed on? I'd love to be able to give you an answer to that one and tell you that Tony suddenly developed a taste for rap music, but as I don't know the musical tastes of the donor, and, Tony had a hugely eclectic taste anyway, I'm afraid I can't say.

Suffice to say that making more organs available for transplants can only be a good thing. And music, well all the surgeons I know, play music in the operating theatre to aid their relaxation. This can be anything from Meatloaf to Beethoven...
Tony's surgeon listened to Oscar Peterson for his operation...

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