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Music brings a smile to the face of hospital children

03 February 2017

LSO Visit RLH Children 'sChildren at The Royal London Hospital were treated to an afternoon of musical fun when musicians from the London Symphony Orchestra (LSO) popped in to play.

Vanessa King and Julia O’Riordan from the LSO joined the hospital's children's play team to tour the wards and meet a group of children with retinoblastoma (cancer of the eye). The children and their families joined in with musical activities ranging from singing and playing percussion to listening and conducting the musician.

Nicola Cooper, whose son is a patient at The Royal London Hospital and who the LSO played for at his bedside, said: “I think the music is important as it breaks up the machine noises and is interactive, which is good. It brings a smile to your face.”

Tara Shea, children’s play team leader at The Royal London, explained: "The visits certainly brighten the day for children and their families, we're very grateful to the LSO. The wonderful music helps to calm anxious minds, promote movement and mobility through dance and the experience also helps teach children about instruments and sound. Play, just like learning to play an instrument, encourages children to ask questions and grow in confidence, which goes a long way to making them feel as comfortable as possible when in hospital."

The children's department tour was one of a number of musical visits made regularly by the LSO to various wards at hospitals run by Barts Health NHS Trust, including the older people's wards at Whipps Cross Hospital in Leytonstone. The LSO Discovery, the orchestra’s community and music education programme sees LSO players work in local communities around East London, reaching some 60,000 people per year.

Kathryn McDowell, LSO managing director, said: "It is a privilege for us to be able to bring the LSO’s music-making to the Royal London Hospital and our visits are always a particularly rewarding experience for our players. They respond to each individual child, giving back choice and control that the children rarely experience in hospital.”

Neesha Gobin from Vital Arts, who helped organise the hospital visits, said: "We are pleased to have supported the successful partnership between LSO and Barts Health NHS Trust. This is a partnership that has developed and evolved throughout the years. By encouraging creativity and fun within the wards, we have found that these sessions have helped to reduce anxiety and stress levels, not only for our younger patients, but also within their families.”

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Barts Health NHS Trust

With a turnover of £1.4 billion and a workforce of around 16,000, Barts Health is the largest NHS trust in the country, and one of Britain’s leading healthcare providers. The Trust’s five hospitals – St Bartholomew’s Hospital in the City, including the Barts Heart Centre, The Royal London Hospital in Whitechapel, Newham University Hospital in Plaistow, Whipps Cross University Hospital in Leytonstone and Mile End – deliver high quality compassionate care to the 2.5 million people of East London and beyond.


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