When I was a little girl, and even into my early teens, I wanted to be a doctor. My interest in medicine coincided with my interest in music and the beginning of my lifelong learning to play the violin. I never did become a doctor, but I have continued to be fascinated by medicine and drawn to its practice. Yet I have always played the violin both on my own and in amateur orchestras wherever I've lived. Music and medicine, then, have been the unlikely backdrop to everything else I've ever done.
But actually, it is not really that unlikely at all. As it happens, doctors are very often musicians as well. Indeed, all of the orchestras I have been involved with have been littered with doctors, to the extent that one orchestra I played with we affectionately nicknamed JODO -- the Jewish and Oriental Doctors Orchestra. This connection is well documented, but the question that I keep wondering about is why? What is it about music and medicine that attracts the same personality types, the same brains? I don't have the answers to this yet, but I thought I'd bring it up now because this week I head back up to Ireland and the retreat Anam Cara, my artistic home away from home. And while I am there, I will be thinking about this connection as I do one more read through of my next Cambodian novel, a story which will introduce a new character who's own life is permeated by these two passions. This novel is the first time I've written about music, albeit as a secondary, or even tertiary theme. But as I fight back the already encroaching ideas for the last in my Cambodian trilogy, I know that music will continue to play a part in that book as well.
A recent TED talk focussed on this connection between music and medicine, and specifically the therapeutic role music can play in a variety of illnesses. While I'm in Ireland I expect that my blogging will become a bit sporadic, so I thought I'd share this talk with you now by Robert Gupta, both the talk and the beautiful violin playing which precedes and follows it. I hope you enjoy it, and I'll see you later.