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Helping patients heal at Eskenazi Health during Black Music Month

Helping patients heal at Eskenazi Health during Black Music Month

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Arts with a Purpose at Eskenazi Health commemorated Black Music Month by using the arts to create positive change, social awareness, and inclusivity in the Circle City.

Pianist Reggie Bishop with Arts with a Purpose said, “My parents had a really strong background in music. I also had the opportunity to play with some of Indianapolis’ great jazz musicians like Alonzo ‘Pookie’ Johnson and Russell Webster when I was a kid.”

Music enthusiasts and professionals with Arts with A Purpose paid homage to rich African traditions that influenced jazz, hip-hop, R&B, and rock and roll. President Jimmy Carter established Black Music Month in 1979; the observance is reaffirmed annually by presidential proclamation.

“African Americans have contributed a lot to the culture landscape of America and helped shaped the country, and influenced an entire world,” Bishop said.

Each week this June, Black artists are featured performers at Eskenazi Health through the Marianne Tobias Music Program. It’s an effort to facilitate distraction from pain and reduce anxiety in patients.

Allegra Hein, arts and engagement coordinator for the Marianne Tobias Music Program, said, “There is research that suggests that just listening to live music can have a health impact, a positive health impact, and just an increase in dopamine to make people happier.”

Bishop performs jazz music, which he says is important to acknowledge. “There’s a fast-paced growth in the African American music culture.”

Bishop said that the music is “not only understanding your heritage, but it’s also about keeping the tradition of music alive, especially jazz.”

While preserving sounds of Black music, Black artists are continually advancing the music world.

guitarist for Arts with a Purpose, Wolff von Roos. “It’s gone from like the typical jazz sound to more of a way modern day, feel the groove, kind of thing,” says guitarist for Arts with a Purpose, Wolff von Roos.