Hospital piano project brings people together

KIARA BLINCO

The Gold Coast University Hospital has introduced a baby grand piano into their main foyer in an effort to bring people together through music.

Cardiac scientist Braden Dinham

Cardiac scientist Braden Dinham is one of the staff members bringing people together through music at the Gold Coast University Hospital. Photo: Courtesy Gold Coast Health

 

The piano was brought to the hospital in March as part of The Creative Health Hub’s Piano Project and is now being used to create a welcoming environment for staff, patients and visitors.

Piano Project director and music therapist Maddie Bridgland said she understood the profound impact music could have on people, which was why she wanted to start the project.

The instrument has also prompted the creation of a “piano club” at the hospital, which currently consists of 10 staff members and five volunteer musicians.

The club members are the only ones who play the baby grand piano in the foyer, and they do it on a rotating roster, providing music to the hospital’s staff and visitors.

But the baby grand is not the only piano in the hospital; there is another piano located in the “book nook” area, which is available to be played by anyone, including members of the public.

Queensland Conservatorium graduate Oscar Wong is one of the volunteer musicians in the piano club.

He also happens to be a talented pianist and spends his spare time at home teaching others to play the instrument.

“This is much more intimate than what I’m used to, but I enjoy it and I really hope I can make people happy with my music,” Mr Wong said.

Piano club volunteer Oscar Wong

Piano club volunteer Oscar Wong shows off his piano skills in the Gold Coast University Hospital’s main foyer as part of the Piano Project. Photo: Kiara Blinco

 

Mr Wong has won various awards for his musical talent, including a scholarship to perform in France, but unfortunately had to return home sooner than anticipated due to COVID-19.

“I won the scholarship through Griffith University and I hope to return to Paris when coronavirus is gone,” he said.

However, he said he would continue to teach his students and play in the piano club at GCUH at least once a week until he can focus on his scholarship again.

“We have regular patients coming here for treatments [and] the piano creates a less sterile environment for them to enjoy and actually look forward to coming to,” Ms Bridgland said.

“We let the public play [the piano] in a more secluded and controlled environment to ensure people get the best experience possible when they enter the main foyer,” Ms Bridgland said.

She said having live music in the hospital was good for the morale for both staff members and visitors.

The next step for The Piano Project is to expand to Robina Hospital to help promote a more stress-free atmosphere there.

“We’re hoping to go [to Robina] soon, so if anyone knows of someone who has a piano that they want to get rid of, I will take it off their hands,” Ms Bridgland said.

In the meantime, if you have a hankering for some live piano music, drop by the Gold Coast University Hospital’s main foyer or visit the “book nook”.

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