Andrew Schulman’s book

Updated on December 8, 2016 in General Discussion
8 on November 3, 2016

I know many of us are aware of Andrew’s story of his catastrophic illness.  His book “Waking the Spirit was released in August.  It’s a wonderful book I can whole heartedly recommend!  This is the review I wrote for amazon. 

“A must read book for anyone who has gone through or has a relative or friend who has gone through a catastrophic illness. That probably includes just about everyone. This is an amazing and well written book. From my own experience, knowing what Andrew is telling us in the book, this can be life saving. I went through a serious illness myself and have been email friends with Andrew for many years. I asked my wife to have my daughter load an iPod with a bunch of Bach. I knew Andrew’s story and wanted to listen to some uplifting music instead of depressing television. When I later wound up on life support for almost six weeks my wife made sure the ICU nurses would have my iPod charged and in my ears. I feel certain that knowing Andrew’s story is why I do not have any brain damage as a result of my illness and perhaps helped saved my life.

Do yourself and your loved ones too a favor by reading and understanding Andrew’s incredible story! It just might save your or a loved one’s life.”

 
What a great and extremely important work.  GREAT JOB ANDREW and thanks for writing it!!
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1 on November 3, 2016

Jim, glad to hear you managed through your serious illness.  A close family member was going through similar turmoil and Andrew helped me through the experience for which I could never thank him enough.

I’ve been trying to get a hold of Andrew to let him know we’re back.  His is a phenomenal story and the documentary accompanying the book release is a real perspective setter.  I found it still available … http://www.thirteen.org/programs/thirteen-specials/andrew-and-wendy/

I really highly very much recommend watching this.

His website has all the info on his works … http://www.abacaproductions.com/andrew.html

 

 

on November 3, 2016

Great to hear from both of you, and to see this forum back up and running again with a streamlined new look!!

Thanks also for the mentions of my book and the documentary film. The book is doing very well – the publisher has just committed to a paperback release next summer. We’ve had many excellent critical responses and some of the best of those have come from medical directors around the country who read the book and decided to start medical music programs in their intensive care units.

One update is that I mention in the book that I use the term “medical musician” to describe what I do, and that that is an informal term. It’s now a formal term; I started a once a month residency last January at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield, MA and I was appointed Medical Musician/Surgery Department. I’m still living in NY and hope to update very soon what I’m doing with medical music here.

Another new development is that Dr. Marvin McMillen and I (he led the Surgical ICU team that saved my life following surgical complications in July 2009, allowed me to return to his SICU as a musician, and wrote the Afterword to my book) have just founded the Critical Care Music Initiative. We’ll be doing our first workshops this summer to train people in how to do what he and I developed over the last seven years. Meaning musicians AND medical staff. We have our first five musicians already and they include two guitarists: Peter Argondizza and Eric Despard.

On Friday, November 11th, McMillen and I will be doing a presentation at the Expressive Therapies Summit in NYC, information here:

https://www.smore.com/0dcwa

Again, great to be back to the CGF!!

Andrew

 

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3 on November 3, 2016

Great to see you Andrew. You could very well be the first expert on medical musicianship!

on November 3, 2016

Thanks, Rob!

Before I get clobbered by drive-by shooters I’ll say I am most certainly not the first expert on medical musicianship! (The first was possibly Pythagoras. I give an overview of music in medicine in chapter seven of my book – the expert joining me there is Dr. Bryan Hunter, the official historian of the American Music Therapy Association.)

What I’ve done is develop a specialty in the field of Music & Medicine. The core profession of M&M, since 1950, is Music Therapy. There are various other specialties that continue to develop. In my area, a medical musician is not a separate department in a hospital setting. I am part of a medical department, for example at Berkshire Medical Center, where I am officially a member of the Surgery Department.

Andrew

 

on November 6, 2016

I am a Registered Nurse specializing in acute geriatric medicine, specifically dementia. When patients exhibit patterns of distress one of my general assessments is to find out what type of music they have enjoyed, what relaxes them or stimulates them. I ask that families bring in CDs, ipods to see if music can help create an environment of relaxation or stimulation. 

Individuals with dementia literally have a broken brain with many dead connections and signigificant brain volume loss. Fortunately, the limbic (emotional) system is deep within the brain and considered primordial and therefore emotions often remain intact. What triggers memories and emotions however can take a bit of guesswork as the person with dementia often can’t tell us about the stimulus that is causing them distress. One strategy is to use music as a positive stimulus which hopefully triggers a positive emotion and behaviour. This is known as the ABC theory (Affective (feeling) – Behaviour – Cognnitive (thinking)) or triune brain theory.

Having a good understanding what contributes to a sense of wellbeing (like music) can be critical to creating a healing environment yet it is often overlooked by medical personnel.  Its an area of health care I’m greatly interested in. I love that you’re part of a medical department and curious to know more about your work in medicine & music and how you incorporate into care for patients!

on November 6, 2016

When I first started doing this, at Beth Israel Medical Center in NY in January 2010, there was a little bit of skepticism. Same thing when I started my once-a-month residency in January 2016 at Berkshire Medical Center. Once nurses in a critical care unit see music change blood pressure from 160 to 125 in 20 minutes several times with no other factor involved, skepticism vanishes. (BTW, for anyone else reading this, it’s the nurses that you are primarily working with.) Same goes with stabilizing a patient with misfiring nerve synapses after brain surgery, or helping to bring a patient out of ICU Delirium. Etc. Medical environments are very unforgiving in one regard; if you’re not helping, you’re out of there.

There is quite a process to integrating and doing medical music. I mentioned the workshops that Dr. McMillen and I will begin doing this summer. One big change just made: the name of our organization will be The Medical Musician Initiative (not the CCMI that I mention in a previous post). We already have the first five musicians who will train with us. We also plan to have medical personnel doing this training. We have our first, a cardiologist who is also a jazz musician. If you are interested please contact me via email. Sounds like you’d be an ideal person for this.

Also, my book goes into a lot of specific detail. I have experts throughout the book – critical care doctors, neuroscientists, music therapists, musicians, etc. You’ll learn a lot about integrating music into medicine, especially in the chapter that gives an overview of what it’s like to be a musician in a critical care unit – Chapter Twelve: Just Don’t Kill the Patient.

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1 on December 8, 2016

I just saw Andrew’s book “Waking the Spirit was chosen as one of the three best books of 2016 by the Oliver Sacks Foundation.  Way to go Andrew and Congratulations!

If you haven’t read it yet I really do highly recommend it!  It would make a great Christmas present!

on December 8, 2016

Thanks again, Jim. I keep meaning to read it too but have a short term memory and just keep forgetting. Maybe this link will remind me:

http://us1.campaign-archive1.com/?u=51be0abff289ae72c868bd484&id=3677c25b16&e=91dab34366

 

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