Upper School Student Creates Clinical Music Club to Serve Local Community

The mission of the Upper School clinical music club is to understand and raise awareness about the clinical benefits of music. 
Alexander Kim, a grade 12 student, launched the clinical music club serving local hospitals twice a month. The mission of the Upper School club is to understand and raise awareness about the clinical benefits of music. 
The club primarily works with senior living and assisted living centers like Brookdale and Ivy Park where students frequently visit and perform. They also work with Children’s Hospital of Orange County (CHOC), and City of Hope Orange County. At City of Hope, Alexander works with Dr. Richard Lee, the Director of Integrative Oncology and the Cherong Family Center for Integrative Oncology. Alexander spent six weeks this past summer observing in the integrative medicine clinic and learned how patients with cancer benefit from holistic approaches like music.

Music benefits memory and cognition. In describing the power of music and how it affects the brain, Alexander explains, “As a performer, I’ve experienced the powers of music all my life, but I never really questioned it before. Why did I feel so relaxed while singing? Why do babies respond so well to Mozart? Why did we blast music in the locker room before a game? I looked into it more, and I realized how much music overlapped with cognition and the physiological processes. Many find listening to music relaxing and comforting.”
Alexander created the clinical music club to utilize science and the arts to implement health benefits while providing musical entertainment. He wanted to create a club to bring together a community of like-minded musicians who implement science into their craft. He reached out to Upper School student, Sophia Kistler, who had a similar passion for the cross-section of music and health. Adela Kwan, director of choral music, agreed to sponsor the Upper School club. The clinical music club members include 20 Upper School student musicians, and they are tasked with strategies such as brainstorming set lists and deciding which instruments will make the experience more enjoyable for everyone. 
“Clinical music has been such an excellent opportunity for club members to learn and practice performing in a safe environment,” said sophomore Mac Ullem, one of the club’s leaders. “The club is so lucky to have such talented members. I hope to continue helping the club progress and find more opportunities to spread everyone’s talents and help everyone that clinical music can.”
The clinical music club prepares the setlists to include music that is geared to the older patients in order to stimulate the brain. The club often performs before dinner time to take full advantage of the benefits of music helping increase mood, sociability and coordination to name a few.
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