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News Archive - Progress Newsletter Fall 2000 Online

Sounds of Healing: 88 Keys Program

For centuries, health professionals have known of the beneficial relationship between music and healing.

Recent studies at Case Western, Rutgers and the University of Wisconsin have underscored the power of music to heal. The U-M Cancer Center's Healing Arts Program continues to bring together professionals within the Center and in the community to further learn about and apply integrative medicine techniques to the care of our patients. One key area of the program is music.

The Nagels have long understood music's ability to communicate. Louis, a professor in the U-M Music School, and Julie, a doctor of psychology in private practice, met as students at The Juilliard School. Both are well known in the local and international music scene. Louis' concert schedule takes him around the world, while Julie is a frequent speaker on the psychological aspects of composers and their work.

What is the 88 Keys Program?
The underlying idea is that buying a piano for the Center is a group affair. Of the piano's 88 keys, 34 keys (as of this writing) have been purchased to recognize a loved one or simply help fund the piano. A donation of $175 to the Cancer Center's 88 Keys Program purchases a key. The honoree's name is then added to a handmade, designer quilt displayed in the Cancer Center.

Both Louis and Julie lost parents to cancer, so when they heard that the Cancer Center wanted to offer music, they became active partners to help purchase a piano. Louis and Julie know that music helps reduce anxiety and stress, and provides tranquil moments for people while they are in the Center. Together they are spearheading a program called "88 Keys."

The underlying idea is that buying a piano for the Center is a group affair. Of the piano's 88 keys, 34 keys (as of this writing) have been purchased to recognize a loved one or simply help fund the piano. A donation of $175 to the Cancer Center's 88 Keys Program purchases a key. The honoree's name is then added to a handmade, designer quilt displayed in the Cancer Center. One generous donor remarked that the 88 Keys Program is a great way to honor her mother who had loved to play the piano all her life and who recently died from a stroke.

Meanwhile, the shiny black, Yamaha baby grand sits on Level B1 of the Cancer Center. Sara Savarino, from King's Keyboard House, graciously delivered the piano prior to our fundraising efforts. Louis, Professor Jerry DePuit, Dr. Joe Graziano and other piano performance volunteers attest to the beauty of its sound. Patients say that the piano's music echoes throughout the Center, helping them feel more connected and enhancing their quality of life. Staff members note that the music provides an antidote to stress. They notice that patients smile more. One patient said, "It's like a sound massage."

If you want to play a leadership role and have your generosity and commitment echo throughout the Cancer Center for years to come, contact Cancer Center Development at 734-998-6893. Just be sure to mark your contribution for the piano or 88 Keys.

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