Avera Medical Minute: The power of music; Avera Prairie Center's concert series begins

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KSFY) - Music has always evoked the senses, from singing along with friends while driving, to listening to a song to calm the nerves.

Through the Avera McKennan Foundation, Avera's Prarie Center hosts concert series throughout the year, giving both patients and medical staff a happier and healthier environment. Helping to provide healing through the power of music.

You might not expect to find live music in a hospital. But, people at Avera say it's just part of a patient recovery plan.

"It's a non-invasive form of treatment, which is very different from the treatment forms we typically think of in health care," Bianca Hamilton, a music therapist at Avera, said.

She says music does some wonderful things such as lower heart rate and lower blood pressure.

"It also can lower perceptions of pain, as well as, stress," she said. "It also provides an opportunity for emotional expression, as well as, providing meaningful experiences with others."

For musician Jacob Daniel, performing in this concert series at the Avera Prarie Center means more than just strumming his guitar.

"Something like this has a really special place in my heart because just with my own family stories, as far as, my dad's battle with cancer," he said. "He was diagnosed with cancer back in 2009. And so, he's been going just through ups and downs with that over years. And so, just understanding that there's people here, not just the patients but the doctors and nurses, the medical staff that needs to hear a hopeful message on a daily basis."

Daniel says being able to share a hopeful message and connect with others is a blessing.

"Anytime you get to not just sing songs, but share the stories behind the songs I think that just brings a different meaning to the songs that people are listening to," he said. "So, anytime it's a more intimate situation it's always something that I enjoy."

And that's music to the ears of Avera doctors.

"It's really opened my mind and my heart to the beautiful things this world has to offer, even in times of stress and times of difficulty," Hamilton said.
"And I feel very privileged to work with these patients and families during a time of vulnerability. And music is such a great gift that this world has to offer and I do believe that music unites two souls in a beautiful transcendental way."