Eman Al Hashemi performs for patients at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City Hospital. She played her own composition in the hour-long performance held as part of the Abu Dhabi Festival. Image Credit: Ahmed Kutty/Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Live music performances are taking place in hospitals across the country to allow patients, staff and visitors to be part of the Abu Dhabi Festival, which runs until April 30.

The Music In Hospitals initiative saw patients, hospital staff and visitors from a range of backgrounds, from young infants to parents and grandparents, gather at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City Hospital on Monday to enjoy a rare occasion of live music at the hospital’s grounds.

Organised by Abu Dhabi Festival, the hour-long performance started by Eman Al Hashemi on the piano, who played her own composition, followed by Mohammad Al Awadi playing the guitar.

Dr Mufeed Raoof, consultant psychiatrist at Shaikh Khalifa Medical City Hospital, explained to Gulf News the importance of live music for patients.

“This is what we call therapeutic music, live music in health-care services facilities to achieve a number of goals, mainly to improve the state of well-being of the patient and to improve their mood. If it is used in more focused-based programmes, it will even improve their appetite, their concentration, their response to treatment and it has even proved that it improves the immune system response.”

Speaking about the Music In Hospitals initiative, he said, “This is a short period of time, so it will not achieve all that but at least it will improve their spirits and moodsand it will take them away, just for a minute, from the environment of the hospital — just seeing doctors, nurses and injections — and now they can listen to some music, and it’s live music.”

“It helps them reinforce their state of well-being. I am a human being, I am not a disease. At times I would like to listen to music and take medication at the same time,” he added.

Other performances as part of the initiative include Abu Dhabi’s Imperial College London Diabetes Centre (April 6) and at the RAK Hospital (April 7) in Ras Al Khaimah.

Abu Dhabi Festival is organised by Abu Dhabi Music and Arts Foundation and will run until April 30. It is the largest cultural festival in the region and will include a range of events including film and literature, visual arts, performing arts and family events. For more information visit www.abudhabifestival.ae