Creating Connection Through Hospital Workshops

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

In 2016, I had the opportunity to be a part of the UW-Milwaukee Creative Trust. This trust was a group of students who were selected from the Peck School of the Arts to bring arts to local hospitals to help the local community. We created events, workshops, fundraisers, and other events as a part of this group.

The Workshop

1. Group of patients sit in a circle.

2. Passed out a pair of bongos to each patient.

3. Speak a rhythm.

4. Have group join me in saying the rhythm aloud.

5. Perform the rhythm on the bongos.

6. Have group join me in playing the rhythm on the bongos.

7. Repeat steps 3 through 6 with a new rhythm.

8. Split the group in half, playing both rhythms at the same time, creating a polyrhythm.

9. Have patients create their own rhythms and incorporate them into the polyrhythm structure we have created.

The Outcome

The interesting thing about this workshop is that many of the patients were skeptical of learning how to play an instrument. However, once they began playing they were interested enough to keep playing. I noticed that once the polyrhythm was created at step 8 the patients participated more.

Why It Is Important

Context in music is incredibly important in this workshop. When performing for other musicians I want to be accurate, when I perform for myself I want to be expressive, when I perform for opera/musicals/theater I want to aid in expressing whats on the stage, but what then is the goal of performing in a hospital?

The goal is...


Connecting to other people is one of the foundations of music. When we talk about music we try to connect with others by asking what type of music they like, when performing with other people communication is crucial, when listening to music we generally do so in group settings (concerts, parties, dancing, etc.). Connection is the foundation of what makes music valuable.

For patients who spend a majority of their time in hospital beds it can be difficult to feel connected to the world. Long hospital visits, speaking with hospital staff, fear of the future, and social isolation lead patients to feel disconnected from the world. Using music can help mend this connection and help patients reconnect with the world around them. If you have any questions about this workshop or would like more ideas for workshop ideas feel free to contact me.

About The Author


Musician / Music Educator

M 608-576-2455 E W

If you, or someone you know, is interested in drum set or percussion lessons in the Madison area. Please head on over to the Lessons page for more information on lessons with Sam! Online lessons are also available!

If you are interested in booking Sam for an event such as a wedding, business reception, or any other event in the Madison area. Please click on the Contact/Booking page for more information.

#percussion #bongos #music #healing #musi #therapy #using #context #masterclass #idea #teacing #teaching #effective

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