What can medicine learn from Musicians?
Frank Davidoff, of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, thinks that doctors can learn a lot more from musicians than the enjoyment and relaxation that their performances can give us. Last year, in the Annals of Internal Medicine (http://www.annals.org/content/154/6/426.full) he analysed the disciplines and attributes of the professional musician, which he suggests could and should be shared by the best professional ‘medicians’. He listed them as Performance, Coaching, Stardom, Talent, Time, Art, Practice, Teamwork, Repertoire, and Specialisation. I’ll not presume to try and précis his short paper, I hope you will read it. I will only say that I wish he had concentrated on fewer headings, as in some he strains to carry the comparison, while in others I feel that he has some useful lessons.
Others have taken up his idea. Prof. Ves Dimov, an immunologist at the University of Chicago, and deep-dyed, Deep Purple fan, has described a recent concert by his heroes, the semi-geriatric band (total age 315 years) whose hard rock anthems include “Smoke on the Water”. They continue to tour, already to Russia, with Europe later this year, and are about to make a new album. Ves thinks they epitomise the Davidoff criteria of musicianship – but then he is a fan!
and, if you are inspired to sit at the feet of the Masters:
But I’m disappointed that both Davidoff and Dimov reference Malcolm Gladwell and his 10,000 hours rule. In his 2008 book, Outliers, Gladwell analysed highly successful people and groups, and concluded that for anyone, 10,000 hours need be spent perfecting their art or craft. That he used as evidence the Beatles’ two years in Hamburg where they played, he calculated, in excess of that time, is a pure, self-fulfilling prediction. That they passed the examination of public approval doesn’t mean that hundreds of other groups didn’t study just as hard, and medics have a less fickle exam board to satisfy.