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Zucker-Hillside Hospital Employees Make Music Together

We learn so many things at work –from working with patients and families and learning new skills to continuing our practical and professional development. But would you expect to learn how to play guitar?

Thanks to an innovative program conceived by Executive Director Joe Schulman, that’s exactly what a group of employees at The Zucker-Hillside Hospital (ZHH) have been doing!

Mr. Schulman was looking to find ways to bring groups of employees together to do something fun and a little different.  And of course, he was inspired by music! More specifically, the music of Michael Dwyer, Associate Executive Director of ZHH.

An accomplished musician, Mr. Dwyer happily accepted the challenge of teaching hospital employees how to play the guitar. They decided to open up an eight-week class.  The hospital purchased guitars for the employees to learn and practice with, even at home. The hospital thought that the program would be well-received, but had no idea what a hit it would be!

The invitation was open to all employees, regardless of skill level. In a short amount of time, a group of about seven employees were meeting weekly, working on the basics. The class participants included representatives from Inpatient and Outpatient services, Administration, the residency program, the medical library, and the departments of Social Work and Psych Rehab.

But what Mr. Dwyer really enjoyed was not only seeing his students’ progression, but the weekly discussions the group would have about the history of music and its impact on culture. “It was a real treat to share this with the staff.”

By the end of the eight-week class, students were able to perform a portion of Beethoven’s  “Ode to Joy.” Listen to them perform in this short clip:

While this musical season has ended, The Zucker-Hillside Hospital expects to continue with this program as well as other employee engagement activities associated with the arts.  These plans are designed to encourage a broad cross section of participants, and include the creation of a vocal chorus.

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