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Table of Contents
Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 873-875

Rock 'n roll doctor

Sr. Director, Medical Affairs, Thermo Fisher Scientific, South San Francisco, California, USA

Date of Submission11-Oct-2020
Date of Acceptance21-Oct-2020
Date of Web Publication25-Dec-2020

Correspondence Address:
Manoj Gandhi
6097 Alpine Blue Drive, San Ramon, California, 94582
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CRST.CRST_318_20

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How to cite this article:
Gandhi M. Rock 'n roll doctor. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:873-5

How to cite this URL:
Gandhi M. Rock 'n roll doctor. Cancer Res Stat Treat [serial online] 2020 [cited 2021 Jan 21];3:873-5. Available from: https://www.crstonline.com/text.asp?2020/3/4/873/304988

The article by Ramaswamy titled, “Music as a bed 'rock' of relaxation and awe” focuses on music as a means of calm, temperance, and relaxation for a student going through medical school and residency.[1] I quickly realized how the 18-month long medical academic year was too long for me to remember what I learned at the beginning of the year. There was an opportunity for me to do something different and get my mind off the constant pressure of academics. Listening to music and reading the “Metal Hammer” rock magazine quickly turned into a passion to become a musician with the self-understanding that I was able to pivot to academics when the time arose.

  Playing Music as a Focused Diversion From Academics Top

Listening to music from a “playing” point of view, requires selective attention, auditory memory, pitch discrimination, and precise timing.[2],[3] Selective attention involves training the brain to recognize very specific patterns in a complex environment. While the bass guitar is one of the least conspicuous instruments to an average listener, to a bass guitarist, selective attention makes the bass pattern predominant enough to overshadow the vocals and drums. One cannot perform an act if one is not able to memorize, and instead of just listening to music for pleasure, playing music forces the brain to memorize. Music performance also requires pitch control and precise timing of multiple hierarchical actions. When one is paying attention to these finer details, it creates a diversion that results in automatic psychological decompression from the academic pressure of the medical school.

  Presentations and Performance Anxiety Top

Medical school and residency do not offer enough opportunities to present in front of large audiences. For many, the extent of presenting in front of an audience might be a case report at an internal department presentation. Performing live coupled with the pressure to perform well while the audience is listening for a possible error provides ample opportunities to overcome the disempowering impact of performance anxiety. It also allows opportunities for the growth of one's emotional intelligence (EQ). In a live show, often things may not go as rehearsed and one must quickly adapt and make split second decisions. These situations are difficult to simulate, and exposure to real-life situations, such as live performances, are the best ways to cultivate EQ.

  Social aspect of music Top

Making music in a group teaches one valuable life lessons such as teamwork and is shown to increase communication, coordination, cooperation, and empathy between in-group members.[4] It also broadens one's network beyond one's immediate profession. Musicians that once were your bandmates may someday go on to become successful artists in the music and movie industry. However, the music that laid the foundation keeps those networks candid and sincere.

  Window of Opportunity in Medical School Top

There are sensitive periods of brain development during which different stimuli and experiences can create windows of opportunity for learning.[5] Learning music is complex and multidimensional and involves auditory perception, memorization, motor skills, and motivation. Playing drums requires training the brain to “discoordinate” movements of the four limbs such that they function as independent units. The time period through medical school provides the right window of opportunity when one is self-motivated, yet the brain is plastic enough to learn an instrument.

  Is Medicine a Performing Art? Top

Imagine a surgeon “performing” an operation. The journey of the surgeon started with dissecting out the different organs in anatomy, focusing and practicing his/her craft through residency, and then working with the team to execute in the operating room. Similarly, a musician must dissect out the different instruments in a song, practice the patterns, and put it together with the band at a show.

Manoj “Docstar” Gandhi, played as a drummer with several bands such as Mayhem, Greek (Pralay), In Voices, Hush, Angel Dust and other projects while in medical school (Seth G. S. Medical College, Mumbai) and through residency (T. N. Medical College, Mumbai). Currently, he is a molecular pathologist and the Senior Medical Director at Thermo Fisher Scientific, San Francisco, California and still pursues his passion for drumming with local bands in the Bay Area.

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Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Ramaswamy A. Music as a bed 'rock' of relaxation and awe. Cancer Res Stat Treat 2020;3:421-3.  Back to cited text no. 1
  [Full text]  
Peretz I, Zatorre RJ. Brain organization for music processing. Annu Rev Psychol 2005;56:89-114.  Back to cited text no. 2
Zatorre RJ, Chen JL, Penhune VB. When the brain plays music: auditory-motor interactions in music perception and production. Nat Rev Neurosci 2007;8:547-58.  Back to cited text no. 3
Koelsch S. Towards a neural basis of music-evoked emotions. Trends Cogn Sci 2010;14:131-7.  Back to cited text no. 4
Knudsen EI. Sensitive periods in the development of the brain and behavior. J Cogn Neurosci. 2004;16:1412-25.  Back to cited text no. 5


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