Surgical Serenity Jazz Playlist is Creating “Buzz”


As soon as I wrote that title, I thought “Hmmm…maybe people could misinterpret that “buzz” word.  Of course what I’m talking about is that our Jazz playlists for surgery is getting lots of acclaim.  A lady contacted me last night saying that she had begun to run a low-grade fever and was feeling puny and depressed about the Covid-19 virus.  She decided to download one of the Serenity playlists and said that she couldn’t believe how soothing and comforting it was!  I wish I had recorded the phone call because she mentioned several things like “better than Valium” and how the saxophone just carried her to a whole different place where everything was beautiful and healthy and optimistic.  This was really exciting for me to hear because the Jazz Playlist is the only one that I specifically commissioned for Surgical Serenity since Jazz is not  style that I play.  Dozens have people have told me that they really do love it and that it is a “Go-To” when anxiety hits!  To get a download of the playlist, go to

Speaking to Drs about the power of rhythmic entrainment.

The instruments in this playlist are Piano, Saxophone, String Bass, and light drums with brushes.  The musicians are all international Jazz professionals with 30+ years experience each.  No wonder it turned out so well!  But the real key to why all of playlists work so well is that ingredient of rhythmic entrainment.  An article in “Science Direct” quotes these facts about rhythmic entrainment from:

Rhythmic entrainment as a musical affect induction mechanism

Rhythmic entrainment represents an affect induction mechanism.

Rhythmic entrainment occurs on the perceptual, autonomic, motor, and social level.

The basal ganglia play a key role in the link of rhythmic entrainment and affect.

Rhythmic entrainment supposedly induces positive valence and social dispositions.


One especially important feature of metrical music is that it contains periodicities that listeners’ bodily rhythms can adapt to. Recent psychological frameworks have introduced the notion of rhythmic entrainment, among other mechanisms, as an emotion induction principle. In this review paper, we discuss rhythmic entrainment as an affect induction mechanism by differentiating four levels of entrainment in humans—perceptual, autonomic physiological, motor, and social—all of which could contribute to a subjective feeling component. We review the theoretical and empirical literature on rhythmic entrainment to music that supports the existence of these different levels of entrainment by describing the phenomena and characterizing the associated underlying brain processes. The goal of this review is to present the theoretical implications and empirical findings about rhythmic entrainment as an important principle at the basis of affect induction via music, since it rests upon the temporal dimension of music, which is a specificity of music as an affective stimulus.

So, although I certainly didn’t invent or discover rhythmic entrainment, Surgical Serenity Solutions was the first company to apply these principles to the surgical experience!  Get these playlists NOW at

Please let me know your questions or comments!



Research study on Surgical Serenity Solution slated for publication


Anyone who works in the medical field or deals with any kind of medical procedure or device, knows how very important it is to document scientifically that the device works as all of the claims say it does.  For the past almost five years, a study has been in progress at the VA hospital here in Louisville, KY, on our Surgical Serenity headphones.  The study was a double-blind study with a music group and a control group.  At this point, I’m not free to divulge the details, but they are very positive and exciting!  Once our study is published, then we are hoping to get lots of publicity and news articles in medical journals and media of all kinds.

Before we began creating this amazing process, we knew that there was already ample research documenting not only the benefits of music in surgery, but also documenting the many ways that music affects the mind and body.  To me it was a fairly short step to apply the process of rhythmic entrainment to the relaxation response.  Then the idea of having cordless (not wireless!) headphones that could be pre-programmed with the ideal music to elicit the relaxation response through rhythmic entrainment was the gift that popped into my head.

The next step was patenting my idea and the steps to the process.  Although there have been hundreds of subsequent steps, we felt that having an official scientific study would be critical to having our Surgical Serenity Solution taken seriously by medical professionals.  While we have waited for the study to be completed, we have sold the headphones to individuals around the world and gotten lots of great feedback and suggestions.

There are different versions and different playlists in the pipeline but we need to have a few secrets and surprises for you!  Stay tuned for the next exciting updates!


Study: Music helps colonoscopy patients tune out test anxiety


While few people will rank a colonoscopy as a favorite medical procedure, one statistic argues clearly in its favor: a 90 percent cure rate in colon cancers caught at an early stage.

Benjamin Krevsky, a professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and director of gastrointestinal endoscopy at Temple University Hospital, found that when patients undergoing a colonoscopy listened to music, they required less sedation. (Photo by Ryan S. Brandenberg / University Photography)

Still, patients often approach the test with a mixture of dread and anxiety. Despite sedation, people fear discomfort, and often put off the appointment.

To address this common problem, doctors have added an extra ingredient: music.

A new study reveals that patients who plug into their favorite tunes during a colonoscopy procedure may be able to relax enough to require less sedation, without sacrificing comfort. Results of the double-blind study by doctors at Temple University in Philadelphia were presented at this year’s American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy national meeting.

Their findings align with other research that has shown music reduces anxiety before surgical procedures. Such promising results have led several hospitals around the country to begin studies on how music affects health.

In the colonoscopy study, researchers asked 44 female and 29 male subjects to either bring music from home or choose from a selection of available CDs. Before the procedure, ear buds were taped to all of the participants’ ears and volume set to be audible to only the patient.

After the patient received his or her initial dose of medication, an investigator opened a randomized envelope to see if the music selections would be played. Following the colonoscopy, the attending doctor, fellow and nurse evaluated pain, anxiety and comfort levels for each patient. A non-participating medical provider conducted a second, later interview.

Results revealed that those who listened to music required less sedation (3.8 mg of midazolam vs. 4.4 mg, and 87 mcg of fentanyl vs. 93 mcg) yet reported the same comfort levels as those receiving the higher amounts.

The reductions, equal to about one less dose of medication, are considered clinically significant, according to Benjamin Krevsky, M.D., M.P.H., the lead author of the study, who is a professor of medicine at Temple University School of Medicine and director of gastrointestinal endoscopy at Temple University Hospital.

“It’s true that many patients don’t like the procedure,” said Krevsky, “but many find that the preparation for the test is worse than the test itself.”

Co-investigator Kevin Skole, M.D., who was a gastroenterology fellow at Temple, had the original idea for the study. Krevsky too was inspired when a dentist handed him ear buds to listen to music during a dental procedure.

“Over all, colonoscopies are very, very safe,” Krevsky said. “And while the risks of sedatives are relatively small, in general, less medication is always better.”

Krevsky also notes the decreased drug dose may translate into reduced healthcare costs.

Most of the participants picked gospel tunes, but the type of music didn’t appear to make a difference.

“Offering music makes sense,” Krevsky said. “It has no downside, it may prove beneficial, and patients appear to be satisfied with the procedure.”

All of which may add up to less anxiety and more colonoscopies.

By Ilene Raymond

For Temple Health Sciences PR


More about the live music surgery research!


An eye surgeon in Hawaii has reported the results of a delightful study in which he played live classical piano music to some of his patients in the operating room before surgery.
In the “preoperative holding area”, patients’ heart rates were measured along with their blood pressure and respiratory rate. Some of the patients then underwent conventional eye surgery, the noise of hospital machinery their only entertainment. Others were told that their surgeon would be playing them live piano music when they entered theatre, before they were sedated for their operation.
Those in the non-music group showed an increase in heart rate and other signs of anxiety when they were in theatre. But the anxiety rates of those in the “musical surgeon”‘ group showed a beneficial decrease in the operating room. Any patient who has been in an operating theatre will know that it is no easy matter to feel less anxious there than in the waiting room, so this result seems inspiring.
Recorded music is often played in operating theatres, but I had never heard of live music being played. “No complications occurred during or after surgery due to the presence of a piano in the OR”, the study notes drily. The surgeon played relaxing, melodious music in a gently flowing tempo. Were the patients responding only to the music, or to the fact that their own surgeon was playing it? As the study speculates, “this may have added a further level of confidence in his surgical skill.”
I’m a classical pianist and, in the thoroughly non-medical setting of the concert hall, I’ve been struck by how often audience members confide that they have experienced some kind of beneficial effect on their wellbeing or state of health. All kinds of music can be beneficial, but I believe there is something about classical music which makes it specially effective, and I think its therapeutic effects could be more widely harnessed.
The long spans of the music, the interplay of melody and harmony, the complex structure, the low volume levels, the absence of amplification, the subtlety of its rhythms – all these are conducive to a pleasurable meditative state at the very least. Moreover, the sight and sound of music being made near you, and for you, can be profoundly affecting.
Having musicians and instruments in an operating theatre presents some tricky hygiene issues. Nevertheless my instinct tells me that live music must be more effective than recorded. I believe that the brain can distinguish between live and electronically reproduced music, and that live music is mysteriously more potent. If it reduces the need for sedation, and makes the patient feel calmer, it must be worth exploring the path outlined by the Hawaii experiment.


Music in the Hawaiian OR…continued!


(See the previous post for the intro to this article.)

Eye-surgery patient Benjamin Semana went to sleep under anesthesia yesterday listening to Dr. Samuel Wong, the Honolulu Symphony’s outgoing music director, play Bach and Beethoven on an electric piano in the operating room.
Medical benefits of music
What: Pan-Pacific Conference on Music and HealingWho: Distinguished speakers and performersWhen: 2 to 6 p.m. tomorrow at the new John A. Burns School of Medicine at Kakaako, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Neal S. Blaisdell Concert Hall. Suggested donation: $100 per person.Sponsor: Dr. Samuel Wong’s Global Music Healing Institute
The unique, musical setup at the St. Francis Medical Center-Liliha is part of the hospital’s new Laser Tear Duct Center, which will be used for all kinds of eye surgery.
Wong, who is also an ophthalmologist, stopped playing to observe Dr. Jorge G. Camara perform laser surgery on Semana for a blocked tear duct. But the live piano performance continued with Dr. Arthur Harvey, University of Hawaii music professor and researcher, at the keyboard.
While Camara had help yesterday from guest musicians, he’s a classically trained pianist, as well as a surgeon, and he plans to play for patients while they undergo and awaken from anesthesia.
“I could hear it in the background,” Camara said after Semana’s operation. “It relaxed me. To have a live pianist is an awesome experience, and to have Dr. Wong by my side is incredible.”
The Laser Tear Duct Center was blessed yesterday by the Rev. Joe Specht, the hospital’s chaplain.
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