JUDITH: Our moderator today is President Skorton of Cornell University.
DAVID SKORTON: [INAUDIBLE] call Bobby McFerrin.
I would've voted for zero of me and another hour of [INAUDIBLE]. It's her fault.
JUDITH: It's my fault. Let's pretend it's my fault. But David Skorton is a medical researcher by profession and is now president of Cornell but also is an amateur jazz saxophone player. He crosses over to the dark side once in a while.
And we are also joined by three of his colleagues from the medical college, two on either side here. I'll introduce them first Dr. Richard Kogan and Dr. David Shapiro. Among their other disciplines, they are both psychiatrists. But they also are co-directors of the now two-year-old Music and Medicine program at the Weill Cornell Medical College, which is a very wonderful program which I will enjoy watching flourish over the next years.
Between them is Dr. Carlyle Miller, who is the-- do I have this right? The dean of students?
CARLYLE MILLER: Associate dean.
JUDITH: Associate dean of students at Cornell Weill Medical College and is also a published poet. So we have lots of crossover people here. And on the other end is Misha Neil, Misheaila Neil, I should say, which-- I love that name, who is the coordinator and the director of the performing arts program at Elmira College.
And she'll tell you more about this. But she runs a program called the Encore Program, which was developed 10 years ago by the president, Thomas Meier. And it is a two-year required course involving 32 performing events that all sophomores and freshmen must involve themselves in.
And what I love about it is that after they're done, they become mentors to the next class coming in. And I'm very interested in having a conversation with her about how this is impacted on the feeling of creativity at the campus. So we've invited her to join us for this discussion.
And I believe it is the case that question and answer can be throughout or how you work that out. But I know there will be an opportunity to ask questions of all the panelists and relate this. To those of who've been here both days, certainly in form, yesterday was more about the craziness of artists and creativity. And now we're into the healing aspect of things.
So I open the floor to you all. And thank you all for being here. We're very grateful for your participation.
DAVID SKORTON: I want to thank Judith for all that she's done to pull this together [INAUDIBLE].
JUDITH: [INAUDIBLE] Lafayette, who's also helped enormously in organizing this.
DAVID SKORTON: So we'll have to have a little discussion in front of you here. So if you want to just exclude them and be stiff and do all of our stuff and leave them three or four minutes at the end. Of should we be informal, open, and human, let them interact with us? They're not listening, so [INAUDIBLE].
CARLYLE MILLER: [INAUDIBLE] informal. They can ask questions.
DAVID SKORTON: Following Bobby McFerrin. [INAUDIBLE].
MISHEAILA NEIL: Emotions.
DAVID SKORTON: OK, I'm against it. But they seem to want to interact with you in an informal way. So it's all right. Remember, I warned you this was a really bad idea. So before we begin the [INAUDIBLE] and they're going to do the vast majority of the talking, as I hope are you, I hope you'll bear with me for a very brief political statement. Then I'll sit down, and I'll be very nice the rest of the time.
One of the big areas of danger in the country right now is lack of funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities and the National Endowment for the Arts and especially in a time of economic austerity where there's naturally and understandably going to be tremendous focus on science and technology because of innovation and job creation. It's unbelievably important that we don't lose focus on the cultural life of the country. So the next time you have occasions when you want to do something of an activist nature, speak with one of your elected representatives. You notice I say your elected representatives, because I wouldn't take responsibility for those people.
Please remember that the only major federal research agency that's suffering steady erosion and inflation of adjusted dollars is the National Endowment for the Humanities, down 40% since the mid-'90s in inflation-adjusted dollars. And the NEA-- one of the great supporters of the cultural life of the country, throughout the country, has been yolked with the same budget as the NEA, which continues to go down as well. So thank you for listening. I really appreciate it. Please remember it's important to push art. Don't blame Judith or anybody else for this message. I just had a chance to talk to the group, so thanks for listening. Now--
So we have a fabulous panel. And my job today is to be the lubrication, to get you and they to interact with each other. I'm going to ask them to just make a little opening commentary that should be very brief. And then we're going to work our way through some questions.
And I'll suggest some questions. I'm going to suggest them all at the same time. And you'll begin to interact with them. And during that, I hope that you will interrupt and raise your own questions. And Judith, what time do you want us to actually stop doing this?
JUDITH: What time is it now? I've lost track.
DAVID SKORTON: It's 4:03.
JUDITH: Quarter to five, maybe? It's usually up to your comfort.
DAVID SKORTON: Did you say 4:46?
Well, I mean, I think we should leave it a little bit flexible. We have the space until 6:00.
DAVID SKORTON: All right, 4:46-ish.
AUDIENCE: And if I could ask you just to be sure to speak into the microphone, please. Thanks.
DAVID SKORTON: Sorry. So did you miss my political message then?
DAVID SKORTON: You did, didn't you?
AUDIENCE: I'm good, thanks.
DAVID SKORTON: OK, good. OK, so I'm going to ask each of the panelists-- and if it's OK, Misheaila, we'll start with you. I probably mispronounced your name, and I apologize.
MISHEAILA NEIL: Actually, that was perfect.
DAVID SKORTON: Really?
MISHEAILA NEIL: Thank you.
DAVID SKORTON: OK, I knew I did it perfect. I just wanted you to say that.
MISHEAILA NEIL: Ten out of ten.
DAVID SKORTON: If you could kick off. And then everyone will follow your lead, to just say a few words about either how you approach questions of creativity or, if you're more comfortable, the role that creativity plays in your life personally, just to share that with us, whichever of those two you're comfortable with. That would be great. And then the rest of our panelists can follow suit.
MISHEAILA NEIL: Wonderful. I did just distill a few notes, which I would like to just quickly reference. First of all, it's a pleasure to be here just to share my observations and insights regarding the impact of our Encore program. But I did want to take a moment to applaud the work that's gone into organizing this symposium.
It's particularly exciting to be here because of the historic connection between our two universities, not only geographically but also as we were founded at the same time for similar and radical reasons-- Elmira, to offer a university education to women and Cornell to drop the race barrier, where any person can find instruction in any study. I'm also particularly grateful to the Elmira College President, Meier, who gave me the opportunity to speak to all of you. Dr. Meier very much wanted to be here, as he considers his establishment of this distinctive program in creativity and performing arts.
He founded it around 12 years ago. And it's one of the key accomplishments that he's had in the whole of his career. He fought very hard to institute this program, because it is a performing arts literacy requirement, meaning all of our students have to complete this, which was met with some powerful arguments to the role of experiential learning and creativity and not having enough structure. And he made that happen. It's his firmly held belief that the hallmark of an educated man and a liberal arts graduate is one's appreciation of the performing arts. With that said, it's an exciting time.
The way that the actual course works is the students attend the performance. And then throughout the performance, we're bringing in personal innovation, creativity, thinking outside of the box. And we found that classical music works particularly well, because it's something that our students-- actually around 90% of our students have not had any exposure to performing arts. And that's a study that we did in the beginning when the students enter in their freshman year.
I think it's particularly insightful that when they leave-- and we did an assessment-- what they were looking for was openness to culture. This is staggering when I say literally 90% had no exposure to the arts. So if that's a testament to creativity, to the program, I'm not sure what that would be. So that was a bit long winded, but--
DAVID SKORTON: Very exciting. Thank you for what you're doing. Thank you for kicking us off. Please, Richard.
RICHARD KOGAN: Yes, just picking up on what's been said already. President Skorton's comment about the cutback in funding for the National Endowment of the Arts, increase-- I think you made the distinction between science, where there has been increased funding, and culture, where there's been a decline. My fields of music and medicine had really pretty much here in the 21st century been more or less established as separate domains with pretty much no overlap between the two.
But it wasn't always that way. The ancient Greeks designated Apollo as the god of both medicine and music. And in many primitive cultures, the roles of physician and musician were played by the same person. These would be shamans, all-purpose healers who'd heal-- sometimes they'd use medical instruments. Sometimes they'd use musical instruments. But their overarching purpose was to heal.
Now, over time, these domains split apart. Each of them has become increasingly specialized. Bobby McFerrin mentioned earlier that, when he was growing up in the '50s, radio stations would just play music. Now there's 70 specialized-- '70s and different types of genres. Anyway, medicine's become vastly more specialized.
And even when I started my medical training, there are far fewer general practitioners in medicine. I think something's has probably been gained by the increase of specialization. My feeling is that much has been lost.
I think it's really important for all of us, my fellow clinicians-- I don't have to preach to the four physicians on this panel. But it's really important not to lose sight, I think, for physicians, of music's capacity-- really, truly unparalleled capacity-- to lift spirits, to reduce anxiety, to ease pain. My sense is that-- and I think music we all intuitively here-- and anybody who's spent the previous hour here knows-- music can make all of us feel better. We know that. Nobody would argue that in really any large group.
I think what's imperative-- and much of it is going on now. I think when basic science does the research, demonstrates exactly what it is that music does, we intuitively know, that we have a lot of anecdotal evidence that it makes groups of patients feel better. It can reach Alzheimer's patients, patients with cognitive decline, that sort of thing. When the science is done, I personally think there's going to be an explosion in the use of music as a modality for healing. And I think that the potential is enormous.
I think everybody-- preaching to the converted here-- part of the purpose of this-- there's an interdisciplinary focus here. Clearly, the Cornell Council of the Arts supports much of what I'm saying. But I think we're on the cusp, possibly, of something really spectacular.
CARLYLE MILLER: Hi. I'm going to break trends a little bit because I'm a poet. I played musical instruments when I was younger. I played the African drums. I played the [INAUDIBLE] of [INAUDIBLE] audience or is, [INAUDIBLE] or was. But I discovered poetry, which is like music to me, when I was 13 years old. This was five years after I had decided to become a doctor.
I didn't know that there was a congruence between science and art, which poetry is. And as I went on, I realized this was extraordinarily important. A part of the soul was filled when I sit down and write poetry.
I'm completely unaware of where I am. I fall into a trance. And it's very comforting when I come up from that trance, I produce something that someone can relate to. It touches people.
And I try to sow that in our students. Our students are very creative. People think of doctors as just [INAUDIBLE] science. They know much more. They do much more. We have a few of our medical students sitting in the group. They weren't planted there. They came on their own.
But it's very important. I really instruct them all the time. Sometimes they come and they say, I'm really afraid I'm not going to do well on a particular exam. I said, so what are you doing? They say, I'm studying 12 hours a day. I say, you play music? Play your trumpet. Run. Ride your bike. Write your poetry.
I think it's very important. I think we are seeing a connection, a definite connection, between music or arts and healing. And I hope that continues. And I think we're going to have more [INAUDIBLE].
DAVID SHAPIRO: So let me speak about some of the administration and the formation of the Music and Medicine Program at the Weill Cornell Medical School. So part of my interest in it was I was an untalented percussionist as a teenager. And two of the guys in my band went to Juilliard. The other two went to medical school.
And everybody seemed to have made the right decision, although some of us still play-- Neil Sedaka was one of them. And Eddie Daniels, who went on to be the leading jazz clarinetist in the United States of our time. But we knew about him when he was 14, about how talented he was.
So skip many, many years. And I'm sitting with my friend Carl Miller on the admissions committee of the Weill Cornell Medical School and noticing that every fifth applicant has a musical background, a musical interest, a musical gift, and musical enthusiasm. And there seems to be a correlation between high GPAs, high MCATs candidates, and good musicality. I remember looking at an application from a young man from Harvard. And he had straight As for the first two years, straight Bs for the third year.
And I said, well, what happened to you? Your GPA went down. He said, well, I decided I was a good student, so I decided to conduct the Harvard-Radcliffe orchestra and compose. So no doubt that he got into medical school and was very talented.
Everybody knows there's a coincidence of physicianliness, of scientists and music, and we try to capture it. So knowing my friend Richard Kogan for many years-- and Richard is the classic example of somebody who combines both professions. He was a musician at Harvard and Harvard Medical School and is now a musician and a physician. He's one of those rare people who can actually work at two very, very demanding professions.
So skip to that a little bit. And finally, we approached Mr. Weill, who is also, as you know, very interested in the musical world. And we said, why don't we make the Weill Cornell Medical College one of the most musician-friendly medical schools in the country? And that's happened. And I'm happy to say that two weeks ago at Carnegie Hall, four of our students, two of them graduating, played a Mozart flute Quartet at Carnegie Hall. And our program is expanding and growing.
I just want to say a few other things about-- so that you can ask certain other kinds of questions. We're interested in music and healing. We're doing some work with the cancer center at the medical college.
Music and brain science is very interesting. We have a very strong neuroscience department. And we are hoping to study some of that.
Also, at the Weill Cornell Medical School, there's a Center for the Treatment of the Performing Artist that we collaborate with. We're hoping that some of our graduating students who become physicians will be enthusiastic and good physicians to the performing arts community, who are often underworked, underpaid, underinsured, and need help. We've also been working with the Juilliard School to help their health care system and with the 92nd Street Y. So I'm going to leave it at that and hopefully get into more details if you'd like to know.
DAVID SKORTON: Well, thank you everyone for starting. I'm going to ask just two questions. And I'm inviting you to be part of the panel and you as well can be part of the panel. It'll be exciting.
And these are questions that go in opposite directions, perhaps. And I'm going to tell you both the questions. And then we can talk about them or talk about something else, as you wish.
One is whether you see the arts-- it doesn't have to be just music but the arts writ large-- as positively influencing the mental health of students. Now, we're talking about this rarefied environment. It's hard to get into these kind of colleges these days.
For example, the undergraduate colleges in Ithaca last year got 36,400 applications for 3,000 spots. I would still be working in my dad's shoe store if odds like that had existed when I was applying to college. That's for sure.
And so there's, not surprisingly, a lot of mental health issues on college campuses across the country. After accidents, automobile accidents, suicides are the second leading cause of death in those ages, 15 to 24, on college campuses. And so one of the two questions is, do you see the arts, writ large, as potentially efficacious in influencing the mental health of students?
And the other one goes in the other direction, not to the individual but to society as a whole. How does the role of the arts in society-- a society-- it doesn't only have to be ours-- affect that society as a whole? So one question is, are the arts important? And if so, how so in the mental health of individuals, students in this case?
And secondly, what is the importance? What is the role of arts in a society as a whole? So please, in any order you like. And then we really want to make this comfortable and very relaxed until we get to 4:46, where it's not going to be relaxed, and Judith is going to just basically throw you out.
DAVID SKORTON: Well, I will do it on her behalf. So you want to start with us? Great.
DAVID SHAPIRO: Just right off the top of my head-- and we have one of our students in the audience, if you'd like to talk about it. Everybody knows that the first year of medical school, there are four students get together and work on a cadaver in what's known as gross anatomy. The word "cadaver" is now non-existent. We call it donors.
And at our medical college, we have a memorial to the donors, where each group of four students says "thank you" to their donor. This year, the dean asks the Music and Medicine program to see if some of our students would do some music and poetry to accompany it. And we did.
And the reason I bring that up in answer to your question is in the past, this was such an uncomfortable and difficult experience for us older docs. We were making jokes. We were doing things that were not particularly attractive or we're proud of. And our students were magnificent. How many students sang and performed?
DAVID SHAPIRO: Wonderful. We had singers. We had a violin quartet. I think [? Bengi ?] composed and did some arrangements.
And it was actually thrilling to see the humanizing effect in this difficult time. There were families there of these donors. There were future donors in the room. And the dean was in tears.
So this was one of the changes in medical education, where our doctors and our students were magnificent. And going forward, now they're going to start meeting live people. So I thought that was a great start.
DAVID SKORTON: Thank you. [INAUDIBLE]. Thank you.
CARLYLE MILLER: To answer that question, first, about whether or not music or the arts has any significance in culture, I think it's pretty apparent that it really does. Music, arts have bound cultures together since cultures began. And I don't think that it will end that way.
I think that we will continue to bind each other-- different cultures, different peoples with different languages, with music. I know in African culture, and I think-- pardon me for referring to that-- with some very old cultures, music binds them together. It binds the cultures together.
And I see the same thing happening in our cultures, particularly in the United States with the multiplicity of cultures and the multi [INAUDIBLE] cultures who are different. Their music is one of the first things you learn. In the old days, it was the language. It was the curse words in language.
You remember that, guys? I know everyone does. That's the first thing you learned. You learned to curse words in language. Then you became more interested.
Now a lot of people are referring to the music. If you look at the influence of Indian music in the United States, European music-- in particularly, from Eastern European-- it's more popular. There's so much out there that it's going to definitely bind them together And at the same time, since all of these cultures share what I call alternative medicines, music plays a large role in all of them. So I think we'll see that for years to come.
RICHARD KOGAN: Yes. It answers, certainly, the question about the impact of arts programs on mental health. I think the cutbacks in school programs for secondary school level, certainly, in arts education programs are really penny-wise and dollar-foolish, I think. Studies have shown, as best as it can be tracked, that when arts programs are eliminated, there is an increased utilization of mental health services. All sorts of behavioral and emotional problems follow from loss of arts programs. Incalculable impact on mental health. And it's reflected, certainly, in the medical student levels, as David and Carlyle mentioned.
MISHEAILA NEIL: Well, I would say one of the things I think most striking is the fact that in the last 12 years, we haven't had any suicides. So I think there is a very significant impact on the human spirit and overall a sense of feeling like there are possibilities. I also think it's significant that every one of our students coming in-- I mentioned this, but the reason I find it to be to be very significant is because I'm an artist myself. And I tend to lean towards those that are more arts oriented.
And I think that there tends to be sects, different sects on campus. And I think that one of the wonderful things is that our students are not music majors. They're just simply not.
And they're open to have a dialogue about what was their take on reading the performance. That's one of the things we actually do before the performers come up on stage. I frame a lens to actually be wrapping their mind around that actual performance.
So it isn't specialized in that the main thing that we're trained to get is an appreciation. And then the part about community and civic engagement-- again, because it's a requirement, they have a performance probably once every week-- around. So they're actually walking through campus and thinking at the forefront of creativity. And again, for a lot of students, at least in undergraduate, they like the idea of being radical, and they like the idea of feeling a part of something larger and that they're not following all the rules.
And with this course, it's fully an experience. So the students are able to reflect on it. They are able to chat afterwards.
And I would also say the actual performances are around 60 minutes. So it really is a punch in-- here's the experience. What was your take on it? Why is this significant? And then forming a community based on that experience. And that's something that we have seen. We have--
Even in our student clubs, there tends to be very, very different students working together. And a lot of times, it's because initially they're sharing this experience. I also think it's important that it's over four different terms. So it really is that freshman experience when they're doing freshman writing and core as well as this musical experience. And then they're doing it when they come back in their sophomore year.
So I think there's something to be said for having the arts open. You don't need to be a musician to take part in it. But there's the opportunity for dialogue. So I do think there's a very significant impact on their spirit and the sense of possibility.
DAVID SKORTON: Thank you. It's fascinating. Any thoughts from the rest of the panel out there? Thoughts about these two questions or follow-ups to what the panelists have just said? Please.
AUDIENCE: Do you think that at your school you have, since this program started, been attracting more people who have some interest in the arts? So [INAUDIBLE]. So you're not going to get the people who maybe would benefit in the sense they need it. You know what I mean? They [INAUDIBLE].
MISHEAILA NEIL: That's an excellent question. To be perfectly honest, we do have a significant number of rural students. Not to say that in rural communities, you don't have that. But there isn't as many opportunities available.
And so we are still getting, actually, a number of students who aren't particularly drawn on the artistic end. Every term, I go through all of those surveys. And the students have to write a three to five page paper. And they're reflecting on what insights they have and what difference has it made.
And actually, we had a question about cutting arts funding. And the students have four different choices. And the question that all of the students chose was the impact of the arts and what would happen if you were to cut funding, which is amazing to think about that that's by choice. That's what they're choosing. And they're feeling that there is a big impact.
So I do think in the air floating around because music is so present, and not just music-- theater and dance. It's at their fingertips. I do think that probably-- particularly because when students come on tours, it's in the thrust of the term. So they are experiencing that. But on the whole, I think we are still getting students who may or may not have a musical or an arts background.
DAVID SKORTON: Thank you. Yes, please.
AUDIENCE: I apologize. I just walked in, so asking a question because I'm hoping to get an answer. One, how are you defining mental health? Two, I have a very dear friend of mine who's 72 with bipolar, and I want to know, going beyond the students, what do you have to say about the people that are-- well, students can be any age, I should say. It's just a lot of music ed really does sell to children. And three, is this Cornell arts [INAUDIBLE]?
MISHEAILA NEIL: Nope. I'm from Elmira College. So we're neighbors.
AUDIENCE: So in this case, what can be done, do you think, to do what you started at your university elsewhere? Because it sounds like a great program [INAUDIBLE] University as well. I think it should be.
DAVID SKORTON: OK, we'll do our best to pick out some aspects of those questions, which is very good. Richard, could you answer the question, if you don't mind, when she says, how are we fighting mental health and your answer to the question, could arts have a scientary effect on mental health?
RICHARD KOGAN: Yes. This a big issue, because the program yesterday, we addressed some of that. It's a very complex question you're bringing up with not a really simple answer. But as best-- and there's some controversy and debate over the actual terms of mental health and mental illness. And as best as we can define it-- this is something there's been a lot of really good, solid research on recently.
It seems like the incidence of mental illness, as it's currently defined in the DSM, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Psychiatry, is higher in populations of writers, poets, artists, musicians than in the general population. That being said, the arts had an enormously healing impact on their practitioners. For many of these mentally ill, the arts are the only way-- I made this quote yesterday in the presentation that I made.
The great Russian composer, Tchaikovsky said-- and he had a pretty tenuous grip on sanity. He was a great composer. He said, "Without music, I would go insane." It was really the only way that he could actually keep relatively coherent.
Part of what's fascinating-- and I'll just make a brief conceptualization about it. From a psychoanalytic perspective, part of the reason the incidence seems to be higher of the mental illness in these great creators is that in order to really create something that's meaningful to others, you have to have access to worlds beyond. People who just have this sort of blandly content-- they could be defined as mentally healthy, probably will not be great expressive creators. They may not be able to write a novel that's going to move you.
But people who have access to the worlds beyond-- the mental health are overrepresented in that area. It's really important not to overromanticize mental illness, because most mentally ill individuals are either too chaotic, disorganized, or depressed to actually create anything. So you need a wonderful blend of access to the worlds beyond, plus a pretty good hold on rationality to be truly creative. Everybody should be trying to achieve his or her creative peak and potential. That's how I define mental health, actually.
DAVID SKORTON: And just a quick personal answer to your question, how can you propagate some of these programs. These are terrific ideas. And I think what it takes is the willingness on the part of the leadership of the institution to see this as important.
And with all respect to us, at Cornell and Elmira, there's lot of good models out around the country. This is sort of a local phenomenon because the program is generated out of Cornell. But there's a lot of these issues.
I personally am actually more worried about the K through 12 system, because it's so up against it. And austerity is so much worse in those systems in general than it is in post-secondary education. Even though we do a lot of hand-wringing and higher education about money, the money situation is worse, I would say, in K through 12. And I think there's even greater risks of retreat from cultural programs in general in the K through 12 system through no fault of the people who administer and try to teach in that system. Other questions or comments? Please.
AUDIENCE: As someone who's done a lot of work in that K through 12 arts education station, I appreciate your comments, because you also spoke about [INAUDIBLE] to your institution. Coming back to the question around the role of the arts in society, two questions-- we're having a major debate in this country right now around the role of health care and how we pay for it, the economics of it.
We're also having a growing phase around post-secondary education and the value of post-secondary education and what's considered valuable. How do we look at the role of the arts relative to these medical health and educational institutions and how to strengthen the role of the arts through the practitioners, through the users of the system in any dimension you want to address?
DAVID SKORTON: Anyone want to take a stab at that one? I'm glad to try afterwards.
CARLYLE MILLER: I think you have to break molds. I grew up in New York City. I went to New York City public schools. And I went to a regular, run-of-the-mill public school. I went to Theodore Roosevelt High School in the South Bronx-- it was considered south Bronx now-- on Fordham Road.
And I was there. I took calculus when I was in 11th grade. I had advanced physics. I placed out. I got a scholarship to Columbia. It was wonderful.
I graduated in 1967. And in 1969, I was in the shower at Columbia. And my roommate came in. He knocked on the door. He said, hey, Carl. Something's interesting. Your school was on the front page of the New York Times.
I said, oh, really? I was really proud to see what my high school was doing. It was considered one of the worst high schools in New York City. Two years. Two years.
The funds ride up. They had something called "white flight," left the cities. It fell. Not only New York. Detroit, Los Angeles, Newark, Florida, Texas, all around. It fell at the same time. We used to have some of the best public schools in the country. One of the things that it took away was monies for the arts.
And the arts have a propensity to stimulate students to perform, to do better. A lot of students who do consistent work in the arts make consistently good students. That's why I think that we see so many good medical students, by the way. It's my own prejudice and opinion. But I think that we have to have the will to realize that and put those things back in schools, whether it be private or whether it be public, because everyone is going to be affected by it anyway.
DAVID SKORTON: So I want to answer it in a little different way that perhaps will sound negative, but stick with me on this. In both those examples that you brought up-- health care and post-secondary education-- the price, not the cost, but the price of those to the person who is accessing them-- the student, the patient-- have gone up way out of proportion to any other consumer price index. You may or may not know, but the highest rate of rise is not health care but college tuition. College tuition has outstripped even the increase in health care, which is the second worse.
So you've pointed out two areas where, I believe, the pressure is going to be enormous to get rid of things that are considered nonessential And you can be sure that arts programs and cultural programs will be considered nonessential. So if you buy that, that leads me to two extrapolations.
One is that it's going to fall more on the public in their philanthropic mode. Now, I'm not only talking about the handful of people in our society who are capable of changing the game personally with philanthropy, of which we've been very lucky at Cornell to have many of those individuals. But I'm talking about the individual who can never dream about giving at that rate, but can he or she imagine giving $5 a year to a local arts organization?
And I'm not talking about the New York Philharmonic. I'm talking about a regional orchestra in a rural area. I'm talking about the kind of arts organizations that are the glue that keep our communities together.
So I think that one prediction I would make is that it will fall on us to pay for our own cultural addenda. And a lot of those cultural agenda in non-urban and urban areas are secondary schools, are in high schools. A lot of them are where people first run into performances. And especially in rural areas, as you and I both know-- and I lived in rural areas for almost 30 years now, in Iowa in and New York-- these are the glue that keep the communities together. So that's one when extrapolation.
And the second extrapolation is that we will need-- I don't mean you all. But we in positions of leadership will need better arguments, more concrete arguments, why it's important-- nostalgia, which is one that I've used ineffectively and even the visual of you coming out of your shower and drying off, which is very compelling.
Too much information.
CARLYLE MILLER: That's too much information.
DAVID SKORTON: Too much information. And I'm trying to be nice about this. Please don't tell us any more about this kind of stuff.
I found it personally frightening, but anyway--
We have to find more concrete arguments. Now, Richard's statement that there are studies that show that when there is a reduction in the availability of culture, there is an increase in utilization of mental health services. These are the sort of arguments that could be used to say it's penny-wise and dollar-foolish, as you said.
I think you Americanized that expression. I think it was penny-wise and pound-foolish. And it was sort of an anti-UK remark, which really bothered me personally.
So that will be my answer. Questions? Comments? Yes, please.
DAVID SKORTON: Hi.
AUDIENCE: So I'm actually a creative arts therapist, which is a psychotherapist that uses [INAUDIBLE] arts as approach to healing. And I'm really appreciative of what you all are doing, because having worked in several medical facilities and hospitals, I come across a lot of medical staff who aren't as open to using the arts in treatment. And so I'm wondering, listening to you all, what do you think can be done to bridge that gap between the medical model and then more creative approaches to treating different practices.
DAVID SHAPIRO: What a great question. I was waiting for that question so I can say a few things about it. Earlier this year, there was a scientific day at the New York Academy of Science devoted to music and healing. And we were one of the sponsors, our medical center.
And there were researchers and musical therapists from all over the country. And just a couple vignettes about what's on the drawing board about music and healing. For example, one of our colleagues who's done work with us is Dr. Claudius Conrad from Harvard, who is a surgeon. And he programs music in the recovery room and actually has data about quicker recovery, reducing health care costs perhaps by better recovery. They have neonatal intensive care data, where if you program music, kids will grow faster, eat better, and have a shorter stay in the NICU. That's done in San Diego Medical School.
This is happening all over the country. And these are the kinds of things that we're trying to do here. One just wonderful and humorous story from our medical center-- the surgeon chief at the Hospital for Special Surgery, Dr. Sculco. He's one of the leading orthopedic surgeons in the city and perhaps in the country. So I've seen some of his patients. And I said, so how did the surgery go with Dr. Sculco? They said, boy, he loves opera. Tom Sculco is also a pretty good surgeon.
But he's also on the board at Carnegie Hall. His father was the trumpet player for the Harry James Orchestra. He was an orchestra brat. He makes rounds with his patients. And what they're talking about is the opera that Dr. Sculco heard the night before, because that's what he's humming on rounds.
That's the kind of doctors we want to produce. That's the kind of medicine we want to do. Those are the kinds of students we want to encourage.
DAVID SKORTON: [INAUDIBLE]
MISHEAILA NEIL: Well, I think something that's very significant I talked about, that we have all of the different majors and that they're in this course. I think it helps to ask the question.
I think sometimes we can get a bit heady and intellectual. And again, because I'm an artist myself, I tend to give nine different versions when you ask one question, as I'm illustrating right now. But I think sometimes that-- and especially the responses that I've had from the students and the community in general-- it's helpful to, again, start the dialogue, to ask the question and to say, you know, for our-- well, particularly for education majors, they are going to be out and working with in primary schools, et cetera. And they're having to think in this context. And they are finding solutions.
So I think sometimes it starts small. And I think, not to be too simplistic, but I think it's helpful to ask the question and when I get up on stage, I'm saying, what is the impact? And a response I've gotten from a lot of students is that they fear. There's a lot of areas where they are things that they fear.
And particularly in the academic setting, it's competitive. So you're not going to be talking about the things that you fear and the reasons that it's significant to you personally. Instead, you're just going to go back and get in the ring, which is great. But I think this bridges that gap. And it provides an opportunity to put these students and community members-- they're out and they're making change happen.
And again, that might seem a little high minded. But we've been doing it. This is our 12th year. We still have funding. And with a class of 700, these are the students that are graduating now, and they're making it happen. And we've also talked about being on a board of directors, and what are some things that you can do in the arts community, and what kind of an art imprint does your organization have. So I think we're on our way.
DAVID SKORTON: You've done a great job, really wonderful job, with or without the funding, because you've made it happen, and people appreciate it. But I think, among many other things you said that I think are very important, I think it's profound that you talked about starting small and, if I can paraphrase it, not being afraid to start.
I think sometimes, especially in higher education, maybe even in the K through 12 system, we think about grand solutions to problems as opposed to just putting one foot in front of the other. And I think that even well-established programs like the one at Elmira started because somebody with passion decided, I'm going to try this. And maybe it worked. Maybe it doesn't work. But if you don't try and take the first little step, nothing happens. So I think it's terrific. Other questions? Yes, please.
AUDIENCE: Yes, I just want to briefly-- since she made her comment, I was just thinking about something that she was leading towards. But music at the bedside of patients-- I've been noticing a lot of it as a health care professional. I wonder if someone [INAUDIBLE] be measured.
The other effect is the effect that this music and art is having on the health care professionals themselves. A lot of times, we hear it, and we're like, oh, what is this doing here? But we've gotten used to it. It's a new thing. And I think with all the stress in the health care profession, dealing with trauma, I think it's helping the health care professionals as well as the patients.
DAVID SKORTON: It's such an interesting comment, and I wouldn't want to speak for the med students. Although, remember, I'm your president, and I set your tuition. So you wouldn't want to contradict me in front of all these people.
It must be one of the reasons that Cornell medical students participate in this kind of program is because they love it, and it makes them feel better, right? I was looking for sort of a more, yes, cheering kind of thing.
CARLYLE MILLER: Our lives are on the line here, OK? All right.
AUDIENCE: So I had the good fortune to compose music for a class show that we did back in February. And the rhyme in medical school day after day is you have to be able to enjoy it, but it's a lot of work, as you can imagine. But that show gave us a rest and brought new energy to the class. And I think it was a really good experience to have.
DAVID SKORTON: Fantastic. We've given the students the choice of reading my old speeches and essays versus listening to music of their choice, and it was a pretty close vote.
But it went the way of the music.
Question-- uh-oh, uh-oh.
Question from a professional. Always frightening. Please introduce yourself.
AUDIENCE: [? Carrie ?] [? Flater. ?] I'm a [INAUDIBLE]. And I wear multiple hats. I was born to paint. I'm a good war vet now. So I'd love to know if painting's back [INAUDIBLE].
But I have a bunch of unrelated thoughts, which is typical of me. One obvious thing we might want to do-- and something might appear incredibly important [INAUDIBLE] in the near future-- is to ask or obligate all of our colleagues-- that's the doctors and the adminstrators-- to spend half a day doing what we're asking the students to do, because nostalgia's OK with me, but I don't think that would work for other purposes.
So if this is done correctly, I think then you've converted the audience-- it was just like us all singing here a moment ago with Bobby McFerrin. It was like one voice in this room. I went to a big conference recently. And we all had a little piece of a mural, a little two-by-two square. And by the end of the conference, we had to copy it on a large piece of paper which was then going to be reassembled. Didn't make any sense when we started out.
We all got art material, but we didn't get enough to complete our square, so we had to share. We had to talk to people. It would be better if I could remember all of the benefits of this. Even those who were doubters finished it. And, of course, it was all reassembled at the end.
Because there were a couple of people who thought, what if I'm the only one who doesn't do it, and then I'm going to be outed. So there were all kinds of things, including being part of something that was larger than you, just having fun, that came out of it. And the other thing I wanted to say really quickly is that there is a book called Art and Fear, which is a very good book for art and for life.
But it makes the point that one reason that art is good, especially for children, is that it frees and disciplines at the same time. You can't just be free, and you can't be totally disciplined. And having worked for a former dean-- that would be Sunny-- who was then a scientist, and I was an artist then. We were always like this. She had a lot of wrinkles in her forehead when I would talk, because I couldn't make myself understood and vice versa.
In this book, it says that if a scientist looks at a rock, the information in that rock is valuable for everything that can be generalized for every other rock. And for an artist, the information that's valuable in that rock is all the information that is unique to that rock and only that rock.
And I said, you know. [INAUDIBLE]. So I made her read that paragraph, so I thought we could get along better. But Be I think we just can't give up.
DAVID SKORTON: Here, here. I don't know about Sunny's wrinkles. I thought you did a great job of expressing that. So thank you. Thank you. That's great. Who's the author of that book, Carrie?
AUDIENCE: The name begins with an O [INAUDIBLE].
DAVID SKORTON: But Art and Fear?
AUDIENCE: Orland? [INAUDIBLE]
DAVID SKORTON: All right. I do want to thank the wonderful contingent from Ithaca, giving up the nightlife and seafood of Ithaca, to come to New York City for this.
That was the reason you came, right? Not because of us. OK. No, thank you. That was great. Question or comment.
AUDIENCE: As a worker at the new student union, run since 1972, the students, a young student-- I had left. He came to me, no one else. [INAUDIBLE] we had sat at times listening to music, Beethoven. That's the thing that brought him to me, no one else. He was terrified of telling these [INAUDIBLE].
So I came to him right there, and I said, I'm gay, too. Nothing wrong with being gay. 1972 was a different time. It was that music that [INAUDIBLE] that brought him to me and no one else. The power of music.
DAVID SKORTON: What a beautiful story. Thank you for sharing it. We have time for one more. I want to make sure there's-- in the back there. This better be really like a profound deal, because it's the last question--
No pressure on you. Bobby McFerrin and all this stuff. The last question. Focus. People are like, happy hour. You're standing between them. Go.
AUDIENCE: Well, along the lines of what Bobby was talking about, how music is integrated into every aspect of his life. And you were talking before about what a bummer it is that all of the budgets are being shipped from the arts. And I wonder if people who are creating [INAUDIBLE] and running school programs-- can art be integrated into the teaching of all subjects? Does it have to be something that's so separate? And is it possible to do that? Are we doing that? And can we do that more?
DAVID SKORTON: Well, I really think this is a super profound question and comment, because if culture is-- but I'm going to take credit for it, and--
When the proceeding of this thing is done, the way it's going to read-- this is revisionist history. It's what I do for a living. It's going to say that you asked some real boneheaded question, and then I brought around, as opposed the other way around.
This is super profound, I think, and then I'm going to pass it over, because I think if there is not total integration of the things we're talking about into every aspect, it's just not going to last at all. So I think it's totally right. Remember, I brought it up.
DAVID SHAPIRO: Maybe we can, since we're finishing, make some closing pitch or closing remark.
DAVID SKORTON: Since we're finishing--
DAVID SHAPIRO: Just want to say one thing. Everybody in this room is interested in music. And one of the things I want everybody to leave thinking is that it's not only the musical education. The working musicians in our culture-- the singers, the performers, all of those people, all of the students at the Juilliard School. Melissa Odens is one of our friends at the Juilliard School.
These people also need our health care system. A week does not go by in our medical center where we don't get a call about a musician in distress-- they may be teaching. They may be performing. Who does not have insurance, and we have to provide it.
So talking about your small contributions. We're trying to raise an endowment so an indigent musician can come and get some of the best doctors in New York City. And this is Mickey Stewart's program. And so I just want to make a pitch for that. If we all love performing artists-- not only musicians-- dancers, singers, and painters and others-- we have to help them in terms of their health care, and I just want to leave.
DAVID SKORTON: Here, here. Carl, this question.
CARLYLE MILLER: Yeah, I was going to say that the question is really profound. Basically, she's asking, how can music and art form be integrated in all type of teaching? And I've often thought about that. I'm not taking away your credit, Dave.
But I often thought about that. And I think we can. There's something called problem-based learning, which our students go through. And that's really interesting.
It was invented or discovered in, what, 1975 at McMasters university in Canada. And how you teach that, how problem-based learning works-- you can apply it to almost any discipline. So it goes across the board.
I think that art can be used in all various forms in almost any discipline. And just remember, the reason why children can perform so well-- like, Mozart was eight years old. He's writing-- Bobby McFerrin was asked that question. He can write a symphony.
Music and mathematics go together. They compete with adults. You're not going to have a four-year-old compete with you in history or biology.
But certainly, in music and mathematics, they can. So there's something almost inherent in the fact that those art forms can be used in almost any kind of discipline that we brought it to. And hopefully, we'll get there in this society.
RICHARD KOGAN: Yeah, I think the question about integrating the arts-- my sense within the medical community is that the trend here is positive. As medicine has become more technologically driven, I think there's more of the yearning for a humanities-based focus. Not just at Cornell-- more and more medical centers around the country and the world are starting humanities in medicine programs. There is a real yearning for that.
Just one final point because, there were a couple of questions, and it relates to something you asked about caregiver burnout and the role that music in the arts in that. There are studies being done about the impact, what kind of impact music, in particular, can have on health care professional burnout. One of the findings-- and I think this is an important takeaway point-- is that music and the arts, I think, in general are at their most healing the more active in engagement the consumer has with music.
Music is so accessible now. You can access music anywhere. The more engaged one is-- actually, making music is more healing than passively listening to it.
Also-- and I think it's even more important. The more communal the experience of music, the more therapeutic it is. Many of us today consume music in isolation by plugging into an iPod. Music is the vastly more therapeutic when a group is together singing, for instance, and actually making music in a communal fashion. So that's, I think, an important thing to keep in mind.
MISHEAILA NEIL: Well, again, what a wonderful question. Thank you, and thank you for that question.
DAVID SKORTON: You're getting there.
MISHEAILA NEIL: I think that in thinking about the way that you learn at any age, I think there's something to be said-- there's all these descriptions and books written about, "the art of," "the art of"-- the art of observation. And I think there's something that can be-- in a classroom, the respect for the space, all the things that we normally attribute to an artistic perspective.
Why not leave that in? Why not have that as your students when they're open and they're wanting to take everything on board? Why not feed in, again, that respect for the space, having an open dialogue and different ways of learning and almost looking at the arts as a language, sort of like in what ways can you communicate? So I think bringing that artistic perspective is just wildly wonderful.
The great poets say, take pleasure in what's wild and what's precious. Why not take something that we can't describe in words, why not put that in the classroom, and keep their feet planted but have their mind a little bit in the clouds? So I think that's wonderful.
DAVID SKORTON: I want to thank the panelists I want to thank all of you. And I want to thank Cornell Center for the Arts and Judith.
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Cornell President David Skorton moderates a discussion on the importance and impact of participatory and presentational art in the lives of the general population, and in particular, members of the academic community.
Panelists: Dr. Richard Kogan, Director of Medicine and Music Initiative, psychiatrist, and accomplished pianist; Dr. Carlyle Miller, Associate Dean of Student Affairs and Equal Opportunity Programs at Weill Cornell Medical College, and published poet; Misheaila Neil, Director of Performing Arts Programming, Elmira College; and Dr. David Shapiro, Clinical Professor of Psychiatry, Attending Psychiatrist, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, Chairman of the Music and Medicine Initiative, and amateur musician.
The event was part of "The Arts + Mental Health: The Impact on the Human Spirit," a two-day exploration, through conversation and performance, of the roles that the arts play in mental health, June 2-3, 2011.
Hosted by the Cornell Council for the Arts in collaboration with the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.