The MIR Project

Proposal and aims

Can the arts be used in an accessible, affordable, transversal way to provide patient-centred care that will improve their health and well-being?

After four years spent observing the amazing effects of live music on countless patients during the hospital interventions organised by Música en Vena, the association’s director at the time, Juan Alberto García de Cubas, now president of Cultura en Vena, initiated a research project to find scientific evidence of those effects. And so, in 2016, the MIR Project was born: in Spanish, the programme is called Músicos Internos Residentes, a play on the better-known meaning of the MIR acronym—Médicos Internos Residentes, doctors who are completing their specialty training—meant to highlight the goal of making professional musicians part of the regular hospital staff.

The MIR Project aims to clinically prove that music has a positive impact
on patient health, using young unemployed
musicians to do so.

“We had organised hundreds of concerts, worked with thousands of musicians, and benefited many more patients who had been transformed by the power of music. That’s why we decided, via the Música en Vena association, to undertake seven unprecedented clinical studies with the fundamental cooperation of Hospital 12 de Octubre, after getting approval from the hospital’s Ethics Committee for Clinical Research,” says Juan Alberto García de Cubas, who continues to spearhead the MIR Project from his new position at Fundación Cultura en Vena.

The MIR Project was designed to have a triple impact:

Hospital humanisation: improve clinical protocols through the experience of live music offered by a first-class professional musician.

Clinical research: participate in the search for scientific evidence of how music benefits people’s health.

Musician employability: create new circuits that offer innovative career opportunities for young unemployed musicians.

Within Cultura en Vena’s general aim of implementing artistic practices in hospital settings, the MIR Project has the more specific goal of normalising the presence of musicians in clinical protocols, with scientific evidence to support and justify the need for live music in certain medical treatments.

Patients improve, doctors are surprised by the results, and musicians find an expressive new
way to earn a living: a necessary project.

Why is a Bach partita necessary
in intensive care, a soleá in a neonatal ward, or a
jazz standard in neurology?

What does the MIR Project hope to achieve?

The MIR Project has five main aims:

– To demonstrate the positive effects of music on hospitalised patients

– To prove that live music is an effective complementary therapy within the
protocols for humanising healthcare settings

To create job opportunities for young unemployed

– To integrate music in the scientific method as a means of improving the experience of illness and quality of care perceived by patients, family members and healthcare workers

– To create new outlets for music, art and culture

In 2016, seven clinical research studies were begun in the Intensive Care,
Neonatal, Rehabilitation, Haematology, Cardiology, Occupational Medicine and Neurology departments at Hospital Universitario 12 de Octubre in Madrid, after being approved by the hospital’s Ethics Committee for Clinical Research. To this end, 46 Musicians In Residence were hired for a three-year period.

In the following pages, we will see how the research was carried out and how the same model could be adopted by other hospitals in Spain.