‘Oncology & Strings’ is the 1st ever lecture-concert series launched for advocating instrumental music therapy using the acoustically and structurally unique ancient Indian classical instrument, the ‘Veena’. Apart from the lecture-concerts, through 'Oncology and Strings’ Tara lends free downloadable version of the her ‘Veena’ recital clips performed in specific Raga/tunes to several palliative care centres and NGOs across India and the United states for patients with stress/anxiety/mood disturbance/depression during their chemo/radiation therapy treatments and to patients with neurological debilitations. Tara gives invited lecture-concerts to palliative care physicians, oncologists, residents, fellows, medical students and other health care providers advocating the importance of using ‘Veena’ in music therapy clinically and academically (clinical trials).

Why ?
Throughout Tara’s medical school and international clinical rotations, she received phenomenal support for her profound interest in music and oncology, she was introduced to an acclaimed music therapist-researcher by her mentor, the advisory dean of Harvard Medical School. As a child, Tara saw her maternal grandmother with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL)suffering from excruciating back pain finding solace in classical music and as a medical student, Tara was inspired by the stories of patients whose treatment team, she was blessed to be part of.

The diagnosis of cancer deeply affects the many psychological parameters of patients and their families. A string of negative emotions such as the anxiety of recurrence, guilt, shame, anger, depression, mood disturbance is commonly experienced by the patients in addition to the pain. The shreds of evidence based on the published research papers from randomized controlled trials, consistency proves that patients with cancer may benefit from music. She realized that lions share listened to music and they are open to fresh music. Instrumental music has many advantages over the vocal. The Physics of the veenais unique for the innumerable harmonics produced by her which makes the sound of the strings closest in harmonic content to the human voice. Learning from a casual conversation that, their student doctor can play a classical musical instrument, her patients were curious to listen to the sound of the ‘Veena’.

These moments helped her come up with the idea of introducing the sound of this instrument to people who are seeking for fresh music for palliative medicine. In the era of evidence-based medicine, there are no clinical trials done on the sound of the Veena in reducing pain, anxiety and mood disturbance in palliative medicine. For that, it was essential to introduce this instrument to more Oncologists, residents and medical students.

Total of 6 sessions covering the most prestigious medical colleges, cancer centers and conferences all across the world in a span of 7 months. The debut session was at Stanford University Campus on March 17, 2019, and her audience included the Oncologists at the Stanford University, residents, fellows, medical students, nurses, and music lovers. The highlight of the event was that one of the audience, a native American family is buying a Veena as they found the ‘Veena’ as a healing tool. The National launch was an invited lecture-recital at Manipal University, Karnataka, India and the event was chaired by Professor and Head of Palliative Medicine. Tara has been invited as the chief guest and panel member to perform a recital at India’s premier cancer center since it’s establishment - Tata Memorial Hospital for their world mental health day program and world palliative and hospice care day and. Tara delivered a TEDx talk and a performance titled 'Oncology and Strings’ on her journey through most highly demanding professions, Medicine and Music.

“This is my journey towards finding myself and music is the vehicle in this pursuit. I am deeply grateful to the immense support I receive in advocating the instrument, the ‘Veena’ for the ones in need. I will be blessed if I could make a difference in one person’s life through my ‘Veena’” - Tara

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