By Whitehall Healthy Reporter staff | September 2021 … During times of stress, music can provide healing powers by reducing stress and anxiety, according to health experts.
Whitehall reporters recently had the opportunity to interview Miss Sophie Fortunato, a professional violinist who shared how music and the arts have helped her manage her own stress.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Miss Fortunato said she found that playing the violin gives her some stress relief.
“At times, playing the violin can make me more stressed out because it’s my job,” she said. “During the pandemic, though, since performances have mostly stopped, playing the violin can help me feel less stress.”
Other ways that Miss Fortunato said she deals with stress is by talking to friends and family, listening to music, and writing in a journal. Because of COVID, she finds that playing violin has also been able to help her reduce stress. She shared that the way she plays a piece of music changes as her mood or stress level changes.
“I could play the same piece of music, but it could sound different depending on my mood,” she said. “Even though the notes are exactly the same, the way I play them changes. I play certain music to match my mood or something that helps change my mood.”
During their interview, reporters were able to listen to Miss Fortunato played students a piece of music called “Estrellita” (My Little Star), arranged by composer Jascha Heifetz.
“Listening to her play the music made us feel calm,” Jayni shared. “I found the song online and listen to it home whenever I’m feeling stressed.”
When asked why she chose to play classical music, Miss Fortunato said her family listened to it a lot when she was a child.
“I always loved it,” she said. “I love the history behind it. I like finding out about the piece and the composer. It has so much meaning.”
She said the violin was the only instrument she wanted to play as a child.
“I wanted to become a violinist because when I was little I heard a family friend play the violin and I fell in love with it,” she said. “So I begged my mom and she finally let me.”
Miss Fortunato said she hopes to keep playing in an orchestra and also has plans to return to school to get a degree in music therapy. This will allow her to work with kids to help them reduce stress and anxiety by using music as a tool, she said.