In the Key of Healing at Walter Reed

By Anne Applebaum : Tuesday, August 4, 2009Two years ago, someone called up Arthur Bloom with an unusual request: A badly wounded soldier, a former drummer, wanted to start playing music again. Trouble was, he’d lost a leg in Iraq and couldn’t use his old drum kit. Did Bloom have any ideas?  As it happened, Bloom did have some ideas. He is a classically trained pianist who can mix a rap song, a composer whose work has been performed by the Israel Chamber Orchestra, Def Jam records and everything in between. Tinkering with musical instruments is the kind of thing he does for fun. Bloom went to Walter Reed Army Medical Center, met the drummer and rigged up a drum set. Then he went back — again, and then again — until finally he founded a program, Musicorps, designed to teach music to disabled soldiers. It wasn’t just the appeal of “helping veterans” that drew Bloom in. It was also what he learned about what one of his proteges has memorably described as “the healing power of death metal.”


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