“Throughout history,” Dr. Jacek Mostwin of Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions notes, “music has played an important role in healing. The ancient Greeks often played music to restore health to a person whose mental and physical harmony were out of tune.” Louis Armstrong knew and cared a lot about the restorative powers of music. He once sent a wide range of recordings-not only jazz-to the obstetrics division of a New Orleans Hospital to help ease the rhythms of birth. Later, when Louis was a patient at New York’s Beth Israel hospital, he was very impressed with the medical staff and became interested in setting up a program of music therapy for children.
His generosity of spirit was not limited to his music: “I want to start a foundation to give back to people some of the goodness I’ve had from them all of these years,” the trumpeter once said. And so, as part of Armstrong’s living legacy, the Louis Armstrong Educational Foundation-powered by Phoebe Jacobs, a longtime friend of Louis and Lucille Armstrong–established the Louis and Lucille Armstrong Music Therapy Program at Beth Israel Hospital 11 years ago.