Singer Luke Harrison has a special gift – a beautiful melodic voice. But what’s even more impressive is how the Queensland teenager uses his precious gift. Luke, 15, from Brisbane, spends his spare time visiting hospital and aged care centres where he brightens up everyone’s day by singing to them. One of the recent patients who benefited from this and whose spirits were lifted was my mother, Dr Jacqueline Kerr.
Through my mother, I listened to Luke’s songs on YouTube and later asked him to write about what he thought were the therapeutic benefits of music. This is what he had to say. Like his voice, it is from the heart.
For me, music is a way of expressing my feelings and thoughts. It is a way that I can connect with people on an emotional level. I have been surrounded by music ever since I can remember. I am grateful that it has always been a part of my life. Music is inspiring and makes me feel good.
Research shows music reduces stress and anxiety and helps people feel calm and relaxed.
Music increases overall health. It restores. It’s therapeutic. For me, it keeps me centred.
As a performer, when I see my audience responding it makes me feel great and the connection is like fuel. It energises and empowers. It has a two-fold effect – when my audience is happy, it makes me happy.
I remember as a small child, my Mum would regularly send me to the piano as I was so full of life and energy. She would tell me to go and play abstract piano so I started to play by air and make up tunes. It was an outlet. A way to express myself. Today, I still play the piano and also drums, percussion and the cello. Music is my language, my passion.
Singing is one of my favourite ways to share this passion. I have performed at large events including the closing ceremony of the 2018 Commonwealth Games and also at intimate events. No matter the size of the crowd every performance is important and my goal is always to touch lives, even if it is just one life.
As Ambassador of Gold Coast Charity Paradise Kids, I sing at events, venues and hospitals. In hospitals, I get to see the therapeutic benefits of music. Music is a wonder drug. I have seen first-hand the comfort, strength and happiness music brings to patients. Research shows that music has been proven to reduce symptoms of depression, schizophrenia, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, chronic pain and improves cognitive function.
Last Christmas, after a performance at Robina Hospital an elderly patient approached me who was touched by my music. We talked for a while and I said I would send her some music I had just recorded. I have kept in touch with her and she has been incredibly supportive of my journey which has meant a lot.
As Ambassador of Paradise Kids, I also sing at Hopewell Hospice. These patients are terminally ill and most cannot leave their beds or rooms, but they can hear me. I know my music has had a positive effect and also a source of comfort for their families. My Grandfather spent the last 10 weeks of his life at Hopewell 7 years ago. We sang to him for hours at his bedside during his final days which brought him peace. I sang at his funeral, ‘You Raise Me Up.’ That was actually my first, public solo performance. I was 8 years old.
Last year I suffered an avulsion fracture while running at school. Whilst in accident and emergency awaiting X-ray results, a nurse found out I was a singer and asked me to sing for her. Filled with pain killers I sang ‘This Is The Moment.’ Before I knew it, nurses, doctors, and patients were entering my room to listen. Someone spotted it on my social media and next minute it was on channel 9 news.
Music has an effect. It’s powerful. I am grateful for all the moments, and that I can contribute and continue to make a difference in people’s lives.
Check out Luke’s YouTube channel here.