A couple of years ago, Raul Flores was parking cars at the Nix Hospital downtown, going to school at San Antonio College, and playing guitar as a hobby.
Today, he’s moved up -- literally.
Most days, he takes the elevator from the parking garage to patient rooms, pulls out his classical guitar, and entertains those in pain.
It’s musical therapy and no one doubts that it helps patients deal better with their hospitalization.
Some, like Flores, even believe it does more.
“I typically bring a combination of Latin jazz and Flamenco. Some of the patients enjoy that, some of them enjoy pop music, so I'll take pop music and make Latin jazz renditions of it,” he said.
Patients like Jose Capo, who is in a great deal of pain from a knee replacement, find happiness in his hospital room while listening to the beautiful notes flying from Flores’ guitar.
“It's amazing how the mind will heal and relax, like you said, in music,” noted Capo, who was once an occupational therapist himself.
He and others with medical backgrounds are big believers in musical therapy.
The Nix Hospital auditioned Flores in 2012 when he approached them about trying it out.
The musician had experienced the process while playing his guitar for his grandfather, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
The family noticed an improvement in his health.
Now Flores is looking forward to pursuing his dreams full time as a career, with plans to attend the University of the Incarnate Word and earn a degree in Music Therapy.