An image of a man conducting a group of musicians
Credit: Orlando Sentinel

The Royal Philharmonic Orchestra partnered with the Dr. Phillips Centre for the Performing Arts and AdventHealth to bring STROKESTRA®, a rehabilitation programme utilsing creative music-making as part of a formal clinical recovery program, to Orlando.

Find out more about our STROKESTRA® programme below:

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The learning exchange program, which took place in Steinmetz Hall, Orlando in September 2022, brought RPO musicians together with stroke survivors, caregivers and AdventHealth clinicians to develop new ideas and activities to complement treatment delivery.

"We have seen remarkable evidence of the benefits of using music as a therapeutic medium to support recovery, alleviate symptoms and promote motivation in stroke patients, through the STROKESTRA® programme," said Lisa Rodio, Director of Community & Education at the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. “As we continue this work, partnerships with organisations such as AdventHealth and the Dr. Phillips Centre are vitally important to the continued refinement of the programme, allowing us to collaborate with our peers in the medical and arts industries to share our research and develop new techniques to improve practice to the benefit of patients and their caregivers in both countries. We are grateful for our partnership with the Stavros Niarchos Foundation (SNF), whose continued support allows us to engage in important international collaborations like this one.”

Pioneered by the RPO in collaboration with Hull & East Riding Community Stroke Service, the STROKESTRA® programme uses specially designed techniques delivered by musicians and clinicians to facilitate rehabilitation depending on individual patient needs - including physical therapy, communication, social therapy and mood-lifting. Participants and their family caregivers are encouraged to conduct fellow participants and musicians, copy rhythms, and create and perform brand new pieces of music with different instruments, including violins, guitars and drums. No prior musical experience is required and the instruments and activities provided take all stroke disabilities (physical, cognitive, social, emotional, communicative) into consideration.

In the programme’s pilot study, patients achieved clinically significant improvements in Stroke Impact Scale results, with participants reporting improvements in social (91%), emotional (86%), cognitive (86%) and physical (71%) recovery.

An image of a pianist playing a grand piano with a group of people sitting around it. There is a man conducting the group.

Credit: Orlando Sentinel

“Our vision Arts For Every Life® began with the inclusion of an arts and wellness commitment with AdventHealth and, with our existing relationship with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, this opportunity aligned perfectly,” said Kathy Ramsberger, President and CEO of the Dr. Phillips Center. “We aim to create partnerships that inspire a meaningful difference in everyone’s life. In this case, the stroke survivors as well as everyone else had the opportunity to experience the outcome.”

During the two-day visit, members of the orchestra and AdventHealth Rehab and Music Therapy teams shared practices and ideas, before engaging in a workshop with local stroke survivors. In addition to the workshop, participants’ families and local individuals with interests in music and stroke therapy were invited to hear about the STROKESTRA® program and experienced a short interactive performance by the workshop participants.

"The healing power of music is incredible," said Dr. Indrani Acosta, a stroke neurologist at AdventHealth. "We know participation in music therapy can help stroke patients overcome depression, and even help some patients recover the ability to move, think, and speak. We are very pleased to participate in the STROKESTRA® program with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra at the Dr. Phillips Center, which I hope will open up more opportunities for our community to experience the positive effects of music on wellness.”


"The healing power of music is incredible. We know participation in music therapy can help stroke patients overcome depression, and even help some patients recover the ability to move, think, and speak," she said after taking part.

Stroke neurologist Dr Indrani Acosta who took part in the Orlando sessions.

Medscape UK have explored the origins of our STROKESTRA® programme in an in-depth article on their website:

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