This week on the blog, we are sharing a preview of the chapter Dr. Amber Robins wrote in the latest installment of The Chronicles of Women in White Coats! Keep reading to learn more about her background with music:


As a kid, I saw many family members in the hospital. The music that I would hear when I got on the floors of the hospital would resound in my ear. The beeping of IV machines is what I remember the most. When I was young, I grew up knowing that my grandmother struggled with depression. She was in and out of the hospital and later stayed in the nursing home. She was my very first nursing home patient. I would go visit her and later would work as a volunteer in her nursing home. She would always sing me a song from the hymnal. She taught me so much during those years. She taught my sister and I the importance of serving others. 

While she was in the nursing home, we would meet many of her friends who lived with her there. My sister and I often found ourselves as the source of entertainment. We would play games with my grandmother and her friends during their free time and also play the piano when we were allowed. During that time, I didn’t quite understand all of the illnesses that her co-residents had in the nursing home. I remember seeing someone who had large legs which now I know was from lymphedema. There was another nursing home resident who was not able to talk and express her feelings. Years later I found that to be due to aphasia likely caused by a stroke. Yet even with their physical limitations, when my sister and I began to play music each and every one of them would light up. They would want us to play more and sometimes even gave us specific song requests. Music at that time gave us community. 

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As I got older, I began to dabble even more in other types of music. I began playing the alto saxophone in middle school. I started with the simple songs as was done with all beginners, but later I found that I wanted to do more. I wanted to play jazz. I eventually was able to do that once I got into high school. I played in three bands in high school: the symphonic band, advanced band, and the jazz band. I was the only girl who played the alto saxophone so that meant that I was one of the few who was in the jazz band with all the guys. With my development in music, I got into the gifted and talented program where monthly I would be pulled out of my regular class and taught private lessons to improve my craft. I thought as an aspiring doctor having this extra dexterity would allow me to be a more proficient surgeon one day, so my dreams of becoming a doctor and musician ran hand in hand. 

When I came to the end of my high school years, I began to talk to my music teachers about my aspirations. I knew I was gifted in music, but I wasn’t sure if I should pursue it more. My piano teacher, Ms. Rochelle, spoke with me about this. Though I became known on a college campus as a high school student who could play classical and jazz on both piano and saxophone just as well as the college kids, she told me that I would need to follow my dreams of becoming a doctor. She told me to major in Biology as my sister had done and go away to a college that would support me in that. But, she also told me to not let my music fall astray. It was a mixed message, but the focus was clear. If I wanted to become a doctor, I would have to focus whole heartedly on that and make music my hobby. Little did I know that that hobby too would go away. 


To finish reading Dr. Robins’ chapter and many more like it, you can purchase The Chronicles of Women in White Coats 4 by clicking here.

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