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Robert Lerman Memorial Music Library Fund

The Robert Lerman Memorial Music Library Fund at the Norton Healthcare Foundation

Music Therapy

The idea of music being an influence that could affect health and behavior is at least as old as the writings of Aristotle and Plato.  The 20th century discipline of music therapy began after World War I and World War II when community musicians of all types, both amateur and professional, went to Veterans hospitals around the country to play for the thousands of veterans suffering both physical and emotional trauma from the wars.  The patients' notable physical and emotional responses to music led the doctors and nurses to request the hiring of musicians by the hospitals.
(Reprinted with permission by the American Music Therapy Association, 8455 Colesville Road, #1000, Silver Spring, MD 20910 (


Dr. Robert Lerman

Dr. Robert Lerman, a pathologist at Norton Audubon Hospital for nearly 20 years, found great joy in music.  Music brought him a sense of relaxation and peace and consequently, he used it to help relieve his stress after working long hours at the hospital.  Music was such a vital part of Dr. Lerman's life that in addition to listening to classical music in his office and playing the piano for an hour each day, he also often sang his pathology reports into his dictaphone at the end of every shift.

Prompted by his love of music and his medical background, Dr. Lerman read many articles indicating that music may possibly reduce respiration rates, anxiety, depression and blood pressure.  The literature also indicated that music might increase the body's production of endorphins, which help ease pain, as well as proteins, which help speed healing.  In his own experiences with music, Dr. Lerman found these things to be true.

It is no wonder, then, that when he was diagnosed with liver cancer in 1999, Dr. Lerman decided to incorporate music therapy into his own treatment and even chose to listen to music through headphones while he was sedated during a lengthy surgery.

For Dr. Lerman and his family, as for many people facing illness or medical challenges, the battle against cancer was an overwhelming and frightening time.  However, the music helped him be more comfortable and at ease, and provided solace to the family during some of their most difficult hours. 


The Vision

Dr. Lerman lost his battle with cancer, but his love of music lives on through his family.  They want to make similar musical experiences available to patients and their families at Norton Audubon Hospital. 

The Lerman family has a vision for a multi-phase project:

  • Phase 1 includes the renovation of space on the second floor of Norton Audubon Hospital to create an "oasis" where patients, their families, other visitors and staff can listen to music, meditate, and find rest from the anxiety and stress that often accompanies hospitalization.   Recorded music, books-on-tape, and relaxation tapes also will be available for patients to borrow and use at their bedside while in the hospital.
  • Phase 2 involves the talents of a music therapist - a board-certified professional to interact with patients and help them express their feelings through music.
  • Phase 3 will incorporate the talents of local musicians to bring live performances into the hospital for the enjoyment of patients, visitors and staff.

This combined music library and music therapy program will be the first hospital program of its particular kind in the Greater Louisville area.


The Robert Lerman Memorial Music Library Fund

To honor the spirit in which he lived, the Lerman Family established The Robert Lerman Memorial Music Library Fund at the Norton Healthcare Foundation.

More than ever, not-for-profit hospitals rely on the support of our community to help maintain a high level of care and these special services to help people when they need it most.  The contributions of individuals and businesses throughout our service area enables Norton Audubon and all of our adult hospitals, to continue to do just that - and the Robert Lerman Memorial Music Library is one example of how your generosity can be used to benefit others.

Here's how you can help: send your donation to the Robert Lerman Memorial Music Library Fund, c/o Norton Healthcare Foundation, Department 94465, Louisville, Kentucky 40294-4465.

Donations may be tax deductible and names of companies, organizations or individuals donating $250 or more will be permanently acknowledged in the music library.

For more information on the Norton Healthcare Foundation and the Robert Lerman Memorial Music Library, call (502) 629-8060.

Purchase items for the music library.



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