This Rhody Musician Brings Soothing Vibes to Local Hospital Patients

Chris Monti of Providence regularly visits Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children's Hospital and Bradley Hospital as part of the Healing Arts Program at Lifespan.

Photo courtesy of Kyle MacDonald/Lifespan.

Chris Monti knows the healing power of music; how it connects us in mysterious ways and calms the mind and soul.

That’s why the longtime musician takes part in the Healing Arts Program at Lifespan, using his guitar to bring songs to patients at Rhode Island Hospital, Hasbro Children’s Hospital and Bradley Hospital.


Photography by Rick Farrell.

“All this, me saying how great I am at this, it’s just because I love it,” says the Providence resident. “I feel so lucky to have this skill set … [and to] have this way of really directly helping people, in a very small way. The goal is really just to ease people’s stress.” 

When he’s not playing West African and Caribbean tunes with the Chris Monti Band and rock, surf and blues with the Devilfish, you’ll often find Monti strolling down hospital hallways, strumming his guitar, the music trickling down the halls and into patients’ rooms.

Hospitals can be tense and stressful environments, especially on the children’s floor, Monti says. He hopes his music helps patients, their family and staff members relax.

If a patient and their family invite Chris into their room, he’ll play a tune and then try out different songs to see how they respond. He lets the patient lead the conversation and the overall vibe.

Monti’s love for music started as a child in East Greenwich, when he first heard his father play “Rock Around the Clock” on the guitar. He knew right then he wanted to be a musician.


Monti’s latest album, Pandemic Baby. Photography courtesy of Chris Monti.

His first teacher taught him to learn on his own. He’d search out musicians, like blues and folk singer Paul Geremia and harmonica player Chris Turner, studying their hands as they played. The pair even taught him to play the harmonica, which he often incorporates into his own music.

He also credits Zen meditation as an influence. After he was introduced to it in the ’90s, meditation has helped bring balance into his life — the silence and tranquility of sitting still smooths out the jagged edges of screaming guitar solos and shouting into a microphone on stage.

Both his music education and Zen meditation are essential for him as a performer, he says. 

“I had this crazy music education that I couldn’t have gotten from school,” Monti says. “It made me the musician I am today.”


Photography by Pam Murray.