HMS student brings music to the community during free time

  • Published
  • By Capt. Amelia Leonard
  • 66th Air Base Group Public Affairs

HANSCOM AIR FORCE BASE, Mass. -- Experts agree that music is good for the brain, and 11-year-old Yuzuki Olson is using her musical talents to brighten the spirits of others here.

“If you want to firm up your body, head to the gym,” according to Johns Hopkins Medicine. “If you want to exercise your brain, listen to music.”

Yuzuki, the daughter of Sophie Olson, who works in the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center-Hanscom’s Airspace Mission Planning Division, has helped gym-goers with both in recent months by playing piano in the 66th Force Support Squadron Fitness and Sports Center.

“Just practicing at home is not fun, but if she has a goal or somebody who listens to her play, it motivates her a lot,” said Sophie Olson. “She found a way to help others and provide some fun through her piano performances.”

Yuzuki has also played at a Hearts Apart event last year and in front of a Macy’s department store in downtown Boston.

At the Hearts Apart event, little children danced while she was playing, Sophie Olson said.

“I enjoy it, and I see other people enjoying the music,” Yuzuki said. “It makes people happy, and even some people dance around while listening.”

According to her mom, Yuzuki found an interest in piano from playing a keyboard in a Hanscom Youth Center classroom. People started requesting she play something, and it made her feel good that she could do something for other people.

Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, pain, improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness and memory, as cited on the John’s Hopkins website.

“There are few things that stimulate the brain the way music does,” according to John’s Hopkins. “If you want to keep your brain engaged throughout the aging process, listening to or playing music is a great tool. It provides a total brain workout.”

Yuzuki recognizes the positive mental benefits and says her music can be therapy for those listening.

“Even if they don’t listen that closely to my music, it can still make for a good background,” she said.

The Hanscom Middle School fifth grader said she hopes to be an Air Force engineer someday and is already exhibiting the Air Force core values of service before self and excellence in all she does.