Music as Therapy
I’ve been a hospital entertainer with the Starlight Children’s Foundation for most of my adult life. In fact, I was taking the bus to UCLA hospital in Los Angeles before I had a driver’s license. I have seen first hand the benefits of music therapy and the impact that it has on children, parents and medical professionals. Not all music is music therapy, but music in and of itself is therapeutic.
The general job description of a music therapist includes developing and providing a music therapy treatment plan to assist patients in coping with the stress of hospitalization, illness, injury, death and/or loss. Programming elements are designed to reduce distress, increase adaptive coping as well as protect and enhance developmental integrity.
In my own words ….to entertain, distract and engage the patient. I have been in the rooms of children in the PICU, ICU, and Bone Marrow Transplant unit. I have seen joy in a parents face seeing their child shake a maraca and have had medical professionals encourage me to stay in the room and play my guitar while they performed a medical procedure.
Using music as a tool to bring a smile to a child in need is one of the most inspiring and defining moments in my life.