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Music Therapy

According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional.”  According to patients, parents and practitioners, Music Therapy is “Awesome!”

Beacon Children’s Hospital introduced Music Therapy (MT) in January 2016.  Units with access to MT are the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU),  Pediatric Unit (Peds)/ Pediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU)/ Pediatric Hematology and Oncology (PHO). A Board Certified Music Therapist (MT-BC) has been trained at the bachelors or master’s degree level, completed a 1200 hour internship, passed the music therapy board exam,  and learned to integrate music to enhance hospitalization and family centered care.

Infants in the NICU who receive music therapy have been found to gain more weight, keep more oxygen in their bodies, and experience shorter lengths of stay than those who do not receive MT. Parents are also involved by making personalized recordings with their heartbeats for their babies, and being taught massage techniques with music to help their infant gain these same benefits.

As a part of the Peds/PICU/PHO units, MT helps promote “normalcy” of environment by providing the pediatric patient the opportunity for control, choices and coping. A Music Therapist can teach a child new coping techniques, help with  pain management, and give them the opportunity to express themselves when they might not know how say what they are feeling.  Parents of pediatric patients have found that MT is helpful to their child, helpful in reducing their own stress and provided opportunities to promote family bonding, even while in the hospital environment.

Examples of NICU Music Therapy Goals:

  • Help infant learn to handle their surroundings
  • Shortened hospital stay
  • Improve breathing
  • Help parent/infant interaction
  • Lower stress
  • Increase non-nutritive sucking
  • Weight gain
  • Increased feeding
  • Stabilization of Heart Rate
  • Decreased procedural pain
  • Increased quality sleep
  • Help them eat more

Examples of NICU Music Therapy Interventions:

  • Multimodal Stimulation with Music (music and infant massage)
  • Teach parents how to do Multimodal Stimulation with Music
  • Live music with kangaroo Care
  • Create personalized recording
  • Provide age appropriate recorded music
  • Help sooth/calm
  • Developmental Play

Examples of Pediatrics, PICU, and PHO Music Therapy Goals:

  • Promote sense of control
  • Allow for choices
  • Improve quality of life
  • Normalize environment
  • Procedural support
  • Improve mood
  • Increase coping
  • Develop coping skills
  • Self-expression
  • Anxiety reduction
  • Decrease pain
  • Distract from pain
  • Decrease stress
  • Increase relaxation
  • Improve communication
  • Explore feelings
  • Process emotions
  • Emotional support
  • Family support
  • Promote self-awareness/self-reflection
  • Promote socialization
  • Decrease isolation/loneliness
  • Increase range of motion
  • Increase fine/gross motor skills
  • Sensory stimulation
  • Counseling
  • Family session
  • Emotional support
  • Empathic listening

Examples of Pediatrics, PICU, and PHO Music therapy interventions

  • Musical improvisation
  • Music listening
  • Song writing
  • Instrument Playing
  • Learning a new instrument
  • Singing

For more information about music therapy at Beacon Children’s Hospital email or call 574.647.6322.