Music therapy helps sick children heal
April 16 2013, 4:03 pm

Playing music from a young age – on a recorder, piano or simply pots and pans  is something we all take for granted. 

Most children make and hear music at home, in kindergarten, through school, and develop happy memories associated with their favourite tunes. It’s a familiar part of life for many children and crucial for their development.

“Hospital can be an unfamiliar and stressful environment and Music Therapy can provide children with familiar musical experiences that reduce stress and promote positive coping,” explained The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Music Therapy Team Leader, Beth Dun.

“Music can engage even the sickest child … if you can hear sounds or feel vibration you can benefit from music therapy.”

Beth recalled a story of a little girl in Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU), who had experienced severe burns. She was heavily bandaged and due to her injuries at the time she was unable to speak. The Music Therapist created a special personalised music program that encouraged this little girl to engage in sessions by eye pointing to indicate her song choices. This helped to calm and reassure her in what could have been a stressful and scary time.  

While the RCH Music Therapists work everyday miracles on the wards and in waiting rooms, it’s the support of the Music Therapy Auxiliary that has helped the program to flourish.

Beth said: “I’m very grateful to the Music Therapy Auxiliary for their hard work and support over the years. The money they have raised has enabled the Music Therapy team to provide direct programs to a huge number of children and families across the 20 years the Auxiliary has been supporting us.”  

Having raised more than $250,000 over 20 years, the Music Therapy Auxiliary was originally set up by Valma Edwards and Barbara Dun, who were inspired by Beth’s work with sick children. While the Music Therapy Auxiliary has recently decided to wind down operations, their legacy will continue through a vibrant music therapy program that is embedded into the hospital’s commitment to create a real difference for sick kids. 

“With the help of supporters like the Music Therapy Auxiliary, we can make a real positive difference in sick children’s lives, and enhance the high level of patient and family-centred care that the RCH is renowned for,” said Beth. 

To support world-classpatient and family-centred care like Music Therapy at the RCH, donate here