What is Therapeutic Music?
Live therapeutic bedside music is recognized as an enhancement to the healing process. The music is not a performance for entertainment, but rather a service that provides beneficial, therapeutic music that is focused and tailored to the individual patient.
- reduce blood pressure
- relieve anxiety
- calm and regulate heartbeat and respirations
- reduce body and muscle tension
- augment pain management
- provide time for contemplation
- promote a feeling of well-being and peace
- facilitate the transition process of the dying
Who might benefit from Therapeutic Music?
Music can be beneficial to those who are agitated, restless, apprehensive, crying, have high blood pressure or low oxygen saturation, are tense or in pain, have respiratory difficulties, pre- or post-surgery, conscious or sedated, or are near death. Those who are acutely ill or injured, chronically ill, critically ill, those suffering from dementia, premature babies, and even patients receiving dialysis have found music helpful. In some cases it is the family members who need the relief.
What is a Music Practitioner?
A Certified Music Practitioner brings live, acoustic, therapeutic music as a service to the bedside of the ill and dying. Our Music Practitioners play the small harp at the bedside with the intention of creating a healing environment that fosters comfort for managing pain and strengthening the spirit of the patient.
They provide a service, not entertainment, and are professionals who are trained to be responsible, trustworthy and unobtrusive. Their playing is not a performance or concert, but provides beneficial, therapeutic music that is tailored to the particular condition of the patient by changing melodies, modes, rhythms and dynamics, and modified based on the response of the patient.
The music is non-invasive and is participatory only in that the patient lends a listening ear. Thus a music practitioner works differently than a music therapist who aims to rehabilitate or cure.
(Music therapy is interactive with the patient, usually consists of multiple sessions, the goal is to rehabilitate or cure, patient progress is tracked, and uses either live or recorded music. Example: Senator Gabriel Giffords, who was shot in the head, received music therapy to help regain her speech.)
What is Expected of the Patient?
It is not necessary for the patient to interact physically or even verbally with the Music Practitioner. The patient should feel free to relax and even fall asleep. The music can be beneficial to patients during surgery and under anesthesia, and research shows that even unconscious and comatose patients can benefit from live therapeutic music.
No “appreciation” or response is expected from the patients. When they know they can just close their eyes and listen, it is often very pleasant for them. Patients are always free to say, no thank you. For patients that are unable to respond verbally, the Music Practitioner will carefully watch the patient and monitors for signs, and will modify their music accordingly.
The music practitioners will approach the patient, introduce themselves, briefly explain the service, and ask permission to play music. Patients are always free to decline. If the patient is unresponsive, they may obtain permission from a family member or the nurse.