An instrumental addition to music therapy

‘Music to their ears’ is an expression that is often used when something good happens but for patients and families at The Children’s Hospital at Westmead the addition of a new music therapist is quite literally music to their ears.

For the first time at Westmead, music therapy is able to be offered to patients from all areas of the Hospital, with new graduate music therapist, Ivy Wallace, recently being welcomed to the team.

Across The Children’s Hospital at Westmead, Sydney Children’s Hospital, Randwick and Bear Cottage music therapy is regularly used as a tool to help sick children cope with their illness, deal with the stress and anxiety associated with being in hospital, distract from pain and give children an outlet to freely express their emotion.

This special therapy is often delivered through instrument playing, song writing and composition, singing and performance and creative improvisation while innovations in technology have also given Music Therapists the power to engage children through musical applications on iPads.

“Music is a familiar, engaging and meaningful medium that everyone can connect to, regardless of age, condition, background or ability.

Through the art of music we can tailor therapy to a child’s individual needs in a way that gives them a way to express their feelings while taking the attention away from their treatment and giving them a chance to be a kid rather than a patient,” Roxanne McLeod, CHW Music Therapist, said.

Extending the music therapy service at Westmead was made possible thanks to funds raised through the Celebration Sing Out, an annual fundraising concert organised by the Collegiate of Specialist Music Educators.

Roxanne said the generous donation will enable the music therapy team to see hundreds more patients every year.

“For many years, music therapy has been limited to specific caseloads, but we know the need for our service reaches far beyond that. Now with Ivy on staff, those other high-need referrals will be able to be met, and the reach of music therapy can extend right throughout the hospital,” Roxanne said.

Referrals for music therapy are made through a patient’s treating team and are assessed based on clinical priority. Families are encouraged to speak with their medical team to find out more.