Music therapy for cancer patients at Westmead

Music therapy is the planned and creative use of music by a trained professional to achieve calmness and relaxation based on a patient's emotional responses to music.

Music forms a natural part of children's everyday lives and they respond well to music. Children associate music with positive experiences and find it highly motivating and enjoyable.

How music helps

  • offer distraction during painful or invasive procedures
  • help with pain management
  • if they are focused on a favourite song, or a tempo that is fast, slow, or suddenly stops or starts, they might pay less attention to a needle prick or cannula being removed.

Children who are feeling homesick are comforted by familiar songs that remind them of home. They are also empowered by having control and choice in the hospital setting, such as between instruments or music styles.

There is the opportunity for self-expression,  release of emotions during stressful times and improved coping strategies. 

Meet our music therapists

Roxanne McLeod and Lulu Xiaoyan are our registered music therapists at The Children's Hospital at Westmead. The music therapists try to meet every child and family.

They will prioritise patients receiving music therapy daily based on length of stay, whether a child is coping and their response to treatment.

If your child has not seen a music therapist during their hospital stay and would like to, please ask the nurses to page the music therapists.

Registered music therapists are formally trained in both therapy and music. They complete a tertiary course in music therapy which is accredited with the Australian Music Therapy Association Inc.

What we do in music therapy

  • sing songs
  • play instruments
  • write songs
  • make musical sounds 
  • listen to music
  • music technology 

Children who can benefit from music therapy

Although all patients can benefit from music therapy, some children may need it more than others including:

  • undergoing medical or painful procedures
  • having surgery
  • withdrawn or distressed
  • dealing with or recovering from trauma
  • intensive care
  • experiencing pain
  • patients with a life-threatening illness
  • in isolation
  • in hospital for a long period of time
  • in rehabilitation programs
  • palliative care

Contact the music therapists

Roxanne McLeod

 (02) 7825 2579

Pager number: 6426

Lulu Xiaoyan

(02) 7825 2579

Pager number: 7063

Last updated Wednesday 26th June 2024