Music therapy is an allied health service that uses music intervention to achieve functional outcomes. In the hospital, music therapists help patients of all ages cope with their medical treatment, manage their pain, express their feelings, as well as achieve rehabilitation goals. At KKH, the music therapists work with CHAMPs team, comprising art therapist and hospital play specialists, under the Rehabilitation Department.
Music works on many levels, mentally, physically, emotionally and socially. Unique outcomes are possible because music is a powerful non-verbal and non-invasive medium. Within the music therapy process, a therapeutic relationship is formed between the patient and music therapist, who is constantly assessing and supporting the current needs of each referred patient. Music therapy can help provide:
- Emotional Support
- Symptom Relief
- Creative Self-expression
- Relaxation Strategies
- Early Intervention
- Procedural Support (diversion)
- Neurologic Rehabilitation
- Family Support
- Pain Management
- End of Life Care
Music Therapy at the Bedside
On the referral of medical consultants, alongside nurses or other professional staff, music therapy services are provided to both the paediatric and women's patients who are experiencing difficulty during their hospital stay. Music has been shown to be supportive for those who are experiencing pain, feeling anxious, lacking motivation to complete rehabilitation, having depressed mood, challenged with communication, having difficulty coping with illness or being in hospital, or those with a change of brain or physical states due to accident, trauma or disease.
There is no requirement for prior music experience or music ability to benefit from music therapy. Patients are not taught to sing or play an instrument, but are engaged in motivating music experiences toward meeting clinical goals. The session may include instrument playing, singing, song-writing, breathing exercises, lyric discussions as well as movement to music. Music therapists not only support patients' medical goals while they are in the hospital, but also enhance their quality of life during their stay.
The Alpine Blossoms Support Group Choir
The Alpine Blossoms Breast Cancer Support Group Chair was started in 2010 to promote the reintegration of survivors back into one's daily life through singing and music appreciation. Facilitated by KKH music therapists, the choir promotes peer support towards acceptance of life changes. With the unwavering dedication and support from nurses at the Breast Cancer Unit, the choir has carried on over the past five years and in 2014 the choir was opened to women patients of KKH with any kind of cancer diagnosis.
Every month, the Alpine Blossoms Support Group Choir brings short evening concerts into the women's wards. This is to promote a healing musical environment for both patients and caregivers to relax, socialize, and experience solace.
Music Therapy Myths
Myth 1: Music Therapy's main role is to entertain patients so they don't get bored.
Fact: A music therapy session may look like leisure music-making or play. Many people do find music enjoyable, and music therapists are able to use that positive experience to help patients of all ages cope with being in hospital, manage their pain, express their feelings, as well as achieve rehabilitation goals.
Myth 2: There is a particular style of music that is more therapeutic than others.
Fact: Contraryto what may be commonly thought, all styles of music may be useful for creating a positive change in a patient's life. The music therapist takes into account each individual's preferences, needs for treatment, and goals to design the types of music used. Research continues patient-preferred music, whether it's "Gangnam Style", (Feng Fei Fei) or P. Ramlee, played or sung live to match the patient's needs.
Myth 3: One must be musically talented or have taken music lessons to benefit from music therapy.
Fact: Music Therapy is about the process that unfolds during music experiences and not the actual musical product. As long as patients are open to exploring, the Music therapist will then tailor the music interventions to each patient's need.
Who Can Be a Music Therapist?
Music Therapists in local hospitals have a Degree in Music Therapy, have successfully completed supervised clinical training and maintain a professional credential, for example MT-BC. They are trained to assess, implement, evaluate and document treatment objectives towards measurable non-musical outcomes. Medical music therapists also complete advanced specialized post-graduate training, e.g. Neonatal (NICU), Neurological MT, or Hospice and Palliative MT.
||Senior Music Therapist
Masters in Music Therapy, training in NICU music therapy
Board-Certified Music Therapist, CBMT, USA (MT-BC)