From part 1 [Read part 1 here]: “Another night in the hospital. He felt sad and downtrodden, more so than he had ever felt in his life. After lunch on that second day, he was lying down doing nothing, bored, tired, and hurting when somebody knocked on the door. Nobody knocks on the door around here, he thought to himself, who could that be. He looked over and saw something like a flying head, sticking into the room. Odd, other people simply come in, he was getting used to that already. It was this woman with a smile on her face.”
“Hello, I’m from the music therapy team. Can I come to play some music with you?” were her first words. Music therapy… he had never heard of such a thing. But he knew about music, he liked music! Sometimes at home, he would listen to the music of his parents. But his favorite song was actually something he first heard on the radio, a song called “Dance Monkey.” So he nodded and this person who wanted to play music came into the room. She had a guitar with her and was carrying some other things. She came in, washed her hands, and put on a robe as well as gloves on. He thought it was weird that she would put a robe on if they were just going to play music.
Anyways, he did not know what to expect. Was she going to play music for him? What song would she play? Was this going to be like music on the radio? She approached the bed and asked for his name. She looked friendly but the whole situation was unexpected to him. This new person also talked to his mom, he remembers her explaining something about music therapy. He did not actually pay much attention to that until she directed her attention back at him. She asked him if he liked music and he said yes.
“Which songs do you like? Or what kind of music?” she asked.
He replied that he often listened to the popular songs among his friends and also the music his parents listened to. He still felt odd but was kind of relieved that this new person did not have any needles.
After a few other questions, he mentioned he liked “Dance Monkey.” To his surprise, she said she actually knew the song and could play it! “Do you want me to play the song?” she asked. Wow, somebody asking for what he wants for once! He agreed and so she sat down with her guitar. She handed him something like looked like an egg but also sounded like a shaker. She said that he could play along if he wanted.
So she started playing the guitar and singing, and as she looked at him he felt the need to play along. He used the shaker to follow with the rhythm. Music gave him a respite, and he felt as if the nocuous thing in him faded from his perception. It was only him and the music. He smiled for the first time since he arrived in the hospital.
He ended up staying in the hospital for 2 whole months. After that second day when he first met the music therapist, he found out he could see her a couple of times a week. Since then all that he wanted was for her to come to visit him. Not only did they play songs but he also found out that he could learn how to play the ukulele, he could write his own songs, he could improvise, and more! The last thing he expected going into the hospital was that he was going to learn so much about music. He felt scared and unsure about the situation but the music made it so much better.
Music changed his whole experience of being in the hospital. His family and he could not have been more grateful for that.
There are hundreds of stories like the one above. Music and art have a true impact. To support the work of music therapists in children’s hospitals consider making a donation here so more children have access to music therapy.
*This story is fictitious and any resemblance with reality is pure coincidence.