Blog post written by guest music therapist Jessica Bogacik, MT-BC. Jessica is a Sam’s Fans-supported therapist offering music therapy at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. She wrote this blog post to tell us how she’s adapting to the situation with the coronavirus:
Wow! What unique times we are all living through right now. Music therapists across the country, and likely the world, are unable to provide in-person services to clients and patients because of the coronavirus. So we’re all doing what music therapists do best – we’re getting CREATIVE!
Many therapists are providing telehealth music therapy services. Telehealth is a service that allows for remote delivery of healthcare services, including clinical and non-clinical services, and other services. Therapists are using phone and computer apps to connect with individuals and groups for music therapy. Many music therapists are using this time to learn new music and broaden their musical repertoire for use when the mandated lockdowns are lifted. Therapists are also using this time to work on continuing education, vital to maintaining our certification as music therapists.
What I’m Doing
I wanted to spend a little time telling you about how I’m using my time to serve my patients while I’m not allowed to visit them. Many of the families that I work with have expressed concern about how they will fill their child’s time and enrich their lives during this time. Since this is such a prevalent concern, I’ve decided to create individualized at-home music plans for some of my patients.
What does this mean? I am taking all the information that I know about these patients and families and making lists of music-based activities that they can try to do at home while I am away! I’ve started to compile playlists customized for my patients’ preferences, needs, and strengths. With each song, I’ve suggested a music-based activity that they can do. Again, the activities are customized to the patient’s age, abilities, and preferences.
A patient with anxiety might need a playlist that meets them in that high-energy anxious state, and gradually brings them down into a relaxed state. So they might start with dancing to an upbeat song, do some instrument playing and singing, have a discussion about lyrics with someone in their family, and finally end up laying down, breathing deeply and imagining a calming place.
A baby might need a playlist that appeals to their parents, and allows for opportunities to play with the baby, use rhythm to interact with the baby, gets the baby laughing or smiling, and also includes some lullabies to help with relaxation and bonding.
Music is a versatile and powerful tool!
Whatever the needs are, music is able to address them. While this obviously isn’t as effective and beneficial as in-person music therapy sessions are, it might be the best we can do at this time! Music is a versatile and powerful tool. And I’m here to help my patients and their families in whatever way I can!
How are you using music during this challenging time caused by the coronavirus?