Music Therapy in the Age of Covid-19

*We want to start a discussion about how music therapy is adapting to the current situation with Covid-19. Hopefully we hear from you music therapists! If you are a music therapist and have something to share about your work, don’t miss the form at the end where you can share your thoughts with us.*


How does music therapy in the age of Covid-19 look like?

We all have had to adapt and in some cases, completely change our lifestyles because of the present situation. That is no different for music therapists. Music therapists more often than not work with at risk populations. And even for those who don’t work with physically vulnerable populations, the current measures meant that work changed for nearly all music therapists. So, how does music therapy in the age of Covid-19 look like? Here are some initial observations:


First, I would like to talk about the therapists that Sam’s Fans supports.

Jessica Bogacik – Nationwide Children’s Hospital

Jessica already wrote about her situation in another blog post. Here’s an excerpt of what she had to say:

“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.”

Since she wrote this blog post, she has been able to start offering Telehealth 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. And she has been able to start doing this with her patients!


Akron Children’s Hospital (ACH)

The therapists at ACH shared about three weeks ago some of the ways in which they have adapted to Covid-19. We have not since heard about any other measures they have taken, but here is what they told us back then so you get an idea.

They told us they stopped entering rooms that required them to utilize any PPE. Also, they temporarily suspended home visits that the Expressive Therapy Center provides to some of their palliative families. And they cancelled outpatient therapy sessions. They also started preparing videos to share live with families that provide them some fun and uplifting things they can do at home. And they put together “Boredom Buster” bags that are tailored to specific ages that staff could give out in the event that the therapists were no longer able to go into any of the rooms (which I fear might have happened since). Sam’s Fans actually supported ACH by helping with funds to purchase art supplies for these bags!


Some other examples

Here’s a message from the American Music Therapy Association’s President about their response to the current situation, also available along other resources for music therapists here:

For those music therapists that are still able to see the people they serve, they are implementing strict measures of hand washing, using appropriate instruments, and keeping appropriate physical distance.


Telehealth examples

Here’s a beautiful example of Telehealth music therapy in the UK with four-year-old Annabelle. Annabelle has spinal muscular atrophy type one, so coronavirus could be potentially fatal for her. She and her family are home shielding but they are still able to see the music therapist thanks to technology:

Another great example also coming from the UK is the initiative Together in Sound, a partnership between Saffron Hall Trust and the Cambridge Institute for Music Therapy Research at Anglia Ruskin University (ARU). The therapists work with couples, those living with dementia and their partner or carer. The coronavirus pandemic has forced the group to move to virtual sessions. One participant says: “It’s a lifeline, really. It’s just something to look forward to and we can’t wait for it to come.” Check out exactly how it looks like in the video below.

And this is just a small taste of the myriad of ways in which music therapists are adapting!


We want to hear from you

In order to keep sharing how music and music therapy are making a difference in the age of Covid-19, we want to hear from you. If you are a music therapist or even if you are not and want to share an example of what you’ve seen, please fill out the form down here.

We will continuously share some of the things you are doing and what you are sending our way!


Thank you!

L. Samuel Gracida

L. Samuel Gracida

Samuel is Sam's Fans Operating Director and our primary blogger!

1 Comment

  1. […] one of my favorites as therapists from various places around the USA and around the world discussed how they have responded to the situation with Covid-19. The panel members were Tian Gao from China, J. Todd Frazier and Jennifer Townsend from Houston […]

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