“When you are happy, you enjoy the music, when you are sad, you understand the lyrics.”
Georgia Pitts is a final year music therapy student currently on placement in our Children’s Ward two days a week. She runs nursery rhyme groups twice a week, and solo sessions with patients and families the rest of the time.
Music therapy is the provision of evidenced-based musical interventions that seeks to support social, emotional, physical and/or intellectual health and wellbeing goals for a group or individual.
Here’s what happens when you listen to music – your blood pressure falls (or rises) depending on the speed and type of music you listen to; you perform better on spatial tasks and standardised tests; you are able to work out harder and longer; you form and recall memories due to the release of dopamine; and you actually experience physical sensation on your skin in response to particularly moving music.
Georgia says the family-centred care that is fostered in her nursery rhyme group is supported by research that shows that when one family member falls ill, the systems around the individual are also impacted. Hence, the opportunity for the family to be involved is a means of providing positive social experiences for all those involved.
“The family and patient are encouraged to be active participants, whether that be by singing along to familiar songs, sharing their musical background or playing with percussive instruments that facilitate musical interactions with one another,” Georgia says.
Music therapy provide families with the opportunity for social interaction through playful and positive musical experiences, as well as foster family bonding.
“It can also provide staff and family with the chance to see the healthy and musical self of their child,” Georgia says.
Georgia explains that sessions at bedside differ as they are specific to the patient’s interests and their current wellbeing goals. They support mood management, coping strategies for pain, self-expression or pre-operative anxiety.
Georgia’s contribution is not going unnoticed. Tameeka Robertson from Allied Health Education says, “Georgia is having a really big impact with patients and their families.”