World Music Therapy Day

Sunday 1 March marks World Music Therapy Day! Our resident music therapist, Pip Reid has given some insight into the role of music therapy in the hospice setting.

Music Therapy at Very Special Kids
Since ancient times music has been recognised for its therapeutic value and has been applied in medicine and healing.  Music therapy at Very Special Kids was established in 2001 to offer individual and group music therapy to children living with life limiting conditions. The hospice has 8 beds and a team of staff that are trained in providing paediatric palliative care to children with complex needs, allowing families to have respite and end-of-life care. Studies have revealed that music therapy at Very Special Kids offers children opportunities for choice, control, communication, self-expression, meaningful experiences, happiness and enhanced quality of life.

What training/qualifications do you do to become a music therapist?
Music therapy is a research-based practice and profession in which music is used to actively support people as they strive to attain and maintain their health and wellbeing. To become a Registered Music Therapist, you need to complete an accredited tertiary course and then apply for registration with the Australian Music Therapy Association. Music Therapists have a large range of musical skills, and understand how to apply music to improve health, functioning and wellbeing.

Why is music important in paediatric palliative care and the hospice setting ?
Music is just so important within the Very Special Kids Hospice with children who are staying for respite or end-of-life care. The music therapy groups that are offered twice a week in the hospice offer opportunities for fun, movement and relaxation. Benefits seen in each group include increased social connectedness, motivation to participate and choice. Individual sessions offer personalised opportunities for actively creating music together and receptive listening experiences. These sessions can improve mood, offer a sense of empowerment and provide ability and symptom-based care.

What improvements/changes have you seen in the children since you started with Very Special Kids?
I have happily been the Music Therapist at Very Special Kids since February 2018. Over the past 2 years I have loved being invited into the lives of the very special children and their families who have visited the hospice. Currently, the Lily Calvert Musical Care Program is being developed, which is supporting our staff and volunteers to use music and supportive experiences when caring for children in the hospice. Music has the power to reveal the beauty, identity and ability of each and every child. It is a privilege to make music, listen, dance and connect with the children, families and Very Special Kids community.