Music Therapy for Cancer Patients - Video Transcript

M. D. Anderson Cancer Center
Date: December 2008
Duration: 0 / 01:35

Return to CancerWise


Michael Richardson:

Music therapy is the use of music to achieve other than musical goals. For example, a music educator would want to teach a person to play the piano, and a music therapist would want to use the piano to achieve goals related to health issues.

Music therapy is provided to M. D. Anderson cancer patients at no charge. It’s provided individually to patients in their patient room. It’s also provided to small groups, such as in the classroom with the children.

I’m always surprised by the outcomes I see when I’m doing music therapy sessions. One example was working with an ICU patient. When I sat down and started playing a song that he recognized [deep breath], he inhaled. And that was exactly what the respiratory therapist who had just seen him before me wanted.

I’ve gone into patients’ rooms in our Palliative Care Unit and they’ve been able to express their feelings when I play a song like “Amazing Grace,” and they might be holding some sadness in that they weren’t aware of, but the song sort of makes an instant connection to them and they are able to express their feelings.

Return to CancerWise

Video by: Deborah E. Thomas