My one experience with music to help kids heal was when Benjamin was in the hospital, and I know he was a pretty sick kid at the time. After his brain tumour ruptured and he had surgery, Benjamin never regained full use of his right hand – which is a bit of a nuisance if you’re trying to play piano. Yet I saw how he reacted when he got a keyboard in front of him – he lit up. It was pretty great for the people who love him too, to see how much he enjoyed connecting again with those songs he loved and impressing whoever might be nearby to listen.
Working on Benjamin’s Gift of Music, I’ve had a good reason to snoop around the Internet a bit to find out how else music is used to help sick kids. There’s some pretty great stories. Therapists who sit at kids’ bedsides and play music in rhythm with their breathing. Helping a young patient to set a bit of poetry they love to music. Letting kids play with instruments during a procedure to give them something else to focus on. Or just letting a kid sing or play or both – like they used to before they got sick.
I know first hand that it’s pretty great to see a kid you love find some joy when they’re dealing with a serious illness. I also know first hand how music can help you get through some pretty awful things even if you’re not a kid and you’re not sick – like when your very special nephew gets a terrible disease that he’s not going to recover from.
Just close your eyes and think about all the music we’re going to make happen at the new children’s hospital!