What’s a Clinical Musician?

As a Clinical Musician, I use therapeutic music on the violin to provide comfort at the bedside of patients.

Therapeutic music is an art based on the science of sound and is intended to alleviate the physical, mental, and emotional suffering that can accompany illness, trauma and the end stages of life.

Clinical musicians are educated, trained and certified through accredited programs and the National Standards Board for Therapeutic Musicians.

I meet patients exactly where they are, in the moment, with no objective or goal other than to provide comfort, grace and a healing environment. Sessions are prescriptive and therapeutic, based on the needs of the patient. I do not “perform” as the focus is on the care of the patient and not the musician.

Therapeutic music is generally delivered in live sessions rather than through recorded sessions. Live bedside music allows the practitioner to change the music to meet the patients changing needs. Human connection factors into healing, this type of connection and community is not delivered through pre-recorded music in the same way that it’s delivered live.

My work as a Clinical Musician may overlap with my work as Death Doula for patients in hospice/palliative care as music is often a tool doulas use to create a peaceful environment during visits and vigils.

Clinical musicians provide services in hospitals, hospice, skilled nursing facilities, nursing homes, Assisted living, hospice, doctors offices and in individual’s homes. We generally work with patients in the ICU, PICU, NICU, Med/Surg, oncology and Alzheimer’s/Dementia units. Non-acute patients may schedule sessions in my office.

We are are trained to work with any age of patient from premature infants to geriatric populations.

Therapeutic music session are suitable for individuals at any stage of health, diagnosis, life or consciousness. Patients are not active during sessions, rather they simply enjoy and benefit.

  • reduction in anxiety
  • stabilization of vital signs in critically ill patients (heart rate, respiratory rate, blood pressure)
  • provides Alzheimer’s patients with stimulation that allows them to access old memories and helps to bridge communication gaps
  • Patients receiving music heal faster and have shorter stays in facilities
  • Reduction in pain; requiring less pain medications
  • help to ease the transition for patients nearing the end of life.
  • induce deep relaxation helping to boost the immune system
  • Patients who receive music before surgery are more relaxed and require less anesthesia, reducing side effects

“Because death stirs people to seek answers to important spiritual questions, it becomes the greatest servant of humanity, rather than its most feared enemy.”

Bhagavad Gita

“Happiness can be found, even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light.”

Albus Dumbledore, Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban.

“Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.”

Debasish Mridha
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