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Tag Archives: music therapy

Therapeutic Song Writing in Healthcare: How Song Writing Promotes Creative-Self Expression

by Taylor Kurta

 

As a music therapy intern in an urban Toronto hospital setting, I have been learning to appreciate the unique narrative that each patient brings with them. In spending time with patients at the bedside during what are often prolonged and complicated admissions, I have had the privilege of listening to their stories and their struggles. My role at the hospital is to support these patients in contextualizing their experiences, and promote creative self-expression through music. I want to share a story of a particular patient who found comfort and confidence through therapeutic song writing. For confidentiality purposes, identifying details have been changed. I will refer to this patient as Karen.

 

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Music and Medical Assistance in Dying

musicandcreativetherapy

by SarahRose Black, MMT, MTA, RP, CKN Music & Creative Therapies Editor

 

The use of music in palliative and end of life care is neither new nor novel. This approach to whole-person care at the end of life has been employed in various care settings around the world for centuries, in different cultural practices, health care institutions and homes. Music has long been able to offer a sense of comfort, emotional support, opportunity for psychosocial processing, and physical symptom relief for those facing end of life, as well as support for their family members.

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World Cancer Day 2017: A few words from SarahRose Black

SarahRoseBlackby SarahRose Black, MMT, MTA, RP, CKN Music & Creative Therapies Editor

 

Human beings live and move through the world in a musical way, from the rhythmic pulsing of our hearts and blinking of our eyes to the cyclical processes of our physiological patterns. Regardless of any training or predisposition to the arts, we are naturally musical beings. Because of our inherent musicality, our lifelong associations with music, and the cultural significance of music around the world, engaging in music can be stimulating, energizing, comforting, or relaxing. In some cases, music can change our physiology by slowing our breathing patterns or stimulating a neurological release of dopamine or a reduction in cortisol. The benefits of music are boundless, and the impact of music can extend throughout the lifespan, and at any stage of illness or wellness.

 

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What’s on your Playlist?

musicandcreativetherapy

by SarahRose Black, MMT, MTA, RP, CKN Music & Creative Therapies Editor

Whether I am discussing music with friends, family, patients or colleagues, a consistent trend seems to emerge. What we prefer is closely linked to our associations. When we associate a song with a particular time in our lives, that same song tends to hold ongoing significance. Perhaps a song that was played during a first dance at a wedding continues to bring up very vivid memories and feelings. A song from a childhood experience (perhaps a caregiver’s soothing voice before falling asleep) may continue to provide comfort and support well into adulthood.  Often, a sequence or combination of songs can elicit a pattern of feelings, or an emotional arc taking us from one mood to another, or holding us steadily in a specific affective experience for an extended period of time.

 

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Soundscapes of Healthcare: How can we shift sound perception for well-being?

musicandcreativetherapyby SarahRose Black, MMT, MTA, RP, CKN Advisory Board Member

 

So many moments of our lives are bombarded by various soundscapes, a term coined by Canadian composer, environmentalist and musicologist R. Murray Schafer.  Schafer defines a soundscape as “a sound or combination of sounds that forms or arises from an immersive environment” (Schafer, 1977).  Some of these sounds may be helpful while others may be harmful. Take a moment to consider the sounds that permeate your daily activities: what do you hear as you move through your day? You may hear sounds of traffic, or perhaps bird chirping, or maybe children laughing. Your soundscape may include keyboards clicking and coffee makers dripping. For those connected to the health care system either personally or professionally, soundscapes may include the dinging of call bells, the buzzing of pagers, the beeping of IV machines, and the varied conversations that may arise in hallways or inpatient hospital rooms, perhaps even the white noise of a crossed lobby or clinic. As an activity, try stropping what you’re doing and naming four sounds that you hear around you. What do you notice when you start to mindfully listen?

 

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Songwriting with an Institution

 

by Sarah Pearson, Music Therapist

In a busy environment like a hospital, where everyone – patient and staff alike – has a job to do – it’s challenging to make time to reflect on how much we’re all holding. The lived experiences of people in an oncology program are vast and profound.

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