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The Power of Music

Music can make us laugh or cry, bring back good and maybe not so good memories, but most of all music just has an emotional effect on people. We all make music, but have you ever wondered how it affects the listener?

I might as well let all of you know I am in the midst of obtaining my Certification as a Music Practitioner. The reason being I want my music to mean something other than jams or entertaining. Several years ago I worked for a hospice company for 13 years. Now I am working at a hospital and the two are very different, but my heart is for hospice patients.

With that thought, I would like to share some things I learn as I progress through the classes. Last month’s article was a review of a book, which was part of my homework. I was surprised to learn that our main focus will be the patient, not performing music. The first book was how we are to make ourselves ready to perform. Of course we have to play well, and there are guidelines to what kind of music to play for different patient conditions. So much to absorb and process.

Learning that Music Practitioners can offer some quiet for the staff as well as the patients was a bonus I hadn’t thought about, especially during these hard times - though I won’t have my certificate until sometime next year.

When I mention the focus is on the patient, we have to be tuned into the patient condition in order to play in a manner to help them. It can be very simple tunes, played upbeat, or very slowly, and improvisation is allowed and even encouraged.

CMP's play music for one patient at a time to create a healing environment in a one on one setting. Many times we will only see the patient once. Whereas a music therapist has planned goals and visits with the patient regularly until the goal is reached. There is a difference between the two.

One study between live and recorded music found that live music to be more affective. It can reduce heart rates, blood pressure, help the patient sleep, assist with pain, and reduce overall anxiety and tension.

While playing for one patient the music will drift to other patients, family members, and staff at the facility. They can all benefit from the waves of tunes carefully selected and my saying, Keep the Music in the Air. Hmm, wonder if that was an omen of things to come. My key signature piece is Keep On the Sunny Side. It can be played very slowly or a little more upbeat to use in different situations.

Not only can a CMP visit hospice patients, but many areas in a hospital can benefit from live music. From patients in a coma, babies, women in labor, the dying, and those with mobility issues can find comfort. Visitors, staff, and patients can all feel the effects of live music. There can be an overall calmness, especially for the staff, if the patient is calmed down enough for the staff to feel less stress.

So my journey begins and I would like to take you along with me. I’ll update as I learn more and hope you enjoy my musings.

During last weekend’s Pocono Virtual Festival I found a Music Therapist and taking her classes starting next week. She has coached many CMP’s through the certification courses. Just too many positive things happening for this goal of mine.

Then, it is exciting as well that Quarantune 4 is coming in June. I have found some technical classes that will assist my goal to become a CMP. Hope to see some of you there!

Yours always,

Keep the Music in the Air

NancyJ - VP


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