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Music Therapy

What is music therapy?

Our board-certified music therapist uses evidence-based music interventions to address the physical, emotional, social and cognitive needs of our patients and families. While it may look like entertainment at times, these techniques utilize a patient’s favorite song to help reach medical goals like decreasing pain, getting out of bed after a surgery, or improving compliance with medications and treatments.

Did you know: Music therapists are qualified professionals who have completed a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in music therapy, clinical training internship, and the national board certification exam.

Music therapists develop sessions based on medical diagnosis, assessment, and report from interdisciplinary team.

What are the goals of music therapy?

  • Supporting pain management
  • Promoting autonomy and control
  • Promoting the growth and development of cognitive, language, and motor skills
  • Increasing coping with hospitalization.
  • Emotional support

Music therapists at Golisano Children's Hospital are funded through philanthropy.

Equipped with a guitar, tambourine, and other instruments, they can visit children on any of our inpatient units including: NICU, PICU, hematology/oncology, and the general medical/surgical units -- anywhere a child needs help.

Through songwriting, music video creation, or playing and singing a patient’s favorite songs, our music therapy program provides our patients and families with a unique and creative outlet to help them process and cope with their hospitalization.

Group sessions get kids out of their hospital rooms, and ukulele lessons help kids stay occupied for days at a time when they are dealing with pain and need relax.

Helping our patients cope

Every day Tracey Failla receives new calls from children who need a little distraction. “Maybe it’s pain management, maybe the patient has poor coping skills, maybe we help with bereavement and end of life situations,” said Tracey Failla, a music therapist with Golisano Children’s Hospital of Southwest Florida. Equipped with her guitar, tambourine and other musical instruments, Tracey visits children on every floor of the Golisano Children’s Hospital. “I see patients on all of the inpatient units here in Golisano that includes the NICU, pediatric intensive care unit, oncology, hematology, and then the general pediatric floors as well,” she said. Music therapy has been used to help children cope with their treatment by entertaining and distracting them. The position is funded entirely through philanthropy. “I might do things like song writing, I have made music videos with patients, sometimes just playing instruments and singing your favorite songs can be a great way to just express themselves and help distract them from the hospital environment,” said Failla. She also uses group sessions to give the kids time out of their hospital rooms. “I love the idea of being able to help people using music. It’s exciting to watch them. I have parents tell me, wow they are so relaxed now that you’ve come in and started playing,” she said. If patients are in a lot of pain or need something to distract them for a few days, Tracey can teach them ukulele lessons to help them pass the time. “I’ve had a lot of kids tell me that this is helping me get through my hospitalization,” she said. Helping children relax and maybe even enjoy their hospital stay.