Music Therapy in Children’s Hospices

guitar handsIn 1994, when Jessie died at Martin House children’s hospice, there was no music therapy in any children’s hospices: it was a gap in the care of life-limited children which seemed to us to be crying out to be filled.

Jessie’s Fund has now equipped all children’s hospices with musical instruments and has established part-time music therapy posts at 37 of the 46 hospices for children in the UK.

We also provide workshops and training courses for hospice staff which enable them to use music as a tool for communication and expression with the children for whom they care, some 85% of whom can’t communicate verbally.

Click here  to see how one child can be involved in a unique dialogue.

“We have many children with profound and multiple learning disabilities who wake up, respond and show levels of alertness in music therapy that they don’t often show elsewhere.”   – Shooting Star House Children’s Hospice


What is Music Therapy?

Music therapy uses music to encourage communication and expression by playing an instrument, singing or listening, usually in improvised music. It isn’t about learning to play an instrument; the instruments offered can all be played intuitively.

Music therapy provides a safe setting in which difficult feelings can be expressed and contained. Music can often make sense where words are inadequate, or even impossible. Music therapy focuses on what a person can do rather than on their disabilities, gives choices and control, and raises self-esteem.

Read an article about music therapy at children’s hospices in the south west here.