Music Therapy Equipment for Royal Melbourne Hospital

Royal Melbourne Hospital (RMH) has enjoyed the sounds of Music Therapy since 1998. Leading the team is Emma O’Brien, a trained vocalist and professional music therapist who is incredibly passionate and dedicated to the patients at RMH, music, and their new recording studio.

Emma’s journey at RMH started when she was a student, who offered her music therapy services for 6 months for free. It was here she began engaging with cancer patients through music.

At the end of Emma’s 6 months at RMH she left. The patients and nursing staff began to complain about her absence and noticed a significant difference when there was no longer Emma and her music floating through the corridors. Soon after, she was employed by the hospital and still is to this day.

Today, RMH houses it’s very own recording studio to help with the course of music therapy. Recording patients’ music is part of the process and it’s something for them to share with their family and friends. Emma said, “The beauty of having a room like this is you can bring the patients to this space, they’re not inhibited. They can play on the piano; they can record their songs in a space that’s safe but outside the normal hospital environment.”

A recording studio is a very different facility for a normal hospital to house, but essentially it came down to what the patients needed. Before the recording studio existed at RMH, Emma travelled with patients to out-sourced studios for patients to record their music. However, some were not well enough to make the trip.

Dry July has got behind music as a complementary therapy by funding microphones, keyboards, a Mac computer, iPad and iPods and the pro-tools software needed for the recording studio.

Before patients start the music therapy program they don’t necessarily have to have any knowledge in music. Music therapy offers many levels of involvement to cater for each patient’s needs, the program can provide patients with an iPod to listen to relaxation music, an iPad filled with 3,000 pieces of sheet music so patients can listen to Emma and her staff play live music of their choice, or they can pick up a range of instruments and play, learn to play and compose.

Emma specialises in a writing song method, specifically formulated for cancer patients at the bedside. Emma said, “The idea is you get their song out of them, I don’t write a song for them, I help them find their song. There is quite a subtle difference in that and a big difference.”

Emma has almost finished her PHD on this very subject. 50 patients at RMH participated in her research. Emma said “there are some biophysical things you can measure but we went for quality of life and profile of mood states, because what we do know is if your quality of life is better you do better, and if you’re coping better in terms of mood you’re going to do better.”

Emma’s journey at RMH started when she was a student, who offered her music therapy services for 6 months for free. It was here she began engaging with cancer patients through music.

At the end of Emma’s 6 months at RMH she left. The patients and nursing staff began to complain about her absence and noticed a significant difference when there was no longer Emma and her music floating through the corridors. Soon after, she was employed by the hospital and still is to this day.

Today, RMH houses it’s very own recording studio to help with the course of music therapy. Recording patients’ music is part of the process and it’s something for them to share with their family and friends. Emma said, “The beauty of having a room like this is you can bring the patients to this space, they’re not inhibited. They can play on the piano; they can record their songs in a space that’s safe but outside the normal hospital environment.”

A recording studio is a very different facility for a normal hospital to house, but essentially it came down to what the patients needed. Before the recording studio existed at RMH, Emma travelled with patients to out-sourced studios for patients to record their music. However, some were not well enough to make the trip.

Dry July has got behind music as a complementary therapy by funding microphones, keyboards, a Mac computer, iPad and iPods and the pro-tools software needed for the recording studio.

Before patients start the music therapy program they don’t necessarily have to have any knowledge in music. Music therapy offers many levels of involvement to cater for each patient’s needs, the program can provide patients with an iPod to listen to relaxation music, an iPad filled with 3,000 pieces of sheet music so patients can listen to Emma and her staff play live music of their choice, or they can pick up a range of instruments and play, learn to play and compose.

Emma specialises in a writing song method, specifically formulated for cancer patients at the bedside. Emma said, “The idea is you get their song out of them, I don’t write a song for them, I help them find their song. There is quite a subtle difference in that and a big difference.”

Emma has almost finished her PHD on this very subject. 50 patients at RMH participated in her research. Emma said “there are some biophysical things you can measure but we went for quality of life and profile of mood states, because what we do know is if your quality of life is better you do better, and if you’re coping better in terms of mood you’re going to do better.”

Music therapy at RMH started small but now it employs 3 music therapist part time, at the same time Emma and her team are always researching what they’re doing and assessing the impact. Emma said, “I think you have to believe what you’re doing is going to make a difference.”

The response Emma has received from patients about the program is overwhelming. Patients often say to Emma, “I feel like myself again in music therapy”, and Emma said “That’s just another consequence of cancer, you stop being yourself and become the illness, and people sometimes feel like a burden. Music therapy allows patients to create, share and write songs to give to family as presents. Family and friends come to see them and patients say ‘Look what I did today’”

Music therapy at RMH started small but now it employs 3 music therapist part time, at the same time Emma and her team are always researching what they’re doing and assessing the impact. Emma said, “I think you have to believe what you’re doing is going to make a difference.”

The response Emma has received from patients about the program is overwhelming. Patients often say to Emma, “I feel like myself again in music therapy”, and Emma said “That’s just another consequence of cancer, you stop being yourself and become the illness, and people sometimes feel like a burden. Music therapy allows patients to create, share and write songs to give to family as presents. Family and friends come to see them and patients say ‘Look what I did today’”

The Royal Melbourne Hospital

$16,058.95 raised

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