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Therapeutic Music

Children's National Health System

Therapeutic music is intended to alleviate physical, emotional or mental concerns. It is art based on the science of sound and uses live acoustic music tailored to your child’s immediate needs to help facilitate healing. As therapeutic music pioneer Laurie Riley notes, “Therapeutic musicians focus on meeting a patient’s present needs with therapeutic music in-the-moment, rather than having the intention of accomplishing a specific goal or outcome.”

The therapeutic music specialist at Children’s National Hospital offers a variety of musical instruments to children such as chimes, harps, crystal and Tibetan singing bowls, vocal singing, keyboards and other percussion instruments. Sessions can take place at your child’s bedside, in scheduled harp and drum circle sessions, impromptu groups, weekly Seacrest Studios sessions and Healing Garden programs. 

Bedside Harp Therapy

Harp played at the bedside offers patients a soothing, interesting and comforting experience with sound and vibrational music. It helps alleviate suffering in many ways. Families express the feeling of being cared for in a special way when live harp music is heard and experienced. The creation of a healing environment promotes relaxation and tranquility.

Ambient Therapeutic Music

Ambient music played in our Costco Wholesale Atrium promotes a more relaxed feeling and shifts your family’s attention away from anxiety while waiting for services. Ambient therapeutic music is designed to calm and allow for mindfulness-based thinking while you process information. Relaxation CDs are available during your hospital stay and portable headsets are available during your visit.

Benefits of Therapeutic Music 

Girl singingThe National Standards Board for Therapeutic Music notes that the benefits of therapeutic music can include, but are not limited to:

  • Refocusing attention
  • Altering the sense of time
  • Relieving anxiety among the critically ill
  • Reducing stress and stabilizing blood pressure among the chronically ill
  • Augmenting pain management
  • Bridging communication between loved ones
  • Relieving body and mental tension of pre-surgery patients
  • Enhancing palliative care therapies
  • Supporting vital signs of critically ill patients

Please email Victoria Paytonwebber, B.S., CHT, Lic.CNA, or call her at 202-476-2133 to make an appointment or referral.