Music Therapy

Music Therapy

Music, they say, is a universal language. It is a form of art that involves the skillful integration of sounds, rhythm, lyrics, notes, etc., to produce an appreciable melody or harmony. Music, in general, is therapeutic, soothing, and suitable for expressing emotions.

Music therapy in hospice involves a clinical and evidence-based use of musical intervention by a board- certified music therapist in the need-based management of a hospice patient. It consists of analyzing the patient’s needs as stated by the therapist, the patient’s family members, or physician and designing the most appropriate plan to suit these identified needs.


There are diverse ways in which music can be used in helping a patient in need of end-of-life care. Some of these ways include:

1. Song Composition
With the help of the music therapist, you or your loved one could be taught how to turn words into
lyrics. This can be useful for the self-expression of intense emotions, deep-seated concerns, and morbid fears the patient might be experiencing.

2. Learning to play a musical instrument
Acquiring musical skills such as learning to play the piano or the guitar can be useful in improving your quality of life. Additionally, it helps your cognitive functioning and fine motor skills and enhances productivity.

3. Lyrical Analysis
This would involve you and your music therapist analyzing the lyrics of a chosen song. This could help you or your loved one cope with unspoken, suppressed emotions. Also, the imagery of the lyrics can help engage your cognition.

4. Listening to music as a group
It might be recommended for you to listen to music with others. This might be your loved ones or other patients at the hospice center. The commonality of such a shared experience has been found to help social interaction. Also, listening to some of your all-time favorites can bring back positive memories and help reinforce your sense of identity.

5. Exercising with music
Certain music has been found to boost mood and increase the appetite for physical activity. Listening to vibrant music while working can help you feel stronger and create a sense of rejuvenation and vitality.


1. Patients with Dementia
In dementia, there is a disturbance in intellectual functions, and often memory is impaired. Therefore, listening to music or learning to play a musical instrument can help bring back some of your memories and cognition.

2. Patients experiencing mood symptoms
If you have been diagnosed with any mood disorders, especially depression or anxiety, you may have symptoms such as difficulty concentrating, insomnia, etc. Music therapy can be very beneficial to you while dealing with such conditions. It can provide comfort, aid relaxation techniques, help you dissuade intrusive thoughts, and improve your quality of life.

3. Patients with little or no social interactions
For people who happen not to have a lot of social interactions – probably due to the absence of loved ones or a physical support system – music therapy can be a source that provides the necessary sensory stimuli they require.

4. Patients with pain unresponsive to orthodox medications
Music therapy may be a viable option when all pain control medications have proven ineffective in
combating the pain you or your loved one is going through.

5. Patients in need of spiritual support
As certain people near the end of life, they begin experiencing an intense need for spiritual support and connection. In addition to the presence of their spiritual leader or a member of their spiritual group, they might also benefit from listening to songs related to their spirituality to help them express and satiate this need.

In conclusion, music therapy is a field of immense benefit to hospice care. You or your loved one might find it a great addition to your current therapeutic regimens for enhanced physical, emotional, cognitive, and spiritual health.

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