Music - Good for the Mind and Good for the Body

Montreal, March 15, 2007 --The McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) will be celebrating National Music Therapy Week on Monday and Tuesday, March 19 and 20 and on Thursday, March 22, 2007.

What is music therapy and how can it be used?

The Canadian Association for Music Therapy defines music therapy as the skillful use of music and musical elements by an accredited music therapist to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual health. Music has nonverbal, creative, structural, and emotional qualities. These are used in the therapeutic relationship to facilitate contact, interaction, self-awareness, learning, self-expression, communication, and personal development of a patient.

Music therapy is used with a wide variety of individuals regardless of age, ability, or musical background. Music therapists work with patients in neonatal to geriatric care, or with psychological or physical disabilities and for all types of impairments.

When did music therapy start?

The idea of music as a healing modality dates back to the beginnings of history. Some of the earliest notable mentions in Western history are found in writings of ancient Greek philosophers. However, the benefits of what music therapy brought people was only recognized after the Second World War.

Following music therapy’s inception in Quebec in the 1960s, the MUHC began a pilot project in the palliative care at the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) in September 1977. Music therapy subsequently grew and currently has five part-time and one intern music therapists. Two work in a variety of departments at the Montreal Children’s Hospital (MCH); one works in palliative care, one in psychiatry and one covers the geriatrics units of the Montreal General Hospital (MGH) and the Royal Victoria Hospital (RVH) as well as the haemodialysis unit at the RVH. "Our goals, as music therapists, are to give a voice to patients, support families and collaborate with other professionals," said Pascal Comeau, Music Therapist Accredited with a Master’s degree, at the MCH. "We use music to maintain or improve the quality of life of children and their families. Music therapy provides a more normal and fun environment, helping to adapt to illness and hospitalization," he explained. The activities used during music therapy can be playing with instruments, singing, writing or listening to songs, and moving and playing to the music. Deborah Salmon, Music Therapist Accredited with a Master’s degree who started at the RVH in 1984, added: "Our vision for the development of music therapy at the MUHC is to become a department and integrate our services into patient care throughout the hospitals."

To learn more about music therapy -- be it in a pediatric or adult care facility, attend one of several events planned, such as:

Monday, March 19, 2007

The Montreal General Hospital (D11.102): 12:00pm–1:15pm
Film: Sur les ailes de la musique; musicothérapie au tournant de la vie
Followed by discussion with Deborah Salmon & Meghan Proudfoot

Tuesday, March 20

The Montreal Children’s Hospital (2B) 12:00pm-1:00pm
Information table and live music
Christelle Jacquet & Pascal Comeau

For further information, refer to the MUHC National Music Therapy Week program on the MUHC web site or on the MCH web site For further information on music therapy, refer to (Canadian Association for Music Therapy) or to (Association québécoise de musicothérapie – Tel: 514-987-3000, ext 7639).

For information on the MCH, contact:
Lisa Dutton, Manager Public Relations and Communications
The Montreal Children’s Hospital

For information on the MUHC, contact:Seeta Ramdass, Communications Coordinator Public Relations and Communications
MUHC McGill University Health Centre