Music therapists at BC Children’s Hospital and Sunny Hill Centre for Children work with children of all ages—from infants to teens—to help reduce anxiety and pain, and increase motivation.
All children, regardless of their background, ability or illness, have the capacity to connect to the ‘universal language’ of music.
While at BC Children's or Sunny Hill, children may be referred for music therapy by Child Life specialists, nurses, doctors, physiotherapists or by parents. Once referred to the music therapy program children participate in both active and receptive techniques such as instrument playing, improvisation, listening to music, song writing and singing. Music therapists use these techniques to promote self-expression and relaxation so children have the opportunity to regain a sense of control and confidence.
“The best part of my job is having the privilege to work with children in what may be the most vulnerable time of their lives,” said Erin Johnston, music therapist, BC Children’s. “To have the opportunity to connect with children in such a meaningful and special way is the greatest reward.”
Music therapists at BC Children's and Sunny Hill are accredited and have successfully completed a bachelor program or graduate certificate in music therapy, in addition to a 1,000-hour supervised clinical internship.
Music therapy helps refocus attention and is a source of emotional support. Among many benefits, it can also influence the heart rate and blood pressure of children and improve their quality of life during their stay at BC Children's or Sunny Hill.