4 types of music in hospitals activities

Live music in hospitals in America and Europe has increased over the last 10 years, and it is possible to distinguish different types of music making activities in health care settings.

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1) Bedside Music

Bedside music in particular is described as a regular, long-term intervention. Musicians “make rounds” and play in schoolrooms, wards and individual cubicles. The music events can be performances, but they are also often interactive music making where children and/or carers take part in the music making session.  In Europe, Musique Et Santé is a central hub for this kind of activity, both in performing and training musicians. In the UK, OPUS Music CIC have specialised in delivering this kind of music in hospitals.


2) Regular Concerts

Concerts can take place in different areas: outpatient area, lobby, corridors, hospital atrium, or auditorium. The concerts are usually targeted for patients, families and hospital staff. The musicians are often either professional musicians coordinated by the hospital itself or music students from music schools.

3) Special Music Events

Special events could be concerts organized by charities that employ musicians trained for this particular purpose. In the UK, the charity Music in Hospitals provides these types of concerts throughout most parts of the country.

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4) Artists in residence programmes

The programmes could involve activities with anything from music workshops (for examples learning how to build and play musical instruments), to sessions where the musician and the patient write and record songs, to one-to-one bedside interactions in a more intimate situation.

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Preti, C. (2009). Music in hospitals: Defining an emerging activity. Paper presented at The Second International Conference on Music Communication Science, 3-4 December 2009, Sydney, Australia


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