Music therapy - In Queen Mary's Hospital for Children, Carshalton
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
The Music Therapy Profession in Modern Britain – Dr Helen Tyler [in Music as Medicine]
A report entitled Music in the Wards summarizes the teaching of music in Queen Mary's Hospital for Children, Carshalton. Here the emphasis was as much on taking part in musical activities as in listening to music or in using it in a remedial capacity (such as exercising to it). The following is a description of music lessons in a muscular dystrophy ward:
Muscular dystrophy is not yet curable. Little by little the patient loses the use of his muscles, cannot walk or use his limbs any more. But the physical deterioration itself leaves his mind unimpaired. In this ward I found 8 boys sitting in wheelchairs round a large table. Their teacher uses music as a creative and intelligent activity which can be kept on for a long time in spite of worsening physical conditions. The boys are taught to read music well and some of them can even follow an orchestral score. They learn singing, and if able to move their fingers, play the bamboo pipe. Thus they are able to express themselves with a musical sound, however small ... [The teacher] seems to be enlarging as much as possible the musical horizon of these boys whose activity of life is relentlessly shrinking.
Later in the same report, Alvin describes music teaching in the cerebral palsy unit for young children:
The teacher of spastic children faces an arduous task. The nature of the illness puts severe limitations to the physical and mental development of the patient. This makes normal contacts and communication difficult. But music reaches these children and can give many of them various emotional and mental experiences that they could not get in any other way . .. This music lesson in the ward was an active experience in which each of them could participate. Once more, I was convinced of the power of music to reach the deprived mind and body ...