National Music Centre announces music therapy partnership on World Music Therapy Day

March 01, 2018

Music therapist Sam Harber from JB Music gets patients involved in a group session at Foothills Medical Centre. Photo courtesy of AHS. 

The National Music Centre (NMC) is pleased to announce a new partnership with Alberta Health Services (AHS) and JB Music Therapy that will help to expand the neurorehabilitation music therapy program at the Foothills Medical Centre (FMC).

The announcement coincides with World Music Therapy Day (March 1) and Music Therapy Awareness Month (March) in Canada. In addition to on-site programs at Studio Bell, such as Bell Let’s Talk Day and other events dedicated to education and awareness in support of music and health, NMC is committed to supporting outreach initiatives that explore the power of music within the community.

“Music is medicine, and that notion relates to everything that we do at Studio Bell,” said Andrew Mosker, President and CEO for NMC. “We are proud to amplify our commitment to music therapy on World Music Therapy Day, and to extend our belief in the power of music beyond the walls of Studio Bell. We look forward to finding more partnership opportunities like this in the future.”

After a successful pilot season, the music therapy program at FMC will resume in 2018 thanks to the support of NMC and Calgary Health Trust. Trained music therapists from JB Music Therapy will once again deliver the program to FMC patients, and will continue to do so over the next two years.

The expanded music program will treat patients with neurological disorders in the intensive care unit, stroke, brain injury and spinal cord injury patients receiving neurorehabilitation, and patients in the palliative care program.

“We are very thankful for the opportunity to support the specialized training of our AHS allied health therapists in neurologic music therapy headed by Dr. Michael Thaut, professor of neuroscience and music in Toronto,” said Dr. Stephanie Plamondon, physiatrist, Department of Clinical Neurosciences, AHS. “This will allow us to integrate research-based music therapy techniques across rehabilitation therapies in concert with the JB Music team, and to use the properties of music to its full therapeutic potential for the benefit of our patients.”

Music therapist Sam Harber (right) and research student Julie Joyce (centre) work with patient Denise Gettis as part of her rehabilitation at Foothills Medical Centre. Photo courtesy of AHS. 

NMC and JB Music Therapy will continue to collaborate on opportunities for the public to learn more about the work at FMC and the benefits of music therapy through educational programming at Studio Bell, such as Bell Let’s Talk Day and other events.

“JB Music Therapy, Alberta Health Services and the National Music Centre have a shared belief that the music we use, and how we respond to it, is unique to everyone regardless of age, ability or health status,” said Jennifer Buchanan, music therapist and founder of JB Music Therapy. “We believe music therapy, a treatment based in science and research, and this partnership will have a considerable impact on many members of our community, helping to restore their health and well-being. It is our pleasure to bring music therapy to Alberta’s trauma centre.”

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