Alder Hey Children's Hospital
I've been fortunate enough to have been working for a project between Live Music Now and Alder Hey Children's Hospital called Musical Mentoring. I, along with three other LMN musicians, have been involved in this pilot programme for nearly a year, and it will be wrapping up in the next couple of months.
We were take under the wing of amazing cellist and musician Georgina Aasgaard to help guide our journeys of bringing music into the paediatric hospital setting. Each of us were assigned different wards in the hospital, and each setting is quite different to the others. My ward is a mixed medical ward, where there is typically a regular turn over of patients, but with a few being long-term. In my setting, I have to be mobile and highly flexible and spontaneous. I load up a polka-dotted trolley with various instruments (usually rainbow chimes, a ukelele, various shakers and bells, a drum of some sort) along with my flutes. When I arrive on the ward, I'm met by a play specialist who will give me a list of patients who may enjoy a music session. And then the rest is up to me!
We were all trained in infection control and relevant health and safety, which is an extremely important element of the work.
From the very first session I gave, I was truly humbled by the impact that music had on the patients and their families, as well as the change in atmosphere on the ward. Initially I was a bit nervous to deliver the 'right' kind of music and select the 'best' activities. However, through these sessions, I have had to a develop a deep trust in my instincts, musical and emotional, and give the session patience to unfold as it is appropriate. Having more confidence to NOT plan a session still takes getting used to, but the best sessions seem to be the ones where I go in and just stick in the moment. It's a privilege to be allowed into the space of a child and their family and to get the chance to brighten their day, help them have a laugh together, make up a silly tune, play them music I love, and perhaps help them forget where they are for a bit.
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