Music therapy is the clinical use of music interventions to help patients reach their physical, emotional, cognitive and social goals.
It uses music to encourage, comfort and empower, providing opportunities for meaningful connection, creative expression, and joyful shared experiences.
“Within a hospital like GOSH, there is such a vast array of patients served, that the goals for each session are hugely different and individually tailored,” says Katya.
“The only common goal - in almost every session - is to have fun. Being in the hospital can be an enormously traumatic and stressful event for a child, teen, parent, or extended family system – anything that can spark a smile, a laugh, or a moment of connection, can be an incredibly meaningful and needed event for the patient and their family.
“While creating a fun, interactive musical connection might be the initial goal, it’s just the first stepping stone in a much larger process. From there, I work to incorporate any goals that are communicated from the MDT (Play, Speech and Language, Physio, and Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Social Work, and of course the medical team). Goals can include anything from a patient developing their coping skills, working on fine or gross motor skills through music, or increasing a patient’s ability to express themselves emotionally.
“Children in the hospital have a lot that’s done to them. Music is something that can be done with them and by them.”
Katya says her favourite part of the job is watching a young person find their voice through music or seeing them discover a new way for that voice to be heard.
You should start to see Katya around the hospital in the coming weeks. Her main instrument is the harp, but you’ll most likely see her in the hospital carting around her guitar, keyboard, ukuleles, and an unfathomable number of percussion instruments.