Music National Service at UCSF — a partnership between Music National Service, a nonprofit organization that supports music for public good, and UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital — brings music into the lives and hands of hospital patients, from babies to teenagers. Playing music for patients, and offering them the instruments and skills to play themselves, can provide children with a sense of empowerment, distract them from discomforts of treatments, and give them a sense of normalcy in an otherwise abnormal environment.
Music therapist Meagan Hughes, a MusicianCorps fellow of the service, brings her talent to the hospital several days a week. Toting a cart armed with instruments from guitars to a drum machine, Hughes not only works on music skills in classroom and individual settings at the hospital, she uses music as a tool to build social skills and develop feelings of success.
Hughes has found ways to integrate music appreciation into the children's schoolwork curriculum. She also works with patients at the bedside, helping them write songs to express some of the feelings of what they're going through. She'll even pull out her guitar and play a tune to distract a patient during an uncomfortable treatment.
In a group setting, Hughes not only provides music education, but tries to create a sense of normalcy and fun, in what is often a difficult time.
Music National Service and UCSF collaborate to bring additional MusicianCorps fellows and other musicians from the community into the hospital on special "service days" to perform for and educate the patients.
Hughes and UCSF's program were featured in a news story about music therapy on PBS Newshour.
The UCSF Child Life department accepts donations of all kinds for its Music Program. Weekly volunteers, musicians performing in our concert series, charitable contributions, and musical instruments and materials are all welcome.
If you're interested in volunteering with Music National Service at UCSF, visit www.musicnationalservice.org/hw-volunteer.
To learn more about Music National Service and MusicianCorps, visit www.musiciancorps.org.
To make a donation, please contact:
Child Life Department
UCSF Benioff Children's Hospital
505 Parnassus Ave., Room L-171, Box 0210
San Francisco, CA 94143
Phone (415) 353-1203
For more information, please contact Child Life at (415) 353-1203.
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