The sounds of healing
Volunteers with Musicians on Call may not be practicing medicine, but their goal is to deliver the healing power of music. The New York City-based not-for-profit has partnered with more than 50 hospitals and healthcare facilities in several major cities across the country since 1999 to bring personal musical performances to the bedsides of patients who could use some sonic therapy.
Hundreds of volunteer musicians participate, from aspiring stars to those who’ve already made it—including Pharrell, Kelly Clarkson, Darius Rucker and Gavin DeGraw. Often the mood is somber when the musicians arrive. “Once you start playing the music, you see the entire mood change,” MOC President Pete Griffin said. “You realize in those three to four minutes you’re in there, you’ve really elevated the spirits.”
So far, MOC musicians have performed for more than 400,000 individuals. The group has branches in Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia and Washington, D.C.
MOC—which works with adult, children’s and veterans hospitals along with rehabilitation facilities and other providers—has expanded beyond its bedside program.
In its Music Pharmacy program, record labels donate CDs to MOC, which offers to send the CDs to hospitals for free. Griffin said the group is also looking into a music-streaming option.
MOC’s newest program, Project Playback, allows patients to create and record their own songs, with the help of musicians and songwriters, from the comforts of their hospital beds.
“We’re not curing disease, but we’re certainly part of the healing process,” Griffin said.
far left, and a friend entertain
a patient at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s
Hospital at Vanderbilt in
Nashville. C O U R T E S Y O F M U S I C A N S O N C A L