Texas Children’s Hospital 2016
Texas Music Project recently had the opportunity to collaborate with Texas Children’s Hospital by donating instruments to be used in their Music Therapy program – a program designed to give patients confidence, joy, and relaxation in a time and place where those feelings are practically nonexistent. The connection between these two programs runs deep – George Robinson, of the George Robinson IV Foundation, a key sponsor for Texas Music Project, is the grandson of JS Abercrombie, a key donor for Texas Children’s Hospital. It’s no surprise these programs share such a special relationship.
This year alone, Texas Music Project donated (2) Yamaha keyboards with stands, benches, headphones, and sheet music holders, (20) Chiquita shakers, (2) USB capable recording microphones, (2) sets of professional grade headphones, (8) banjoleles, (2) remo percussion practice pads and stands, and (2) sets of drum sticks. The instruments are used for anything from therapeutic music instruction, to scheduled group music therapy, and in-room recordings and rehearsals.
Marial Biard, a Board Certified Neurologic Music Therapist with Texas Children’s Hospital, describes the instruments as not just a gift of music, but also gifts of love, joy, peace, and a few minutes of freedom from the battles the patients are fighting. Parents also benefit from Music Therapy by watching their child enjoy a few moments of normalcy where their child is laughing, playing, and “just being themselves”. In addition to benefitting patients and their loved ones, Music Therapy also supports hospital staff by allowing patients to tell them “thank you” via music, and provides respite to keep nurses, doctors, and care providers motivated to do the important work they do.
Marial shares this story of Jillian, a patient who has truly felt the positive impact of Texas Music Project’s generosity:
“Jillian is a spunky preteen with a deep love and appreciation for hard core classic rock. During her admission we listened to Guns N’ Roses, Iron Maiden, ACDC, and Black Label Society (just to name a few). Here for several weeks to help strengthen her legs and heal after intense surgeries, Jillian was around long enough to enjoy and utilize several of the instruments that TMP provided our music therapy program. Our sessions together started with practice on a drum pad TMP provided, to the crazy beats of Welcome to The Jungle. After our action packed session she decided that she wanted to focus her efforts on learning 2-3 songs well enough on an instrument to provide a concert for her unit nurses and doctors. This was reason to explore guitar, piano, and drums, before turning to the ukulele. During rehearsals we continued to utilize the practice pad so that we had a steady beat for Jillian to play along to while singing Sweet Child of Mine. After two weeks of rehearsal Jillian decided it would also be a good idea if she brought her saxophone from home up to the hospital so that she could continue practicing and not fall too far behind her band mates in learning how to play. Due to infection control policies only Jillian was allowed to play the saxophone which means I had to be creative in demonstrating technique, breath support, etc. Therefore, I turned to one of the brand new donated keyboards (with a saxophone setting) to show her how the sound needed to be sustained, how to break apart phrases, and when to breathe. It was perfect timing to have such a capable keyboard on hand to help her learn the basics. As sessions progressed so did Jillian’s confidence and skill level. Both in ukulele playing and saxophone playing. By the time of her
discharge Jillian played and sang Sweet Child of Mine and In This River to her friends, nurses, rehab therapists, and doctors on the unit displaying that not only were her legs healing, but so was her fighting spirit.”