Baldwinsville Six musicians are poised to be among the first Syracuse-area residents certified as music practitioners through the national Music for Healing and Transition Program, now offered at Upstate University Hospital.
As a final step to full certification, the six will embark on a 45-hour internship program, beginning in January, to provide healing music to patients at Upstate University Hospital and other area healthcare facilities.
Upstate’s Music for Healing and Transition Program, which enrolled its first class in March, trains musicians on how to use live music to create a healing environment for those with acute and chronic illness.
Each musician has already had more than 100 hours of classes taught here in Syracuse by certified music practitioner instructors from across the country. Students are currently taking their final exams. Their internships, which begin in January, will mark the first formal therapeutic musical encounter they have with patients.
Harpist Laura Jordan, of Baldwinsville, said the training reaffirmed what she had known from her days as an educator, that music has the power to change the environment.
“Music can fill more than a room; it has the power to promote a healing environment, and that will be our roles as music practitioners,” she said.
Music practitioners are not music therapists. Music practitioners use their training and talent to create a healing environment that may reflect changes occurring in the patient. Music therapists are part of a patient’s clinical care team and often engage patients in a music-related activity to meet a therapeutic goal.
All of the students agree that being a music practitioner is less about performing than it is about creating that healing environment.
That’s especially clear to Libby Joyce, a lifelong pianist.
“The instruction has had a transformative affect on my music. My music is much more spiritual now; there is a therapeutic meditation element to my music and I find it very soothing,” she said.