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First class of music practitioners set to play for patients as part of internship program

From left, Laura Jordan of Baldwinsville, Victoria Krukowski of Cicero, Libby Joyce of South Onondaga and Mary Tolone of Mattydale are among the first class of students in Upstate's Music for Health and Transition Program. To fulfill their certification requirements, the will play for patients at area healthcare institutions.

From left, Laura Jordan of Baldwinsville, Victoria Krukowski of Cicero, Libby Joyce of South Onondaga and Mary Tolone of Mattydale are among the first class of students in Upstate's Music for Health and Transition Program. To fulfill their certification requirements, the will play for patients at area healthcare institutions.

— Six musicians, including a clarinetist who played for the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (SSO), 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 providing 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.

Mary Tolone of Mattydale, whose instrument is her voice, said the program piqued her interest as a way to extend her vocal talent to new areas. But the course work, she said, was transformative.

“The training empowered my musical abilities,” and highlighted the infinite scope of what music can be, she said.

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,” Jordan 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.

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