Music Therapy at The Royal Melbourne Hospital
About the award winning music therapy program at The Royal Melbourne Hospital
The Royal Melbourne Hospital Music Therapy program, founded by Manager Senior Clinician Emma O'Brien in June 1997, is a vibrant growing service. The philosophy of the service is to meet patients' needs, physically and emotionally, by offering quality of life experiences through music and the therapeutic relationship and partnership between patient and therapist. People do not have to be musical to benefit from Music Therapy. Our RMH Music Therapy program offers opportunities for increased self expression, positive experiences and an increased sense of meaning. By meeting patients' changing needs, Music Therapy aims to improve their quality of life.
Our RMH program is centered on live music (listening and participating) and original songwriting. Listening to live music can reduce stress and help to normalize the hospital environment. Participating in live music is also used to help people regain functioning in speech and movement post trauma. In our original therapeutic songwriting program patients are given the opportunity to express themselves and their personal stories in words and music under the guidance of the Music Therapist. Through these methods, Music Therapy can reduce peoples' distressing physical symptoms and increase self-expression and positive experiences.
Our service is world renowned for its innovative songwriting program and new STUDIO THERAPY program. Music Therapy is managed by Emma O'Brien and we have a team of music therapists providing a clinical service in cancer care, palliative care and neurology.
ANNUAL SCHOOL MUSIC FESTIVAL
“ I just walked out of an appointment into the halls of the hospital after hearing some bad news from the Doctor, and I was feeling really low, but the singing of the students as part of the music festival really lifted my spirits- thank you ‘ (RMH Patient, 2013)
It is our pleasure to invite you and your school music programs to register for our The Royal Melbourne Hospital Live Music is Good for You Festival May 5th to May 9th, 2014. Registrations are now open- details below
The festival engages school music groups of all sizes and levels from around Victoria to perform for patients, visitors and staff in the hospital setting. This year we are celebrating our 5th Annual Festival, sponsored by Mrs. Barbara Haynes OAM and Ms Betty Amsden OAM.
Ensembles play between 10.00am -2.30pm and all participants are invited to music and health workshops. We provide all Festival participants with free parking, refreshments, and workshops on Music in Health & African Drumming, and opportunities to play in several different venues around the hospital. Over the past four festivals we have had schools from all around Victoria perform (many schools attend annually) and the festival program is built on a first come, first served basis.
We have 2 major venues (the hospital atrium foyer – which can accommodate very large ensembles) and the first floor landing (which can accommodate smaller groups, choirs up to 20 performers). We have a full PA system, keyboards, electric guitar, bass and a basic drum kit available for use, and 15 music stands.
All participants are entered into the running for the Haynes Music in Health Awards and the Amsden Peoples’ Choice Awards which recognize excellence and the ensembles engagement with the audience in this unique performance space.
The festival attracts national and local media on radio, TV and newspapers.
Winners in 2013
- Haynes Music in Health Winner Award - Westbourne Grammar Jazz Band and Choir, Preston Girls Rock Band and Guitar Ensemble, Kew High School Chinese Music Ensemble
- Haynes Music in Health Highly Commended Award - Scoresby High School Drumming Circle, Kew High School String Ensemble
- Individual award medallion for outstanding contribution to the festival - Damien and Travis from Westbourne Grammar, Paul from Kew High School and Braydon from Scoresby High School
To register : please email festival assistant firstname.lastname@example.org with your preferred attendance day/s the type of your ensemble/s and any equipment requirements, and parking requirements (we encourage schools to bring many ensembles) and your main contact details. You can also call 9342 7951 and leave your details and we will contact you directly.
If you have any questions please contact
The Festival Director Emma O’Brien - email@example.com
Music therapy is supported by visionary philanthropists and champions.
Our major Patron is Mrs Barbara Haynes OAM – who supports the Caroline Clifford Memorial Trust Music Therapy position and our health musicians program and is the primary patron of the Schools music Festival. Ms Betty Amsden OAM is a great supporter of our Schools Music Festival (in partnership with Mrs Haynes) and is a regular donor to our special projects.
We have some wonderful music therapy champions
Shannon Bennett is a world class Australian chef and author. He is best known as the head chef of restaurant Vue de monde at Melbourne’s Rialto Tower.
Shannon and his team hosted our inaugural music therapy fundraising dinner (Vue de monde , pre opening) in 2011. https://www.facebook.com/ImagineDinnerAtVueEventsAtRialto/info
We were joined by Adam Hills, Pete Murray and Matt Preston and this premier event raised $75,000 which enabled us to commence a new music therapy position in neurology. Shannon has since hosted our 2012 dinner with special guest Guy Sebastian, and Shannon has also raised money for us in RUN Melbourne.
This year we will be working with Shannon and the team at Vue once again for a once in a lifetime magical evening, where we transform a Melbourne icon into a 5 star restaurant for one night only.
Be delighted, be inspired...just 'Imagine'
Television host, model, actor and presenter, Glen Moriarty is known for being part of the Nine Network's Melbourne Postcards reporting team. Glen is our regular MC at music therapy events and is a champion in our studio therapy program.
DONATE TO MUSIC THERAPY
If you would like to donate to Music Therapy, please contact the RMH Foundation and quote Music Therapy on 9342 7111. You can also donate online to Music Therapy.
Singer Pete Murray has released songs written by two cancer patients from The Royal Melbourne Hospital, with his third single 'Let You Go' on his Benefit EP on iTunes, as part of a promise he made to them seven years ago. In 2005 Pete met Kate Dawes, aged 20 and Caroline Clifford, 19. They had both written songs with Emma O'Brien as part of the Music Therapy program.
Pete heard the songs and was very touched by the girls' words, the music and their stories. Pete was a great source of support and hope for both of the girls. He promised that one day he would record their songs. Sadly Kate and Caroline died within six months of each other in 2005.
Staying true to his promise, Pete worked with Emma to record the songs for the families in 2007, shown on the Channel 9 YouTube videos below. Special thanks to all involved
Some profits from the release will go to Music Therapy at the hospital, so that more patients can have access to the songwriting program and find their song. "Pete's heartfelt recordings of these two beautiful songs will finally be available to the public in Kate and Caroline's memory," Emma O'Brien said. "Thanks to Sony Music Entertainment Australia, Pete's managment John Watson and Dave MacGregor, and special thanks to Pete Murray."
A message from Pete Murray about the songs and the clips
"I am very impressed with all the beautiful work and support over the years for the songs, and in particular the wonderful support everyone has shown in making both music video clips. This is also a great opportunity to spread the word about music therapy and how songwriting can really change people's journeys. I know the girls are smiling at us now"
Join in the conversation and find Pete's Promise on Facebook.
To purchase the EP visit the iTunes store.
The music therapy department is happy to talk to volunteers who wish to come in and play music in general areas of the hospital. All volunteers must attend an interview and audition and subsequent information sessions. We only take volunteers of weekdays between 10am -4pm. Live music in public spaces is much loved by everyone in the hospital including staff, patients, and their families. Volunteers with skills in other areas such as studio production and engineering or administration are also welcome. If you would like to inquire about being a volunteer contact Senior Music Therapist and Volunteer Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Songwriting with Cancer Patients
The Senior Clinician / Manager’s current PhD at the University of Melbourne, research project is examining the song writing method she developed here at RMH with cancer patients. This is a unique published method called Guided Original Lyrics and Music (GOLM - O'Brien, 2004, 2005). This major research project is measuring the (GOLM method) song writing's effect on cancer patients quality of life and mood states. This is a multisite randomised controlled trial with RMH and Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. This major research project is a first for music therapy and supportive care worldwide. or more information about the Music Therapy program, please contact:
for more details please contact Emma O'Brien