“It is a gift that was missing. We invented it! Music is good: it heals! It is like the chemist's. Instead of going to the chemist's, you look for an orchestra, you take up an instrument, you play a motif, even just one note, even only once, and you heal from all diseases”. These are words from Roberto Benigni, during the playing of “Peter and the Wolf” of Sergei Prokofiev conducted by Claudio Abbado in 2008.
Bringing music into hospitals might look unnecessary: it is always considered as a recreational activity, without any clinical or scientific value. Nothing has ever been more wrong. Music therapy is globally renowned and its value is being acknowledged in Italy too. TAMINO is the practical example of it: the project has been working since 2006 and has become stronger and stronger in the Sant'Orsola hospital. Not only are the effects of music strictly therapeutical and for young patients, but they also strenghten and support the alliance between parents, doctors and staff or the different wards. During the years, music has become a tool to communicate when speech was damaged, to express strong and unbearable feelings, a channel of relation and integration during difficult individual, familiar and group times.
Hearing is the first sense that develops, even before birth. Sound is the most efficient means to use to get into the subconcious and is a natural regulator of emotions. Music in hospitals is not only a means of relief, but an answer to suffering coming from physical and psychological diseases; it facilitates communication and values the ability of expression of each individual. For a child, it is the best tool to communicate and share emotions and suffering.
In the pediatric oncology ward, music relieves from pain and gives new energy to fight the disease, gives relief to parents and relatives, helps the work of the staff.
In the pediatric surgery ward, music calms children who have to face difficult surgery, but whose anxiety will make the surgery very difficult to carry out. Often, when the young patients wake up after surgery, they ask to relisten to the music they had listened to before surgery.
In the neonatology and neonatal intensive care ward, the songs that the mothers learn help them to get in contact with their preterm children, who reacts to the maternal sounds with little movementsa and, at times, smiles.
Those sounds are the only bond that links the mother to the child, the one that will allow the child to recognise her when she will finally hold the baby in her arms
Photo by Marco Caselli Nirmal