2010 Archives

Sick Texas children comforted with music therapy


The following is from the May 6, 2010, edition of CBS 11 News. Professor Robert Krout, director of the Music Therapy Program in SMU's Meadows School of the Arts, provided expertise for this story.

May 10, 2010

By Doug Dunbar

For most people, music reminds them of special times, places, or events in their lives… good and bad. It's often a release. Perhaps nowhere is that more true, than at some North Texas hospitals, where music is being used to help ease the pain, take away the boredom, and in some cases leave a lasting memory.

"I like to play all day with Ms. Karen and Ms. Annie, 'cause you are good friends to me," said 8-year-old cancer patient Allison Wright.

For Allison, the monotony of long hospital stays at Children's Medical Center in Dallas melts away when music therapist Karen Norris arrives. It's a chance for Allison to forget the IV's and chemotherapy, and lose herself in a music session tailored to how she's feeling that day.

Even on her worst days, Allison says the music makes her feel happy. 'It's not always fun being stuck in the hospital but up here at Children's, here in the hospital, they make it fun!"

For therapists like Norris, the goal is to get patients to open up and let feelings go. "It's just neat to see their eyes light up and their wisdom. Like Alli, she has so much wisdom and it comes out in her songs and you can tell just by being here for two minutes, and you can tell she's got a lot to say, and everything that she says is wise."

It's that type of success that has led Southern Methodist University to offer a fully accredited music therapy program to students.

Music Therapy Department Associate Director, Dr. Robert Krout says, "What I find most fulfilling about the music therapy program at SMU is we're not only training students to become professional music therapists, but we also have the community come to campus to the clinic to receive services and our students go out into the community to hospitals, to senior centers, to work with people with special needs." 

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