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Richard S. Becker Music Library Brightens Children's Hospital Stay

New York (Jun 18, 2010)

The halls are alive with the sound of music, thanks to music publisher Richard S. Becker who has established a music lending library at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital since 2007. The library, an integral part of the Hospital's Child Life Department, is available to children undergoing cancer treatment during inpatient stays, outpatient treatment, or when they are being seen in the Pediatric Emergency Department.

A Grateful Donor Gives Back

Mr. Becker was inspired to create this unique library as a way of giving back to NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital for helping to save his life two years ago. After experiencing heart-related problems, Mr. Becker was treated by the Hospital's cardiology team and has since fully recovered. Having always worked with young people in the music industry, Mr. Becker hoped to brighten the young patients' days and help them heal through music.

A Comprehensive and Growing Collection

In addition to two fully stocked vintage Wurlitzer jukeboxes - one located in the Child Life Center on the 5th floor of Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital and the other in the Adolescent Oncology Department on the 7th floor of the Herbert Irving Pavilion - the music library includes:

  • 175 compact discs of various music genres (i.e., country, classical, and pop)
  • portable compact disc players
  • bedside compact disc players
  • iPod nanos
  • external hard drive to store and organize music
  • MacBook laptops with additional music making software
  • guitar, keyboard, and drum pad
  • iTune gift cards (to be given to patients at major milestones during their stay)
  • music books in English and Spanish

The pediatric patients have selected the music for the jukeboxes, which is updated whenever a child requests that new music be added. "All they have to do is contact us," says Mr. Becker. "This music will never be boring or outdated."

Benefits of Music Therapy

Kate O'Brien, Heather on Earth Music Therapist at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital, uses many of the items in the library during therapeutic music sessions with patients and families. According to Ms. O'Brien, the music helps with pain management, wards off depression, promotes movement, and provides a calming effect that helps to ease tension.

"During afternoon playroom sessions at the Hospital, the music lends a lively background and has lots heads bobbing and toes tapping," adds Toni Millar, Director of the Child Life Program.

Despite a long and successful career in the music industry marked by well-known collaborations, Mr. Becker notes, "No project - not even working with the Rolling Stones, the Beatles, or Frank Sinatra - means as much to me as creating this music library at Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital."

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