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Music Therapy

Child Life Services at Komansky Center for Children

VIDEO: See the ABC World News video about our music therapy program in the Komansky Children's Hospital NICU.

Music therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. At Komansky Children's Hospital, we use music therapy to decrease stress, anxiety, and pain while promoting healthy coping during hospitalization.

Our music therapists are licensed and board-certified in the State of New York. During music therapy sessions, children may engage in spontaneous musical play with intriguing instruments, such as the ocean drum, rain stick, and xylophone. They may play guitar or keyboard with assistance from the therapist. Children may select and sing favorite songs, or may work with the therapist over several sessions to create music and lyrics for original songs. Younger children may not be able to directly articulate concerns or fears that they are experiencing, but these concerns may be quite evident in their musical play or improvised song lyrics.

Instrument playing and movement games are also used to facilitate rehabilitation goals (co-treating with physical/occupational therapy).

Goals of music therapy with pediatric patients include:

  • decreasing pain/anxiety
  • improving expressive communication
  • identifying and resolving fears related to hospitalization or illness
  • improving quality of interaction with family
  • promoting developmental gains


Music therapists are currently seen on a referral basis. Priority is given to patients with life-threatening illnesses or critical health status, patients who lack expressive communication skills, or patients who lack social support during hospitalization.