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Music Therapy

Music therapy at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center engages patients in music activities that help address the physiologic and psycho-emotional aspects of cancer treatment. Our board-certified music therapists work with you to participate in musical activities that promote your healing and well-being.

Participating in music therapy sessions may help:

  • Assist in relaxation
  • Induce positive mood and emotions
  • Help maintain executive function (set of mental skills that enable you to accomplish everyday tasks) and other cognitive skills
  • Provide opportunities for creative and artistic self-expression
  • Reduce pain, nausea, and discomfort
  • Reduce stress and anxiety 

Who We Can Help

We offer music therapy services for anyone who is currently undergoing or has recently undergone cancer treatment. Patients who receive music therapy are able to engage in activities that promote wellness through music making.

Our patients report that playing an instrument during treatment helps them cope with extended hospitalizations, while also providing a great way to exercise their cognition (understanding), something that can be impacted by chemotherapy. Patients also report valuing the role of music to elevate their mood and provide an outlet for emotional expression during their care.

Patients who attend music groups on the unit report they enjoy socializing with others and creating music in a stress-free environment. Caregivers report positive statements about seeing their loved one “act like themselves again,” while making music together allows for a positive way for families to bond during a difficult time.

For questions about music therapy at Sylvester, please contact Mary Kauffman at m.kauffman@miami.edu.

Types of Music Therapy We Offer

Through live music making, active music listening, or instrumental lessons, our music therapist can support you through all phases of treatment. Our music therapy team tailors each musical experience to your individual needs.

Music therapy services include:

  • One-on-one music therapy sessions: Our individualized music-based treatment plans can help you manage stress and anxiety, express your emotions and thoughts, exercise and maintain cognitive skills, and reduce feelings of isolation during hospitalization and cancer treatment. Individual music therapy can also help those in their spirituality and survivorship path.

  • Group music therapy sessions: We hold group therapy sessions on the inpatient and stem cell transplant unit to allow patients a time where they can relax, enjoy themselves, and connect with others in a stress-free environment. You can sing and play your favorite songs, while discussing how being in a positive state can impact your well-being.

  • Survivorship choir: We are the only academic-based cancer survivorship choir that focuses on the use of singing for well-being in Florida. Our staff has over 30 years of experience leading vocal groups and is able to meet any vocal need that may arise. The choir is open to patients, survivors, caregivers, staff, or anyone who is a cancer ally.

  • Live music performances #SylvesterMusicProject: Our music therapists coordinate live music performances delivered by students at the Frost School of Music and local community musicians for our clinic waiting areas and satellite locations. Music in our infusion units, common areas, and waiting rooms allows for patients and staff to experience the benefits of live music. Our therapists interview, train, and regularly connect with the musicians to make sure the music provided is appropriate and enjoyed by all.

Student Music Therapy Training

Our patients benefit from receiving leading-edge treatment in the field of music therapy, as our staff is actively training the rising generation of music therapists. Students from the Frost School of Music’s music therapy program come to Sylvester to complete their practicum rotations. Here, they learn how to apply music clinically under the supervision of our music therapists. Students from around the country can apply to complete their six-month internship in order to sit for the national board certification exam.

Cancer Support Services

Contact us today to learn more or request an appointment.