There is an iconic scene in the FX’s series Pose where Pray Tell (played by Billy Porter) puts up a little show for the AIDS patients in a hospital ward. There he sings to reaffirm his love knowing that he will lose his boyfriend. Live music was played there to mellow down the pervading morbidity that had plagued the halls of the hospital where isolation consumed the patients as much as the virus did, but fiction is no stranger to taking inspiration from real-life events. Music is such that it has become integrally relevant at every stage of our lives.
In the current context of alternative therapies, music has been laying its foundation in palliative and hospice care. Consequently, music has become an accepted utility tool in such settings. Therese Schroeder-Sheker was the first to coin the term Music Thanatology which referred to music played in a specific way for the one drawing their last breath. This sort of music was also known as prescriptive music where the musicians were trained to voice and use the harp, improving and adapting in a way that coincides with the changing physiology of a dying patient.
Ending with a note
As you already know, hospitals are the least relaxed spaced especially for those who are about to lose their loved ones. But music seems to be a great equalizer in such a distressing environment. It can defuse a lot of tension and anxiety felt by the patient and their family. Even though this form of therapy is prevalent these days, the tradition of playing music at deathbed dates back to the middle ages, where Benedictine Monks used music during deathbed vigils. However, the practices were gone with the disappearing ministries especially in the face of the Industrial Age.
Music Therapists also provide music for the dying. They are trained with the specificity of alleviating psychological and physical pain. But how are they any different from the thanatologists? With a prescriptive form of music, the recipient has a more passive role. But when it comes to music therapists the recipient will have a more active role. They can also participate in any way they want to. The patients can also help in assembling a playlist that they might want to hear as they come closer to death. So, live music does play a pivotal role for people nearing their death. The care-associated and the psychological effect it has can holistically redefine the way death is seen or perceived. You can take care of your loved ones and look for their favorite artist at Playtoome, which will help you play live concerts any time remotely. This won’t be as close to what music therapy is but it will at least give a flavor or live concerts at the comfort of their bed.
Music for end-of-life care
Music Therapy for end-of-life care uses music as a tool for intervention where a tailor-made music experience is added in this therapeutic process But what entails such experience? The experience can be anything from live or pre-recorded music to music combined with art or imagery. This has a profound effect on end-of-the-life care since it impacts the quality of life. Playtoome is a great repository for live music concerts, something that can be used as part of music therapy modalities. If you are someone who’s into music therapy or conducting sessions, then browse through their curated list of artists spread across different genres. The best part about this platform is that you can access the content remotely irrespective of your geographic location.