Musician volunteers can help kids, patients in ways no one else can

volunteer musician

First, a caveat: While musicians of all skills are invited to volunteer and perform, we know that the work they’re doing is not the same as evidenced-based musical therapy, which uses music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Those professionals have degrees and credentials that have knowledge in psychology, medicine, and music.

We feel compelled to point that out, but also have to state that there is a place for talented musicians who enjoy entertaining and bringing beauty and joy to people who need their spirits lifted. And some of these organizations provide musician volunteers with training to help them understand their role as a musician in the healing process. Find out where you can fit in by reaching out to the organizations below.

  1. St. David’s Children’s Hospital is teaming up to bring the joy of music to hospitalized kids and teens with a therapeutic music medicine program called MyMusicRx. Utilizing a state-of-the-art music cart stocked with high quality instruments, volunteer Austin musicians – who have undergone specialized training to learn music medicine techniques that are most effective with children, teens and their families – play and teach music to pediatric patients bedside in the hospital.

Individuals ages 18 and older who are interested in training as a volunteer music specialist must be able to sing and play guitar, use an electronic tablet and volunteer approximately two hours a week. For more information, contact the St. David’s volunteer services coordinator at (512) 901-1223.

2. Meals on Wheels and More has a current need for musicians to lead a 40 minute sing along session once or twice a month in “Mike’s Place”, a respite program of Meals on Wheels and More that offers support to individuals, families and caregivers dealing with the challenges of Alzheimer’s Disease, memory loss and dementia.

The program meets on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 10 am – 11:30. During this time caregivers can bring their loved ones with Alzheimer’s Disease, memory loss or dementia to us for a fun program of activities including games, art, music, exercise, presentations by outside groups and a nutritious lunch. Learn more about volunteering here.

3. Hospice Austin provides comfort and care to patients and families facing the end of a life. Compassionate volunteers – and especially musicians willing to share their talents – play a supportive role that can bring love and light to their clients. Volunteers must be over 18 and go through a training, but are welcome from any and all walks of life. Learn more about volunteering here.

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