Music therapy brings joy to patients

A Bunbury teacher, turned music therapist, is bringing the joy of music to patients at St John of God Bunbury Hospital.

9 Jan 2020

St John of God Bunbury Hospital music therapy

9 January 2020

Jacqueline Ross, who previously worked as a music teacher in Bunbury, has stepped out of the classroom to pursue her lifelong passion of becoming a music therapist.

Ms Ross provides music therapy for patients at St John of God Bunbury Hospital. Patients who may need extra support to help lift their mood and emotions and express their feelings are referred to Ms Ross for music therapy.

“Patients participate in the process as much or as little as they like. They could be fully involved with lots of discussion and contemplation or they could simply sit back, relax and enjoy the music,” Ms Ross said.

“I work with some patients to write a song together using words written in collaboration and then play it to the nurses or in private.

“The response from patients and staff has been incredibly positive. Patients enjoy the opportunity to engage in an activity that is positive and not focused on their physical wellbeing.”

St John of God Bunbury Hospital Chief Executive Officer Jeffrey Williams said it was wonderful to see the joy music brought to patients and the flow on effect it had to caregivers.

“When patients come to hospital we want to care for their physical needs but also their emotional and spiritual needs,” he said.

“Having music fill our wards and offer our patients a creative outlet has helped us bring this aim to life and offer a welcoming and healing environment for patients, their families and our caregivers.”

Ms Ross is continuing to provide music therapy at the hospital in 2020. 

“Through working as a music teacher I was able to see the benefit music had on school children, especially those with special needs. I felt that the work I was doing had therapeutic benefits but I wanted to understand the theory behind it and to have a qualification to prove that,” she said.

“I am keen to continue my studies and become a neurologic music therapist so I can work with people who have neurological condition such as stroke, acquired brain injury or Parkinson's,” she said.