WESTWOOD—Many people are aware that dogs are used in hospitals as volunteers to cheer up the patients. UCLA Hospital has been using dogs to cheer up their patients, but now there is something new at the Mattel Children’s hospital.
Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, a pediatrician and a musician, decided to experiment with his six year old leukemia patient. This patient was very depressed. Dr. Tachdijan came up with the idea one day that perhaps he could use music to cheer up this child. He was very well rewarded when this boy responded quite well.
Tachdijan soon realized that music not only lifts the spirit of his patients, but it also distracts them from their pain. He also feels that music helps to break the ice between patient and doctor.
Tachdijan decided that music is not only beneficial to the patients but also to him or whoever is doing the musical therapy. He realizes that not only do patients enjoy listening to music but they also like experimenting with the different instruments.
When one little boy received a keyboard, the child immediately started tapping on the keys as the doctor accompanied him on his guitar. This incident not only cheered up this child, but his mother had a very positive reaction as she witnessed the two of them involved in this activity.
There are approximately 50 children who have received a musical instrument through the Children’s Music Fund, a foundation Tachdijan started in order to raise money to buy instruments for hospital patients across the nation.
Children can choose from guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments. If they don’t know how o play, they are linked to an organization that provides lessons.
This pediatrician is researching the influence of music in a study conducted through Mattel’s Pediatric Pain Program. Brain images show links between music and regions of the brain that is responsible for emotion, mathematics, memory and coordination.
Hospitalized kids spend their time playing video games or watching TV, but music can also help alleviate their sadness, pain and overall coping mechanism.