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The Mass General Environmental Music Program brings live, high-quality music to public spaces in the hospital to create a calming and soothing environment for patients, families, and staff.
“It was a very pleasant surprise to hear piano music gently ringing through the space. Very calming, restorative, it has already changed my day in a very positive way.”
- a patient commenting on the environmental music in the hallway
The objective of an environmental musician is to set the mood of the lobby or lounge, and positively affect the moods of those who hear the music. The purpose of environmental music is to create a restful and pleasant atmosphere, and to not draw attention to the musician. An environmental musician’s focus is not on performance, but on service to the listeners in the environment. Based on the reaction of the listeners, environmental musicians attempt to adjust the style of their music based on the situation, if necessary. The music’s effects will differ slightly for each person who is present, but the hope is to enable people to relax and drift into their own thoughts and moods. Live musicians also provide a warm and caring presence in what may otherwise be a cold and sterile environment. Live music has been shown to lessen stress and anxiety, and music tends to soften the environment and provide a distraction from the listener's immediate concerns.
The Mass General Environmental Music program is always looking for talented and generous volunteer musicians who are interested in using their gifts to positively impact the day of the many people in our hospital community.
“Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals for people of all ages and ability levels within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. Music therapists develop music therapy treatment plans specific to the needs and strengths of the client who may be seen individually or in groups. Music therapy treatment plans are individualized for each client. The goals, objectives, and potential strategies of the music therapy services are appropriate for the client and setting. The music therapy interventions may include music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, singing, music performance, learning through music, music combined with other arts, music-assisted relaxation, music-based patient education, electronic music technology, adapted music intervention, and movement to music.”
- The American Music Therapy Association
More information on music therapy can be found here.
Learn about Mass General’s Pediatric and Cancer Center Music Therapy, offered to our patients through the Katherine A. Gallagher Integrative Therapies Program.
We are looking for highly-skilled, sensitive musicians! There are two available options for volunteering, and both tracks require an audition:
You must be able to play your instrument with few to no mistakes for at least 30 minutes. We are open to all styles and genres, if the music is positive and uplifting, and you can modulate volume and intensity to fit the environment you are playing in. We are always available to provide guidance and support in this area.
A high level of expertise is required for the following instruments:
If you do not see your instrument listed but feel that your music could complement the program, please contact us.
We hope that you will consider becoming one of our volunteers! If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
After being accepted into the Environmental Music Program as a weekly volunteer, please visit the Mass General Volunteer page to sign up for an orientation session. Once you are signed up for a session, the process before you can start typically takes 3-4 weeks. At orientation, you will be asked to sign up for an interview with the volunteer department. Although you have been accepted into the Environmental Music Program, an appointment is still needed to complete the CORI in person and submit immunization records (MMR and TB tests) for the health screening. After completing the health screening, you will be given an ID badge and will then be cleared to start. A volunteer jacket is not required for this program.
Volunteer shifts are Mondays - Fridays: 9:00am—5:00pm. Once you have completed the necessary procedures to becoming an official Mass General volunteer, please contact LKUBICEK1@partners.org with your availability, preferred performance schedule, and the length of your program. You should be able to perform at Mass General at least once a week.
A 30-50-minute program of repertoire is preferred. Your performance set should be relaxing, pleasant, and uplifting. Simple and melodic/harmonic music generally works best. You should avoid pieces with fast tempos and/or dissonance because it may cause stress. Although you may have the skills to perform complex pieces, a medical setting is not the place for it. At the same time, please be sure that your program set is practiced and polished. Any style of music is welcome, but you should avoid non-secular pieces and songs that may trigger sad memories (i.e. Amazing Grace). If you are a vocalist, you will need to be especially aware of lyric content. Do not include any songs with expletives, religious or political themes, or triggering/offensive lyrics. If you have any questions regarding repertoire, please contact us at LKUBICEK1@partners.org.
You will need to bring your instrument, music, and music stand with you every time you perform. If you will need a chair, please let us know beforehand. Mass General has an upright piano and keyboard that you may use. While playing, your other belongings can either be stored in the lockers designated for Mass General volunteers or placed near you against the wall or in a corner. If your instrument requires more than a minute to tune, please do so before arriving for your volunteer shift.
Volunteers will initially play in outpatient settings including:
Once volunteers feel comfortable performing in outpatient areas, additional locations may include:
Volunteers must adhere to all Massachusetts General Hospital policies and procedures, including:
Note that Massachusetts General Hospital does not permit:
Please fill out an online application here. Include a 5-10 minute video/audio recording(s) of a solo performance. If you are a vocalist, your recording should include both you and whomever will be accompanying you at Mass General. YouTube links are preferred.
Supervisor: Lorrie Kubicek, MT-BCLKUBICEK1@partners.org
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