Music Connects, Music Comforts, Music Heals

About Music Therapy

When Hennepin Healthcare’s music therapist enters a room, you can feel the energy shift. A pleasant calm and release of stress takes place in both staff and patients. Whether providing soft sounds to a whole room or in private interaction, the benefits of music therapy are well documented to increase muscle relaxation, decrease anxiety, distract from pain and nausea, elevate mood, enhance emotional support from family, aid in self-expression, and strengthen one’s ability to cope.

Music therapy happens when the music therapist uses live music to support or manipulate the energy level in the unit or waiting room, or when the music therapist tailors specific musical interventions to help an individual patient meet goals toward health and well-being. Depending on patient and caregiver needs and preferences, music therapists at Hennepin Healthcare may use singing, listening to recorded or live music, improvisation, songwriting, lyric analysis, and musical play to help patients reach these goals.

Hennepin Healthcare has been a regional leader in incorporating arts and music programming into patient care through our Inspire Arts program, which supports holistic patient care and healing. Music therapy helps address the physical, emotional, mental, social and spiritual needs of patients who enter Hennepin Healthcare, many of whom may have experienced trauma in their lives. Music is a unique form of communication that can reach beyond language and across cultures to comfort and heal.

Music provides a special kind of medicine for our patients during their stay. A gift to music therapy will make a lasting impact on our patients.


"I recently worked with Dave, a 60-year-old pancreatic cancer patient who was passionate about creating a legacy project for his family. As a music lover, he readily embraced the idea of creating a music autobiography, selecting some of his favorite songs to represent important chapters in his life. As we listened to the music together, Dave shared stories of his colorful teenage years, as well as sharing his thoughts on spirituality and composing letters to his siblings and caregivers at the Cancer Center. Dave's family was incredibly moved to receive the CD and transcript of his project, which they highlighted at his funeral. Through working on this music therapy project, Dave was able to actively share his feelings of love and hopes for the future with all of the people he held dear in this world."

Music Therapist