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Music Therapy

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.  Learn more about music therapy and what a music therapy session may consist of.

Music therapy is by appointment only.

To schedule an appointment, call the Wellness and Integrative Health Center at 801-587-4585.

In the News:

music therapy

Music Therapy at
Huntsman Cancer Institute
(click to view video)

Music therapy is the clinical use of music to help people reach therapeutic goals. Engaging in music therapy can help people:
  • Manage pain, anxiety, and depression
  • Feel emotionally supported and able to express their thoughts and feelings
  • Feel motivated to engage in their treament
  • Connect with family in a new and different way
  • Relax and recharge, both mentally and physically
  • Maintain a higher quality of life

Music therapy may include creating music with instruments, singing, writing songs, discussing lyrics, listening to recorded music, moving to music, and more. The session may be different for each person and will change as the person’s needs change. The music therapist can work one-on-one or with a family.

Singing

  • Increases a sense of empowerment and self-worth
  • Supports breathing and lung health
  • Restores a sense of self for people who used to sing
  • Promotes reminiscence in people with memory loss

Songwriting

May include creating original songs, chants, and affirmations, or replacing lyrics of an existing song

  • Promotes empowerment, creative expression, and a positive mood
  • Helps express feelings associated with illness and hospitalization, including grief and loss, depression, and anger

Instrumental Improvisation

Consists of creating music "in the moment" using different instruments such as guitar, drums, piano, voice, and more

  • Promotes creativity, empowerment, connection, and emotional expression
  • Helps express negative feelings
  • Decreases anxiety and stress
  • Helps process life experiences, losses, grief, and pain in a new and different way
  • Encourages insight through talking and expression

Music-Supported Relaxation

  • Helps manage pain and discomfort
  • Decreases anxiety and stress
  • Promotes overall wellness
  • Can be paired with guided imagery, affirmations, and meditation

Music Listening and Lyric Discussion

  • Encourages insight through talking and expression
  • Helps express feelings associated with illness
  • Promotes life review through music-prompted memories

Musical Legacy Projects

May include recordings of a person singing or telling stories, a compiled playlist of music, video recordings, photo slideshows, hand prints, and more, which can then be shared with family and friends

  • Affirms one’s unique identity which provides a sense of empowerment and self-worth
  • Helps process loss and express life experiences and lessons learned
  • Uncovers purpose and meaning
  • Encourages developing a sense of closure
  • Preserves memories and shares values
  • Helps family process feelings of grief, loss, anger, sadness, and more
  • Promotes reminiscence, life review, emotional expression, and connection with family

Marco's Story

marcos-story.jpg

Magical moment in the infusion room with patients, nurses, and music therapists.

During Marco's last chemotherapy treatment today the music therapists started a blues improvisation singing phrases like "I come to the infusion center, I sing, and now I have kicked cancer's butt!"

While he created this musical moment with the music therapy intern, another patient's family member, who had brought his guitar, began to play and improvise with the music. That family member had ...brought his own guitar as a comfort to his wife, and for his own coping strategy. He seemed elated to join the music improvisation, directed by the music therapy intern.

Marco requested a Spanish song called "El Cielito Lindo" as a celebration of his last chemo infusion. As the music therapists played, he began to sing along, joined in by the man with the guitar, as well as another patient, moved to joined in. Many of the nurses gathered, all smiling, singing, dancing and socializing.

It was a magical musical moment in the infusion center today!

Heather Fellows, SCMT, MT-BC - Music Therapy

Heather Fellows

Heather Fellows, SCMT, MT-BC - Music Therapy

Heather provides quality, evidence-based music therapy treatment for HCI patients. She earned a BS in Music Therapy from Utah State University in 2000.  Heather has worked privately and in group settings with various populations, including acute and sub-acute rehab, adult psychiatric, and older adult.  She has advanced training in hospice and palliative care music therapy and has worked at University of Utah Hospital for the past 8 years.

Beth Hardy

Beth Hardy, SCMT, MT-BC - Music Therapy

Beth is passionate about helping HCI patients find deep connection and inner peace through her evidence-based, client-centered, and improvisational approach to music therapy. She received her music therapy degree from Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA, in 2008. She also has advanced training in hospice and palliative care music therapy and music therapy-assisted childbirth. Beth previously worked for seven years at the Palo Alto VA Hospital in California.

Music Therapy Research and Outcomes
The links below include highlights of music therapy research and evidence-based outcomes in cancer care and survivorship. This is provided for informational purposes only. Patients should discuss this and any other treatments with their health care providers.

Music Therapy for Pain & Symptom Management
Effects of Intravenous Patient-Controlled Sufentanil Analgesia and Music Therapy on Pain and Hemodynamics After Surgery for Lung Cancer: A Randomized Parallel Study.

The impact of music therapy versus music medicine on psychological outcomes and pain in cancer patients: a mixed methods study.


[Clinical observation of music therapy combined with anti-tumor drugs in treating 116 cases of tumor patients].


Music Therapy for Anxiety, Depression & Stress
Effects of Music Therapy on Anesthesia Requirements and Anxiety in Women Undergoing Ambulatory Breast Surgery for Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment: A Randomized Controlled Trial.

A randomized controlled trial to determine the effects of music and relaxation interventions on perceived anxiety in hospitalized patients receiving orthopaedic or cancer treatment.


Fifteen-minute music intervention reduces pre-radiotherapy anxiety in oncology patients.


A clinical randomized controlled trial of music therapy and progressive muscle relaxation training in female breast cancer patients after radical mastectomy: results on depression, anxiety and length of hospital stay.


The effect of creative psychological interventions on psychological outcomes for adult cancer patients: a systematic review of randomised controlled trials.

Monochord sounds and progressive muscle relaxation reduce anxiety and improve relaxation during chemotherapy: a pilot EEG study.

A randomised controlled trial of the effect of music therapy and verbal relaxation on chemotherapy-induced anxiety.

Effects of music therapy on pain and anxiety in patients undergoing bone marrow biopsy and aspiration.

Reduction in salivary cortisol level by music therapy during colonoscopic examination.

The effects of group music therapy on mood states and cohesiveness in adult oncology patients.


Music as a therapeutic intervention for anxiety in patients receiving radiation therapy.


Music Therapy in Palliative Cancer Care
Music-based interventions in palliative cancer care: a review of quantitative studies and neurobiological literature.