DALLAS–Music is something many of us can relate to—it helps us reminisce, express ourselves, and it can provide comfort and a much-needed distraction. For these reasons and more, music therapy is an integral piece for those navigating life’s final passage and for their grieving family members.
Jennefer Dixon is a music therapist for Faith Presbyterian Hospice (FPH), and she witnesses the benefits of music therapy every day. She visits patients in their homes Monday through Friday, patients at the T. Boone Pickens Hospice and Palliative Care Center on Wednesdays, and she provides the music during Faith Kids and Camp Faith. Each situation is unique, and her techniques vary to accommodate the needs of patients and/or loved ones.
“Music therapy is the use of music and musical activities to care for patients and their families who are experiencing physical or emotional setbacks,” said Dixon. “I visit many of my patients in their homes. One patient really enjoys when I play older songs like ‘Clementine’ and ‘Home on the Range’ because her husband used to sing them to her, and they would sing them in the car with their kids when traveling on family road trips. The songs help her reminisce and recall happy moments she shared with her family. Another woman is a retired music teacher who sang in the opera. She lost her speech and ability to communicate—but listening to music still brings her a lot of joy. She lights up when I come to visit, and I’ve noticed certain songs like ‘Somewhere Over the Rainbow’ really enhance her mood.”