If you listen closely in the hallways of McMaster Children’s Hospital (MCH), you might just catch the strumming of an acoustic guitar and a voice that is sure to brighten your day.
Music therapist Adrian Mollica spends his Tuesdays and Thursdays with young patients at MCH on behalf of Fermata #Music Therapy. Through his music Adrian finds a unique connection with each of the patients.
“It has this really wonderful, non-threatening and engaging way of interacting with the kids,” explains Adrian.
Ultimately, the goal of music therapy is to positively affect both the child and their family, and to take their minds away from what has brought them in to the hospital. In addition, Adrian provides the family opportunity for relaxation while he’s interacting with a child.
Reed Wales, 18 months, was diagnosed with Leukaemia and is currently a patient at MCH. Adrian has had many visits with Reed, and the Wales family is overjoyed with the effect that the music has had thus far.
“He gets so engaged with the music,” says Reed’s father, Brett Wales. “Even earlier, Adrian was holding down the chords while Reed was strumming the guitar. He loves it!”
Reed’s favourite songs that Adrian plays are “The Wheels on the Bus” and “Jesus Loves Me”. His usual reaction is to giggle, smile, and sometimes even fall asleep on his dad’s shoulder.
“It gives us a break,” says Brett. “The music distracts us from why we’re here and allows us to relax as a family.”
Adrian attended Berklee College of Music where he obtained his Bachelors in Music with a major in Music Therapy. Once he was at Berklee, Adrian knew that he wanted to continue his work down a more meaningful path. Helping those who are ill and vulnerable is exactly what he was looking for.
“Being able to put a smile on [the kids’] faces, and engaging them in fun and improving their quality of life is invaluable.”