Environment & Hospitality | Global Perspective

“We were learning together and it felt good that way.” A case study of a participatory group music program for cancer patients

Though there are similarities to music therapy, the field of community music in healthcare, while in its infancy, is steadily growing. This case study explored how semi-formal, active music-making can play a role in illness and recovery and provide patients with a sense of voice, connection, and community, and the efficacy of community music programming in a hospital. Six participants began and three participants completed a 6-week music class learning the ukulele. Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was used as a method for data analysis from semi-structured pre-questionnaires, transcribed classes, transcribed post-interviews, and weekly questionnaires from both the participants and the facilitator. Emergent and recurrent themes central to the participants’ experiences were discovered: (1) Music as a connector, (2) Music within us external to cancer, (3) Musical experiences interrupted by cancer, (4) Music creates empowerment. Subthemes and individual experiences are also explored. Implications for future research and music’s role in improving the Patient Experience in hospital settings are discussed.

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