Music Therapy at Emily’s House / Philip Aziz Centre supports children, adults, and their families from the time of a palliative diagnosis or hospice referral, through to bereavement. It serves many purposes: supporting people to express emotions, meaningfully connection with others, communicate non-verbally, manage distressing symptoms, and create memories together. Our music therapist meets each individual and family exactly where they are, providing comfort and song to accompany them on their journey. Last year, the program continued to evolve and thrive to meet client needs with music.
- With thanks to a Kiwanis Club of Toronto Foundation Arts and Culture Grant, the new Emily’s House Music Therapy/Music Instrument Loaning Library increased children and families’ access to musical instruments at home, allowing the music to keep going between music therapy visits.
- Emily’s House music therapy (for respite, end-of-life, transitional and symptom management support) included heartbeat recordings, legacy work, and supporting families and children to express emotions, make memories and manage symptoms.
- Emily’s House at Home (in-community sessions with children and families) included supporting families and children to express emotions, have meaningful moments of engagement in music, make memories, and manage symptoms. With the high demand for in-home support, a waitlist started.
- Community sessions with adults and their families supported people to express emotions, meaningfully connect with each other, communicate non-verbally, manage distressing symptoms, and create memories together. Occasionally sessions included adult children and grandkids!
- Large group events included March Break Camp, Fall Fair, and Winter Party; the Emily’s House Garden Memorial; the Philip Aziz Centre Annual Candlelight Memorial Service; funerals and celebrations of life of music therapy clients.
- Special thanks to the lead program funder The Lillian Meighen and Don Wright Foundation.
Client Impact – Child: Curled up in a beanbag, as the child’s eyes followed colourful bubbles swirling rhythmically in the bubble tank tower, child and Music Therapist created a spontaneous, synchronized response with humming, words, music and a rhythmic response of their own: like a musical call-and-response. In another activity, the therapist introduced a chime-like instrument and helped the child access a tactile experience of “twinkle fingers” on a bundle of glittering strings, as they choreographed movement to their created “musical concert.” With therapeutic support, a child with complex disability can access moments of “dialogue” and creation, travel imaginatively beyond himself, and engage with the world around him through senses and sounds.
Client Impact – Adult: “We would not have believed in the power of music and voice until we witnessed our mom singing even when she was lightly sedated. We are forever grateful for Music Therapy, for wonderful memories, and bringing solace to our mom and the rest of the family.”