Evolving and Thriving - Keeping Music Therapy Alive in a Pandemic World: The Royal Melbourne Hospital Music Therapy Response in 2020


The Australian Journal of Music Therapy




Music therapy was required to (a) evolve and expand its clinical service due to a significant rise in referrals across the hospital resulting in a dramatic increase in referrals outside clinically allocated streams, and (b) focus on supporting healthcare workers' wellbeing across the entire organisation with the formation of Scrub Choir. Introduction Established in 1998 at one of Victoria's major adult hospitals, our music therapy (MT) program centres on live music and guided songwriting at the bedside for rehabilitation, comfort, pain reduction, mood elevation, end of life care and increased quality of life (O'Brien 1999, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2012, 2014). In the following brief literature review, we have explored practice-based papers and surveys of MT COVID-19 services and technology, established literature on the impact of singing for wellbeing, and research into health care workers' (HCW) mental health. There were some insightful limitations to the study in a cultural and gender context specific to the participants group, which included preconceptions of gender roles, which the authors believed influenced participation (the researchers found male participants were less reluctant to access music and dance than female participants), and the access by female participants appeared to be influenced by their hometown origins (with a greater uptake by females in Northern areas of India).

Music and Health Institute Terms

Composition; Burnout; Mental Health; Mood; Music Therapy; Pain; Professional Burnout; Receptive Music Methods; Singing a Song; Songwriting; Wellness and Well-Being

Indexed Terms

Quality of life; Dance; Telemedicine; Pandemics; Medical personnel; Social networks; Quarantine; Burnout; Palliative care; Literature reviews; Females; Mental health; Non-binary gender; Singing; Coronaviruses; Systematic review; Post traumatic stress disorder; COVID-19; Hospitals; Anxiety; India

Study Type

Editorial, Opinions, Position Papers

PubMed ID


Document Type


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