Feasibility of Patient-created Orff Chant as a Music-based Intervention in Supportive Cancer Care

Cynthia M. Colwell
Jennifer Fiore


A cancer diagnosis and subsequent treatment can produce distress symptoms, including pain, anxiety, fatigue, and altered mood. These symptoms can have a negative psychological and physiological impact on patients. Patients may need to engage in supportive care with opportunities for emotional responses associated with the disease and chemotherapy treatment to ameliorate distress symptoms. The purpose of the current study was to assess the feasibility of 2 music-based interventions, 1 traditional and 1 novel, and explore the preliminary efficacy of these interventions as supportive care of cancer patients in outpatient treatment rooms. Supportive care options were: standard care (control), patient-selected singing with accompaniment (traditional), and patient-created chant using the Orff process (novel). Distress outcomes measured were: pain and fatigue using a 0–10 numerical rating scale, the State-Trait Anxiety Inventory (state form), and the Profile of Mood States 2 Short Form (for mood and fatigue). After obtaining consent, participants engaged in a single-session of 1 of 3 conditions lasting approximately 30 min. Feasibility measures indicated that the traditional and novel interventions were appropriate for the setting. Results indicated that although not always statistically significant, there were positive changes in pain, fatigue, anxiety, and mood for the 2 music-based conditions over standard care. Conclusions indicate the patient-selected condition was more impactful for pain, anxiety, and mood, while the patient-created chant using the Orff process was more impactful for fatigue. These conclusions might be clinically relevant for therapists pending cancer-related symptoms present during the assessment.