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    SPECIAL SONG: Therapeutic musician Rachel Gellert plays the harp at Wimmera Cancer Centre on Tuesday and Wednesday each week. She is funded by donations to the centre. Picture: PAUL CARRACHER

Music for health from the heart

By Lotte Reiter

Rachel Gellert is strongly aware of the special role that music can play for a patient in medical treatment, therapy or aged care.

The Horsham woman has been playing the harp at Wimmera Cancer Centre each week for the past three months, funded by donations to the centre.

Only recently, it was an experience she was on the other side of, after becoming a patient at a Geelong hospital and receiving therapeutic music alongside her treatment and medication.

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Mrs Gellert said it was the sole reason she started learning the harp and taking a harp therapy course.

“Therapeutic musicians are quite often used in Melbourne and Geelong hospitals,” she said.

“For me, it really made a difference during my hospital stay when I was having lots of treatment and medication; the music was the only thing that cut through that.

“And I wanted to bring that back to Horsham, because I know what it’s like to be on the other side and how beneficial it can be.”

Mrs Gellert has lived in Horsham for 12 years and was previously a kindergarten teacher before taking up the harp.

She said a therapeutic musician’s role was to play music for health-care or aged-care patients that aligned with their therapy, treatment and personal needs.

“When we go into a room, we’ll assess what a patient’s needs might be and choose music to suit that need,” she said.

“For instance, music for pain relief is very different from someone who needs a lift in spirits and is in a depressed state.”

Mrs Gellert said heartbeat music, where music is played to the speed of a person’s heartbeat, was also regularly used and a ‘special’ thing to see. 

“It’s particularly helpful for newborn babies in intensive care, where the babies are played music to the rhythm of their mother’s heartbeat,” she said.

“I’ve actually had the opportunity to do this before and it’s pretty special to see the heart-rate monitor change because of the music.”


Wimmera Cancer Centre donation in tune with patient needs


The entire December 4, 2019 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!