Elizabeth Lenz has been working at the pediatric ICU of Renown Regional Medical Center in Reno since she started working for Note-Able Music Therapy Services three years ago.
For two hours, three days a week, she brings her Radio Flyer wagon full of musical instruments into patients’ rooms and offers them a chance to bang a drum or sing a song together.
It might look trivial, but the practice of music therapy has documented clinical benefits. Lenz says doctors have come in the room while she is with a patient and told her they can come back because what she is doing is more important.
“It’s so lovely to be part of the team,” she says, “and have people actually use you for what you are there for.”
The idea that music has healing properties is far from new, but the modern practice of music therapy traces its origins to veterans hospitals after the first and second world wars. Doctors at these hospitals noticed that patients fared much better after being exposed to music. In response to rising demand for trained music therapists, Michigan State University created the first formal degree program in 1944.
During its 2011 session, the Legislature declared that the practice of music therapy is a “learned allied profession” affecting the safety, health and welfare of the public. However, no Nevada college offers a degree in music therapy.
Nevada has a well-documented history of failing to provide adequate mental health services to meet demand. A UNLV study published in February shows Nevada continues to rank last in the nation in overall mental health rankings, despite an increase in funding through federal coronavirus aid packages last year.
Read the entire article: For Nevada music therapist, rhythm and melody are tools of healing
The portion of the article is shared as part of our collaboration with The Nevada Independent. This story was originally published on March 13, 2022 and written by Tim Lenard.