“Live music is good for you.” This is the mantra that staff from the RMH’s Music Therapy department live by, and for Benjamin who is undertaking The University of Melbourne’s Doctor of Medicine (MD) course, he believes that Music Therapy has changed his life, and the lives of many in this community.
Ben is part of the Run MD for MT team, formerly known as the Rock n’ Runners. Their name references the fact that many members of the team are enrolled in the MD program, while the MT stands for Music Therapy; the department they are raising money for in the 2016 Royal Walk and Fun Run.
“We all share a common trait; we all believe in the wonderful work that the Music Therapy department does with the patients of the RMH,” said Ben.
“The Music Therapy service relies heavily on philanthropy and we have seen first-hand the amazing benefits of music for the betterment of a patient's experience in hospital, and by extension, their loved ones. So this is our way of supporting the initiative.”
The Music Therapy team, led by Dr Emma O’Brien, works with patients from diverse areas across the hospital including neurology, palliative care, oncology and bone marrow transplant.
Part of their clinical work involves helping patients write, create and record original songs.
“Mostly, these are wonderful songs that are a true celebration of life. Even though strenuous treatments may happen, the music helps remind us that we should still appreciate the joys in life,” reflects Ben.
In addition, medical students and musicians volunteer their time to share their music in the hallways and foyers of the RMH City Campus, often capturing the attention of passers-by.
“This helps us change the atmosphere of the hospital by promoting the idea that the hospital is a place to achieve wellbeing, rather than a place of anxiety and stress,” says Ben.
“I’m really proud to be a volunteer for Music Therapy. It brings me particular joy to share music. It is bolstering and enriching not only for me, but for those around me - and that makes me happy.”
And despite unpleasant memories of his high school physical education days, Ben believes The Royal Walk and Fun Run is so much more than just about walking or running.
“This is a celebration of life and being alive, and this is our way to give back to a hospital that gives quality healthcare to so many members of our community!”
The Royal Walk and Fun Run is on Sunday 6 March 2016 at Princess Park, Parkville. All funds raised go towards your chosen area within the hospital. Find out more about Music Therapy at The RMH.