Organization Spotlight: Music Heals

music-healsDP World Vancouver is strongly focused on social responsibility and improving lives within our community. As part of this initiative, we strive to promote organizations that contribute to the greater good and help inform businesses that would like to support them on ways to do so. We believe that when more businesses do their part, the entire community benefits. 

One Vancouver-based charity, Music Heals, is actively working to extend the healing power of music to those who need it throughout British Columbia. Music is not only a means of communication shared worldwide—it can also serve as a proven therapy for a wide range of physical and psychological afflictions. Through volunteer efforts as well as fund-raising events and programmes, Music Heals is orchestrating the spread of music therapy, and making it possible for area businesses to actively support the clinical work of licensed music therapists.

The Organization

Driven by music enthusiasts and industry professionals, the Music Heals Charitable Foundation supports a wide range of music therapy services through awareness and fund raising. The charity provides ongoing funding for agencies that bring music therapists to hospitals, hospices and private homes in Vancouver and across the country. One hundred percent of all donations to Music Heals goes directly to music therapy programs.

Progammes funded by Music Heals are currently supporting children, seniors, palliative care, burn units, the autism spectrum, AIDS & HIV care, bereavement support, dementia, rehabilitation, and more. The list of ailments and challenges music therapy can help people overcome is truly astounding.

What Music Therapy Is … And Isn’t.

A huge part of the Music Heals mandate is to raise awareness for and educate about music therapy. The common misconception is that music therapy can be implemented by anyone. Simply having a patient listen to or play music does not qualify as music therapy.

While nearly everyone recognizes the benefits of music to personal vitality and well-being, music therapy is so much more: It is a healing discipline when implemented by a licensed music therapist. This is an individual who has completed extensive training through an accredited music therapy program. The music therapist uses music experiences such as free improvisation, singing, songwriting, and listening to, discussing, and moving to music to achieve specific treatment objectives. The blending of art and science helps clients improve or maintain their health and quality of life. Music therapy addresses areas of health as broad as cognitive functioning, motor skills, emotional and affective development, and even improving behaviour and social skills.

The Need

Music therapy programmes receive almost no government funding in Canada. And frankly, available healthcare operating funds are insufficient to take full advantage of the diverse community of practicing certified music therapists.

In British Columbia, it takes $15,000 to support one day of music therapy a week for a year. In its four years of existence, Music Heals has donated nearly $800,000 dollars to more than a dozen hospitals and rehabilitative facilities. One additional day of music therapy in a facility increases access to music intervention by an average of 400 additional patient visits.

The Programmes

Here is just a sample of the fund-raising programmes and events currently managed by Music Heals:

  • Strike A Chord has quickly become the premiere annual musical event in Vancouver. It has featured Grammy and Juno winners, and has raised over $150,000 in its first two years.
  • iPod Pharmacy enlists volunteers to collect good-as-new iPods for music therapists to use with their clients.
  • A Night Out for Music Heals enlists the bar industry nationwide to donate $1.00 per cover charge to Music Heals. In 2016, over 70 bars in 21 cities participated on the first Saturday in March (Music Therapy Awareness Month).
  • Power of Music Interview is a film series featuring former MTV Canada VJ Brian Adler conversing with musicians about the power of music and how it has impacted their lives.
  • Children’s Recording Studio Project gives BC music therapists the opportunity to bring children with various challenges into a studio to record their music therapy sessions. 

How Your Organization Can Help

In addition to corporate donations, there are many sponsorship opportunities available to local businesses. The demographics served by music therapy are so diverse that a business can easily choose to sponsor a group that is closely aligned with the community it serves. As awareness and media support for Music Heals continue to grow, promotional partners are encouraged to add Music Heals to their social responsibility agendas.

Get in Touch

Whether to make a major donation or to explore potential sponsorship opportunities, the place to start is the Music Heals website:

You are also invited to follow their Instagram and Twitter accounts, which provide success stories and event information, as well as updates on sponsors and beneficiaries.