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Hospice Music Therapy Services

Christian Playing Reverie Harp



Music Therapy Services at End of Life

 As a music therapist Christian has over 15 years of experience working with people at the end of their lives.






Music therapy offers many benefits to those in hospice.

Music therapy can:

  • Reduce feelings of pain or symptoms such as shortness of breath
  • Elevate the mood
  • Reduce feelings of anxiety, restlessness, isolation, and agitation
  • Reduce need for medications for pain, symptoms, anxiety, and depression
  • Offer spiritual, emotional, and grief support
  • Reduce need for other psychological interventions
  • Create a feeling of overall well being
  • Provide support to family and loved ones of the client
  • Create quality shared experiences with client and family of all ages
  • Offer aesthetic  experience
  • Assist in the final stages and transition to the next world
  • Increased sense of well-being
  • Research is beginning to show that with hospice clients who receive music therapy, overall medical expenses are reduced

* research references available on request


The Music Therapy Experience

Music Therapy makes a difference during all stages of the dying process. It can help when a person is more up and active, or in the final days or hours. It is often said that hearing is the “last thing to go”, and quite often this is true. The music therapy experience for those at end of life will vary and is individualized to meet the needs of the person on each visit. Sessions can work if a person feels active or has very low energy- the experience is customized with each visit. Music therapy services are client-centered, and meet a person where they are with each visit. A person need not be a musician or "musical person" in order to benefit from music therapy.


Sessions may include:

  • Music listening
  • Singing
  • Playing instruments
  • Guided imagery
  • Meditation
  • Music-assisted relaxation exercises
  • Spiritual support based on each client’s belief system
  • Grief support and counseling
  • Intergenerational family sessions, and other specialized music therapy interventions.


Many styles of music are used in music therapy. Christian and therapists he works with are proficient in many styles and instruments:

  • Folk & Old-time music
  •  Classic Country
  • Popular music from 1900’s-1980’s (some current music)
  • Spiritual Music and/or Hymns
  • Jazz & Big Band
  • Classical
  • Rock & Roll from Elvis, to the Beatles, to U2
  • Ethnic and cultural music
  • Special Healing, Meditation & Relaxation music
  • Many more and I'm always willing to learn new music- just ask!

Instruments Christian plays include: Guitars, Voice, Native American and other Ethnic Flutes, Reverie Harp, Ukulele, Percussion, Keyboard, and others.


Music Therapy can be very beneficial to people of all ages at the end of life. Music brings memories and allows for reminiscence and life review as a way to help find life meaning- even for those with advanced dementia. It is a vehicle for emotional expression. It can soothe pain, anxiety, agitation, and bring comfort to an otherwise uncomfortable time. It can provide emotional and spiritual support. It can also provide positive interaction for those with cognitive challenges and their loved ones. It can support the needs of the entire family, not just the client. As a holistic treatment, it focuses on the needs of the whole person, not just the disease or condition.


Music Therapists are trained extensively in music, psychology, physiology, education, and spirituality. A board certified music therapist has a minimum of a bachelor of science degree (one that usually takes more than 4 years) and over 1,100 hours of clinical training. Additionally music therapists must take a clinical certification examination, and receive 20 hours of continuing education annually. While musicians are ocassionally employed by other hospice programs, they do not have the same level of qualification or benefit as a board-certified music therapist (MT-BC).


Click here to read Hospice Music Therapy Stories


Click Here to Listen to More of Christian's Recorded Music


Please contact us with any questions you may have.


The music you should be hearing in the background is all performed by Christian Nielsen. To hear more of his music, or order recordings, feel free to browse the entire web-site.



Click Here to download Christian's Summary of Qualifications (.pdf file)

Enhancing Quality of Life through Music Since 1998

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