American physician, philosopher, and author, Debasish Mridha, once said, “Music can heal the wounds which medicine cannot touch.”
The healing power of music is something patients at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital, experience every day, as they recover from a traumatic injury or illness.
“Music offers an opportunity for self-expression. It also provides patients with creative ways to address functional and psychosocial goals, such as singing for speech and respiratory goals, instrument playing for fine motor goals, guided meditation for anxiety, and soon,” explained John Glaubitz, Magee’s full-time music therapist.
Magee launched the music therapy program in 2017. It’s offered to patients through other therapists, nurses or counselors and sometimes individuals themselves will express interest. Music therapy sessions include one-to-one sessions, co-treatment with other therapy disciplines and group sessions when possible. The results can be remarkable.
Dell, who came to Magee in July 2020 to recover from a spinal cord injury, collaborated with Glaubitz and Alison McCrea, music therapy intern, on a body of music that reflects his experience at Magee. The music allowed him “to actually define my grief and what I was going through and redefine myself,” said Dell, who began writing poetry at age 12.
“If you’ve been walking for 41 years until something tragic happens, and now you’re paralyzed from the waist down, you have to readjust to a whole new way of living. Music —or poetry, because I’m a lyricist—is how I am able to deal with the things in my life.”
What You’re Going Through
Looking to the sky
Searching through the stars
To find out who you are
Whatever lies in store
Whatever you’re looking for
Remember you are more
Than what you’re going through
Glaubitz uploaded the first track, “What You’re Going Through,” to SoundCloud in the fall, with more to come. The lyrics speak with frank honesty about pain, hardship, courage and strength.
“The music I do here is to inspire other guests at Magee,” Dell said, as he worked on a song about spiritual love in the fall of 2020.
Hearing is Believing
When he is discharged home, Dell hopes to set up his own record label and bring his sounds to the general public. In the meantime, to listen to his songs written in the music therapy program, visit SoundCloud and search for “Magee Rehabilitation.”
Take a look at the making of “What You’re Going Through,” which includes an excerpt from the song.