Pediatrician Creates Foundation, CD Series To Bring Healing Music to Pediatric Patients

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Newswise — A UCLA pediatrician believes that patient care takes more than just medicine — a dose of music helps too.

Dr. Raffi Tachdjian, a third-year pediatric fellow in the division of allergy and immunology at Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA, founded the nonprofit Children's Music Fund to help bring music to his patients.

"Most sick children spend their evenings in the hospital playing video games or watching TV and videos," said Tachdjian. "Instead, music can help with their sadness, pain and overall coping mechanism."

To help raise funds to provide new instruments and music therapy to chronically ill pediatric patients, Tachdjian has mastered a series of three CDs featuring his own tracks, as well as those of internationally renowned artists who graciously donated their music.

"The newest CD, 'Open Your Window,' is an uplifting album and incredible collaboration of some wonderful musical artists," Tachdjian said. "The generosity of these artists and consumer support will allow children in need find comfort through music."

According to Tachdjian, who is researching the effects of music in a study conducted through the Pediatric Pain Program at Mattel Children's Hospital, brain imaging studies have shown links between music and regions of the brain responsible for emotion, mathematics, memory and coordination.

By interacting in a musical environment, hospitalized children can develop their overall mental processes while simultaneously improving their emotional well-being.

Kids participating in the Children's Music Fund program can choose from guitars, keyboards and percussion instruments. If the patient does not know how to play, Tachdjian said that they will be linked with an organization that provides instruction.

To participate in and benefit from the program, patients are identified through a caregiver, medical staff or by themselves. Patients from any hospital are eligible. Tachdjian said the new instruments cost the foundation approximately $100 each.

In the future, the Children's Music Fund also plans to support a licensed music therapist at Mattel Children's Hospital.

The Children's Music Fund was founded in 2001, while Tachdjian was a pediatric resident in Boston.

"It started with one patient whose enthusiasm came through only when I held 'mini-concerts' for him in the playroom with other kids listening in, then playing on their respective shakers, bongos, etc.," Tachdjian said. "We were doing basic music therapy before I knew what that was."

For more information on nominating a pediatric patient for an instrument, ordering CDs or supporting the Children's Music Fund, email music@childrensmusicfund.org or visit http://www.childrensmusicfund.org.

Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA is the highest rated children's hospital in Southern California and is a vital component of UCLA Medical Center, consistently ranked "Best in the West" in U.S. News & World Report's annual survey. The hospital offers a full spectrum of primary and specialized medical care for infants, children and adolescents. The mission of Mattel Children's Hospital at UCLA is to provide state of-the-art treatment for children in a compassionate atmosphere, as well as to improve the understanding and treatment of pediatric diseases. For more information, please visit http://www.mattel.ucla.edu/.


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