MOC: Delivering a Dose of Music

With its headquarters in New York and branches in Nashville, Miami, Los Angeles and Washington DC, Musicians On Call is a nonprofit organization dedicated to delivering the healing power of music to patients who are confined to their beds or undergoing treatments in healthcare facilities. With the aid of a network of volunteers Musicians On Call (MOC) has been operating since 1999, during which time volunteer musicians have performed for more than 400,000 patients and their families, with encouraging results.

In the MOC Bedside Performance Program musicians call on patients in healthcare facilities and perform for them and their families. The one-on-one nature of a bedside performance is especially therapeutic as the patient interacts with the musician, perhaps singing along and being distracted for a time from the reason for being there. Performances are prearranged with the healthcare facility and all the musicians are screened and trained by MOC. An MOC guide accompanies the musician and acts as the liaison between the organization, the patient and the musician. The MOC website notes than in New York City hospitals, more than 20,000 patients per day, on average, enjoy the one-on-one experience of the Bedside Performance Program.

In addition to live performances, MOC has set up Music Pharmacies at healthcare facilities in all 50 states of the USA, as well as Washington DC, Puerto Rico and Ireland. These ‘pharmacies’ consist of CD libraries and disc players, allowing patients to listen to music as and when they want to.

It has long been known that music has the power to stir up powerful emotions, as well as to soothe and to rejuvenate. This was brought to the attention of organizers of a charity concert held at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in 1999. Patients who were able to leave their beds were wheeled into the recreation area of the hospital and thoroughly enjoyed the performance by musicians, including Kenli Mattus. One of the nurses mentioned that it was a shame that patients who were too sick to attend would miss out on the joy of the concert. So, together with Michael Solomon and Vivek Tiwary, Kenli Mattus went from room to room to play at the bedsides of the patients – and the rest, as they say, is history.

Visit the Musicians On Call website for more information and to find out how you can support this fantastic initiative.