Healing Music

Qualities of Music at the Bedside

  • Relaxing
  • Pleasant
  • Unobtrusive

Patient Music Categories:


No specific music style. Familiar songs with strong connection to past. Ask patient what the might like to hear. As we age, long term memories are acute but short term memories fade. Ideas: Hymns, Swing, Sinatra, Gerswin, Sappy love songs.


Arrhythmic Unfamiliar Music. Want to avoid entrainment. Want to help them drift off. Don’t want to bring up memories. Patients may be unable to respond. Our ear is like a microphone except there is no off switch.

Chronically Ill:

Needs Of This Group Are Less Predicable. Ask the patient. These patients don’t have critical needs.

Temporarily Ill:

Same as chronically ill.

Critically Ill:

Soothing Heartbeat Rhythm. 60-80 Beat Per Minute. Heartbeat music can be lifesaving. Use dynamics for expression rather than tempo.

This page was created on February 16, 1997. This page was last updated on February 16, 2001.