Welcome to the inaugural newsletter of the Sound Health Network!

If you missed it, we recently launched with our first public event!

Our mission is to promote research and public awareness about the impact of music on health and wellness. Visit our website here.

The Sound Health Network (SHN) is a partnership of the National Endowment for the Arts with the University of California, San Francisco in collaboration with the National Institutes of Health, the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, and Renée Fleming.
This Month's Topic:
Music Therapy in the Setting of Cancer
In Conversation
The Power of Music Therapy
Picture of Isa standing at the keyboard and ready for music therapy.
Twenty-one years ago, Jefri Franks and her husband were spending another long day in the hospital with their daughter Heather. The 11-year-old had cancer. Music therapist and researcher Dr. Sheri Robb approached the family and told them about an intervention they were evaluating, that used songwriting and video production to help kids just like Heather. They offered her a place in their study and the family, intrigued by the idea, accepted. Our February webinar will continue the story of Jefri’s family’s journey through cancer supported by music therapy, which we introduced during our launch. But there are, of course, many more stories of families who turned to music for help when dealing with childhood cancers.

Regina Ellis also witnessed firsthand the toll that cancer can take on a child. She founded Children's Cancer Association in 1995, after her five year old daughter, Alexandra, died of cancer. “Alex only lived five short years, but she really left an indelible legacy, something that we call ‘Alex's joy effect.’ We brought friends and family around our kitchen table, and we began to think about the power of joy and how we saw it transform moments in the hospital for Alexandra and other kids… We set out to change the conversation and fill the gap for kids facing cancer in the United States.”

Evolving over many years, CCA eventually developed its flagship program, JoyRx® Music (formerly MyMusicRx), which draws on the universal appeal of music to buoy spirits and energize both patients and their caregivers. The program enables young patients to feel a bit of joy during the stressful and painful experiences related to extended hospitalizations and treatments for life-threatening illnesses. It's not easy to quantify how, exactly, the program might benefit patients, as a recently published research article suggests.

Isa, pictured above, was a JoyRx® Music participant. Her parents, Tim and Ashley sat down to talk about their experience with SHN Communications Core Lead, Dr. Indre Viskontas, on the Cadence Podcast in 2018. When JoyRx® Music first came knocking on Isa’s hospital room door, she wasn’t too keen on having strangers in her room; "I remember I didn’t really want to have MyMusicRx people in my room,” she said, “but over time I, was able to start playing the instruments that they brought in, and I wanted to have more.”

Like Jefri, Tim and Ashley noticed that music allowed their daughter to communicate with them in new ways. After Isa underwent intubation and surgery, she used music to reassure her parents that she was still with them. “I have a video of her from a keyboard that MusicRx left with us one day. She started playing on the keyboard and was able to remember 'Twinkle, Twinkle' and 'Ode to Joy,'” says Ashley. “And for us that was not only special because she was able to create again and to interact with us in a different way, but also just a promise that her memory was intact and that her mind, with all that her body had gone through, that her mind was still the same Isa."

To learn more about the power of music therapy in clinical settings, and the challenges in evaluating musical interventions, join us for the inaugural Sound Health Network webinar on February 24, 2021. Our conversation will feature Jefri Franks, Dr.Sheri Robb, and Dr. Steven Holochwost, a developmental psychologist and musician who will speak to the biological markers used to track the effectiveness of music therapy. This event is free, but registration is required. Click here for more information.
Research Spotlight: Music Therapy, Cancer, and Symptom Management

A randomized control trial found that music therapy reduced fatigue and depression for women undergoing radiology treatments for breast and gynecological cancer.

A planned future experiment aims to help people with cancer and their families by proposing a music intervention program to be used at home compared to a usual treatment.

A systematic review of literature on the application of music therapy with children and adolescent with cancer, with the aim of evaluating its feasibility and its benefits, in terms of physical and mental health.

Scientists compared active music making with a music therapist vs. listening to pre-recorded music in adults with cancer.

This randomized control trial compares two different types of music treatments: supportive music and imagery vs. preferred music listening.
Job Opportunities

Redmond, WA: Senior Research Scientist, Hearing Sciences

Redmond, WA: Research Scientist, Hearing Sciences

Redmond, WA: Research Scientist, Real-Time DSP for Hearing Correction
Funding Opportunities

NEA Research Labs funds transdisciplinary research teams grounded in the social and behavioral sciences, yielding empirical insights about the arts for the benefit of arts and non-arts sectors alike.

Over the next five years, Creative Forces®: National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) Military Healing Arts Network intends to provide $2.5 million in new research funding. Virtual discussion meetings will be held on Thursday, March 4th, 12:00-1:00 pm (Eastern) and Thursday, March 11th, 12:00-1:00 pm (Eastern)

NEA Research Grants in the Arts funds research studies that investigate the value and/or impact of the arts, either as individual components of the U.S. arts ecology or as they interact with each other and/or with other domains of American life.

This funding opportunity is intended to: (1) increase our understanding of how music affects the brain when it is used therapeutically and/or (2) use that knowledge to better develop evidence-based music interventions to enhance health or treat specific diseases and disorders.

This funding opportunity is intended to: (1) increase our understanding of how music affects the brain when it is used therapeutically and/or (2) use that knowledge to better develop evidence-based music interventions to enhance health or treat specific diseases and disorders.

The purpose of this FOA is to promote innovative research on music and health with an emphasis on developing music interventions aimed at understanding their mechanisms of action and clinical applications for the treatment of many diseases, disorders, and conditions.