Broadening our patients’ musical horizons

Broadening our patients’ musical horizons

It is widely known that music benefits childhood development and can support intellectual, emotional, social, motor and literacy skills. Therefore, it’s no surprise to hear that McMaster Children’s Hospital’s Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre (RJCHC) has partnered with Culture for Kids in the Arts to develop the Resonance Choir.

The choir provides a supportive environment for patients to broaden their musical horizons while making new friends and sharing stories with those who are also facing health challenges. The hope is that the experience will have a positive impact for each child whether it directly or indirectly benefits their health care.

The first performances will be scheduled just in time for the holidays.

“We work with children with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities which in some cases can limit their ability to participate in sports and activities,” says Denise McArthur, a therapeutic recreationist at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre. “These activities are just as important in developing their social skills as with any other child. So, it’s great to be able to provide an opportunity for these kids to work together.”

The idea originally stemmed from patient and family interest in music classes. This led RJCHC to Culture for Kids in the Arts. This organization is dedicated to providing arts programming to children and youth in Hamilton who face barriers to participation in arts practices.

“We’re thrilled to be able to bring this unique music program to the kids at Ron Joyce Children’s Heath Centre,” says Vitek Wincza, founder and artistic director at Culture for Kids in the Arts. “We believe that providing artistic and creative opportunities to kids, regardless of talent, abilities, or limitations, contributes to their sense of wellbeing, belonging, and self-confidence.”

“The performances not only give the kids something to work towards, but instill a sense of pride in their hard work and accomplishments.”

The children in the Resonance Choir meet once a week to practice with a choir master, and will have opportunities to perform in celebratory events throughout the year. The first performances will be scheduled just in time for the holidays.

“The performances not only give the kids something to work towards, but instill a sense of pride in their hard work and accomplishments,” says Denise. “Everyone at Ron Joyce Children’s Health Centre is looking forward to their first performance!”

As the choir progresses, Hamilton Health Sciences researchers will be studying how the program benefits the health and social skills of participants. Culture for Kids in the Arts anticipates positive study results in the hopes to expand their program offerings, and more broadly, inspire children to further pursue arts opportunities.