Creating musical memories from a child’s heartbeat

Categories: Care.

Musical therapist Brian Schreck records the heartbeats of dying children to lay under an instrumental version of their favourite song as a means of preserving their memories for their families.

A report in Mail Online by Alex Grieg looks at the work of a musical therapist who worlks with terminally ill children and their families at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital to create musical memories using the heartbeats of dying children.

Schreck sees the result of this process as a preservation of the patient’s humanity. The idea began when he worked in the intensive care units with dying patients at it became more of a challenge to record the normal therapy sessions due to their age or the stage of their illness. Inspired by a story of a woman’s response to hearing the heartbeat of her deceased daughter in the chest of a donor recipient, Schreck set out to capture what he calls the ‘rhythmic essence’ of the child in order to create music that is meaningful both to the patient and their family.

Schreck sees the heartbeat as a powerful and audible representation of life and the human experience and the article tells the story of 14 year old Dylan who whose favourite song, Lego House, was underlaid with his heart beat before he died. This recording has provided great comfort to his grieving parents.

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