Music can be a powerful tool, unleashing emotions and even easing pain.

Room 217 harnesses that power, helping caregivers integrate music into their practice.

“The Room 217 Foundation is an arts health organization,” explains music care instructor Catherine St. Pierre, “and they create programming and they provide training for carers, providers of care.”

These care providers gather for music care training.

The program helps health care personnel, volunteers, teachers and family caregivers integrate music into their practice.

“They don’t have to be musicians,” says St. Pierre. “This is for the non-musicians.”

Catherine St. Pierre says the goal of level one training is to teach participants how to use music with intention, and be comfortable and confident with their new skills.

“In using things,” she says, “such as rhythm and melody and lyrics to engage their resident or their loved one.”

Music care isn’t music therapy, it’s simply meant as a tool to enhance the care participants already provide.

Karla Delaney will be using her newfound skillset in her work as a recreation programmer at a long term care facility.

“Trying to evoke positive emotions and being more aware of aversions and things like that that can spark negative emotions in our residents, “explains Delaney, “and being more careful and aware of how music affects everybody.”

St. Pierre says they have seen great benefits from music care in hospitals or long-term care settings, increasing patient satisfaction, elevating mood, and decreasing social isolation.

“People find a music setting inviting,” says St. Pierre, “and fun and experiential. It validates and empowers the people that we work to serve.”