Music Therapy

Music Therapy Program at Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center uses music and music activities to promote healing and help our patients adjust to being in the hospital.

The Music Therapy Program uses music and music activities to promote healing and help our patients adjust to being in the hospital.

What is music therapy?

Music therapy addresses physical and emotional needs of patients and their families. During music therapy sessions, patients can participate in music-based activities that have been carefully selected and presented by a board-certified music therapist. Sessions may be provided in a group or individual setting. Patients may sing, play, move, listen, or create. The goal is to help make them feel normal during their hospital experience, minimize any pain, and provide an outlet for self-expression.
Patients can choose from a variety of instruments to play (and in a variety of shapes, sizes, and colors), including:
  • Maracas
  • Rhythm sticks
  • Castanets
  • Tambourines
  • Drums

Music therapists are part of the medical team and work collaboratively with doctors and nurses to complement the care they provide. We assess patients each time we work with them so that we can tailor sessions to their needs. We address the following areas:

  • Pain, anxiety, nausea, sleepless 
  • Emotional coping and adjustment
  • Functional rehabilitation and developmental activities
  • Limited meaningful leisure
  • Family coping during end-of-life care

Our music therapists work with a variety of cultural and faith backgrounds, using music to help families stay connected to their heritage and traditions. We also have experience with non-English-speaking and non-verbal patients who enjoy using music as a common language of communication. If you’d like to participate in music therapy, please speak with your doctor or nurse.

AUAA...Music in Medicine

Jan Stouffer, a music therapist, and Claire de Boer, director of the Medical Center’s Center Stage Arts in Health, provide information on the many ways in which music helps make people healthier.

Contact us

If you have questions about the Music Therapy Program, please call 717-531-3505.

Become an intern

If you’re enrolled in a music therapy program and are looking for an internship opportunity, please call 717-531-3505 for an application.

Become a volunteer

To get started, call Volunteer Services at 717-531-8278 and specify that you’d like to work with the Music Therapy Program. Learn more about volunteering.

Make a donation

To make a donation to the Music Therapy Fund, contact University Development at 717-531-6118 or donate online. Have an instrument you’d like to donate? Call 717-531-3505 and we’ll determine if we can put it to good use.


The Medical Minute: Music can be good medicine