Rhythm, breath and a lullaby
Workshop to show how right sounds can help premature babies
Never underrate a baby.
They might be very young, but they are smarter and more sensitive than most people think. They also hear a lot more than you think.
That is why the music therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) workshop First Sounds: Rhythm, Breath and Lullaby at Marylhurst University on Jan. 23 will be so significant for therapists, professionals and parents; anyone involved in the development of premature babies.
Giving the workshop will be Dr. Joanne Loewy and Andrew Rossetti, colleagues at the Louis Armstrong Department of Music Therapy at Mount Sinai Beth Israel in New York City. Their trip to Lake Oswego is part of their non-stop world tour on which they train hospital staff neonatologists, nurses and music therapists.
In the form of lullabies, music therapy between parents and children has unofficially been going on since the beginning of time.
The lullaby is like the secret ingredient, said Loewy, an internationally known authority on music therapy. Its like a recipe passed from one generation to the next.
However, the value of lullabies and many other sounds toward a babys development especially babies born prematurely was officially confirmed six years ago after a major study at 11 hospitals.
The informed, intentional therapeutic use of live sound and parent-preferred lullabies applied by a certified music therapist can influence cardiac and respiration, Loewy said. Entrained with a premature infants observed vital signs, sound and lullaby may improve feeding behaviors and sucking patterns and may increase prolonged periods of quiet-alert states.
Parent-preferred lullabies, sung live, can enhance bonding, thus decreasing the stress parents associate with premature infant care.
Loewys explanation would be even better if it could be accompanied by a live demonstration of how her method helps a newborn premature baby. Like the one in the article about Loewy that recently appeared in The New York Times. It described a mother clasping her tiny, fragile baby closely to her breast and singing a lullaby version of the Beatles song Eight Days a Week. While momma sang, the heart monitor showed the babys heartbeat decreasing and its oxygen intake increasing.
Dr. Laura Beer, director of the music therapy program at Marylhurst University, is the reason that Loewy is coming to Lake Oswego. Their friendship goes back many years, and Beer is a total believer in what Loewy offers in First Sounds. It was Loewy who inspired Beer to begin a pilot music therapy program at Doernbechers Neonatal Care Center.
When babies are born prematurely they are placed in NICU units and subject to environments not nearly as stable or soothing as the womb, Beer said. The right use of music, however, can reorient these infants, provide comfort, and help regulate their breathing and heart rate patterns.
Beer added, I have already used her methods in the classroom, and students are eager to know more.
Marylhurst is lucky to get Loewy and Rossetti, because their workshop is in demand all over the world.
Ill be in a country every month this year, Loewy said. Like Norway and London. Ive got 13 countries on my schedule.
The First Sounds workshop will be held in the BP John Administration Building on the Marylhurst campus, located at 17600 Pacific Highway, Marylhurst.
Cost for the workshop is $250 for professionals and $125 for students.