Sign In

St. Jude Music Therapists Organize Backyard Jams For Kids

May 4, 2020

 

Amy Love had to leave the Memphis hospital where she brings music to severely ill children — she and other support staff couldn’t take the risk of spreading COVID-19 to these frail patients.

But she was determined: The music must not stop.

So her house became a recording studio, and Love, fellow music therapist Celeste Douglas and intern Abigail Parrish became video stars for kids at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital who feed on their energy, their melodies, their love.

They play guitars and little drums, shakers and tambourines, and Love’s dog joins in on the fun — even as a lawn-mowing neighbor seems a bit puzzled.

“We’re really excited to be with you today, even if we can’t be there in person,” Douglas tells their early childhood group from afar.

No instruments? No problem. Love urges their viewers: “Just move around with us!”

The familiar tunes they choose to help the kids with fine and gross motor skills, body awareness and other trouble areas they’d usually take on in the hospital include “If You’re Happy and You Know It” and “Old MacDonald Had a Farm.”

For older patients, Love left behind some ukuleles with easy instructions and song selections from Twenty One Pilots and Selena Gomez.

Entertainer Danny Thomas opened the pediatric treatment and research hospital for children with catastrophic diseases in 1962. Care is free for all. Since many of the patients are immune deficient, Love and other support staff are working remotely.

The hospital’s two resident therapy dogs are on hiatus off campus, as well.

“What we’re doing is finding new ways to support our kiddos and keep them safe at the same time,” Love said.

In the hospital, the team holds the early childhood music group once a week for kids up to 3 years old.

“That’s one thing I’ve really missed,” Love said. “We’d all get together and play tons of music and were super loud.”

Switching gears was a bit of a learning curve, she said. Like the ukuleles. Asking kids to teach themselves the instrument could have gone either way, but Love was optimistic.

“It’s a really easy instrument to feel really successful with,” she said. “You can mark up different parts of the ukulele and play it pretty easy. Even with one finger you can be successful and play a chord.”

Love can’t wait for the day she can return to the hospital. In the meantime, she has a mission.

 

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Oscar The Blind Dog

    In the weeks leading up to a heated presidential election, another close race played out that had dog lovers across the country faithfully voting online every 24 hours for their favorite furry friends. For four weeks, from Sept. 10 to Oct. 9, nearly 1 million votes were cast in Garden & Gun magazine’s Good Dog […]

    Read more

    Genius Dog Challenge

    Six dogs are competing to become the world’s smartest dog – a title reserved for the pooch that learns words the fastest. Shany Dror is a driving force behind the Genius Dog Challenge, which is live streamed on Facebook and YouTube every week until December 16, when the winner will be announced. The canine challenge […]

    Read more

    Finding Homes For Dogs

    Adoptable Animal Rescue Force gives back to the community by finding the right homes for dogs. We’ve been a Teller County nonprofit, no-kill rescue since 1999. Social networking has allowed us to expand our services in recent years to include dogs coming in from high kill shelters in New Mexico and Texas. There are times […]

    Read more

    Service Dog Retiring

    Talking to police or giving testimony at a courthouse, can be a scary experience for many. Since 2014, service dogs have been allowed in the courtroom to provide emotional support for those in need. For Emery Baert, having Madison with her made a huge difference. “If she wasn’t there, to this day, I wouldn’t know […]

    Read more

    A Shelter Dog's Life

    The sound of paws and claws precedes Isabella’s entrance. She bursts out of the Worcester Animal Rescue League’s front door, dragging Sara McClure, WARL’s dog program coordinator, behind her. McClure has two hands on Izzy’s bright red leash as the pit bull mix comes barreling into the parking lot. McClure motions for me to take […]

    Read more

    Veterans Court Therapy Dog

    Howard County Superior Court II Judge Brant Parry stood in his courtroom last week and looked around like he had lost something. “You want to see her?” he asked, still looking around the mostly empty room. A few moments later, a brown fluff of fur came bounding through an open back door, prompting instant smiles […]

    Read more