Music therapy helps hospitalized kids hit high note | News
Tampa, Florida-- Among all the beeping noises made by machines, telephones, and intercom systems inside a hospital, Julie Tatro tries to bring a happier beep.
"The horn on the bus goes beep, beep, beep," she sings through a surgical mask.
Tatro is working with patients at St. Joseph's Children's Hospital to share healing through music.
"It's so rewarding to be able to see how something that is so normal and so relevant, such as music, can make a difference therapeutically," she says.
Julie is part of a nonprofit called Music Sweet Music. It provides music therapy to children free of charge.
Today, she's singing and playing a number of instruments with Tyler, a young boy who has been in the hospital for 10 months.
"I'm ready for some fun," he sings with Tatro before cracking a smile.
That smile is a long way from where he was at first. His mom and Tatro both say he was quiet, uncomfortable with his new environment, and reluctant to even peek out from under the covers.
"Miss Julie definitely brings out the best in him," his mom says. "It makes him very happy because otherwise he's very lost in his own world here."
Tatro and her electronic autoharp travel from room to room at the hospital. For older patients, she'll often let them compose their own music or play along to songs they like, such as Bruno Mars' "Just the Way You Are."
"You're amazing, just the way you are," Tatro sings as Edward, a 12-year-old who suffered serious injuries in a car accident, plays the autoharp.
Tatro just hopes to bring harmony to the beat of their daily lives.
For the month of April, Sweet by the Cake Factory in St. Petersburg is selling a specialty cupcake that will help raise money for Music Sweet Music.