Music makes the hospital go round at Coffs Harbour Hospital: in person and online

A quartet raises spirits in Coffs Harbour Hospital.


THE Musicians in Hospitals program is evolving with the adaptability of a chameleon.

The program of live music performed in Coffs Harbour Hospital is sponsored by Coffs Harbour Council’s My Community project grant.

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While the program has returned to Coffs Hospital, staying live is wholly dependent on Covid-19 restrictions.

This has driven founder Bonnie Nilsson, a registered music therapist, to develop an online version called Musicians in Health, which encompasses live and Zoom sessions.

The offer is an interactive music session which may involve patients singing along with golden oldies and pop hits or listening to international concert classics, and can include movement and voice exercises.

Bonnie told News Of The Area, “Due to the redevelopment of Coffs Harbour Hospital and Covid considerations that are constantly changing, the atmosphere can be quite tense at times.

“Our musicians need to be flexible and able to cope with this constantly changing environment.

“That is one of the great benefits of live music, it is flexible, and our musicians can improvise their way around these often tricky situations.

“As a result, music in the wards has become a greater focus and the staff have been reporting the positive impacts it is having on their patients and themselves.”

The musicians who are working with Bonnie are Stephanie Sims, Michelle Booth, Giri Mazzella, Snez Dalceska, Hayley Egan and Salvatore Rossano.

“There are a multitude of reasons why a patient is in hospital in the first place and listening to music for a hospital patient can have varied impacts.

“The literature supports the notion that listening to music, and live music in particular, can make a difference in the patient, in terms of enhancing relaxation, providing distraction from painful procedures and in helping to ‘normalise’ the hospital experience in order to cope better with it.

“In other words, music, with its uplifting distracting and soothing qualities and with the familiarity of the repertoire, may function as a form of ‘social support’ and impact positively on the coping mechanism of the hospitalised patient.”




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