A room full of music helps the medicine go down!

Music will continue to fill the wards of the Royal Aberdeen Children’s Hospital thanks to the wonderful people that support The ARCHIE Foundation!


We are delighted to be able to continue funding invaluable music therapy for children receiving long-term treatment in hospital. We’ve already funded the initiative since May and have recently accepted an application for further funding until the end of the year.

Emmeline making music with a young oncology patient.

The brilliant music therapist Emmeline McCracken visits children over a two-hour period every two weeks and parents are already seeing the benefits to their children in hospital.


So far, Emmeline has visited 21 patients aged from 11 months to 15 years at their bedsides. The sessions can provide a welcome distraction for many patients, a chance to express challenging emotions and an opportunity to participate in a group activity for families!


Heather Beattie, Play Service Manager at RACH, manages a team of Play Specialists. The team organise daily play in order to achieve developmental goals, help children deal with fear and anxiety, prepare children for procedures or operations, or cope with pain.


Play can also help children regain important skills lost through the effects of illness or hospitalisation. The Play Specialists support the families too, involving siblings and advising parents, carers and staff on appropriate play for each individual child. They also coordinate entertainment for the children that helps alleviate the stress of treatment.


Heather explains, “Music therapy enables families to communicate, have fun and provides them with an outlet for emotions and a chance to forget about medicine and treatments.


The families involved in the initial pilot all reported positive changes in their child during and after music therapy.  Many children are more relaxed, communicate more and are distracted from pain.  Without ARCHIE funding, we would be unable to offer this service to our families.


The therapy can also be used to interact with children who are treated in isolation or in the high dependency unit. The instruments can be taken to them within their rooms in a safe and controlled way when they may not be able to participate in other activities in the main play area.


Each session can be adapted for all ages and abilities and the therapy is tailored to what a particular patient needs at that time.


Some sessions have seen whole families take part while the child as the conductor! Activities like this not only give the family something fun to do together but it also provides the children with a sense of control in an environment where so much is out-with their control.


Emmeline’s work has led to clinicians commenting on how engaged the children become in the activities and seem distracted from any pain they had been suffering from – as well as increasing the positive vibes on the wards!


One parent said it gave their son something to focus on. They said: “It was nice to see him actually concentrating on something as he hasn’t really wanted to do anything.


Another said it helped their daughter express herself, which she had trouble doing while in hospital, adding: “She tends to not communicate much when she’s in the ward but she is always happy to see Emmeline and enjoys making up songs that relate to things that make her happy.


Once again, this is all possible thanks to the incredible support we receive from local people and businesses. Everyone that donates, fundraises, volunteers or raises awareness helps tremendously in making the difference to children and their families!


If you’d like to support The ARCHIE Foundation, there are plenty of ways to do so! Whether you volunteer, donate, or take part in one of our upcoming fundraisers – please get in touch at hello@archie.org!

A room full of music helps the medicine go down!