2 From the President
te a m-mate s
– we incorporate certified music practitioners into
know my secret. I love
our clinical care. These men and women are
music. All kinds of
specially trained musicians who provide live music
music. To be more
at a patient’s bedside. Their work is focused on
specific, I have 12,456 songs on my playlist.
bringing comfort to the patient’s whole being –
That’s why I was fascinated by a recent article in
physical, emotional and spiritual. Just one year
The New York Times entitled, “My Deathbed
ago, the average number of monthly requests for
Playlist.” I am very familiar with end-of-life
music practitioners was approximately 340. Today,
planning, health care proxies and powers of
we receive up to 1,500 requests. That’s powerful.
attorney, but NOT with a “deathbed playlist.” The
It is a need we feel we must continue to meet.
author suggests that many of us plan for the music
Research suggests that music can reduce heart
at our funerals but before then, “many of us will
rates, enhance sleep, help with pain, reduce anxiety
face a time when we are still able to experience
and decrease muscle tension.
music but can no longer choose it for ourselves.”
Hence, the opportunity to create a musical will.
“A musical will?” you ask. Why, yes. A
personalized playlist for the end of life.
Music can also provide benefits at the end of life.
Our music practitioners will play for our patients
when death is eminent – creating a transcendent
peace as one slips from this world. Our music
Music is one of our oldest forms of communication.
practitioners are amazing – they have the ability to
It overcomes differences. Henry Wadsworth
adapt their live music to mirror – to change with the
Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language
varying rhythms of the dying process.
of mankind.” Even without words, music can
The music that gave our lives meaning can bring
convey stories and evoke strong emotions. Music
comfort at the end. So why not empower those
has the capacity to touch us deeply.
around us with a list of “our songs”? Even those
Humans have the unique ability to reflect on our
past and enjoy memories. Music can be a powerful
who love us won’t know all the music we love.
So, what’s on your Last Playlist?
highway to transport us back to a specific moment
Rowland K. Robinson
At Baylor Scott & White Health, we believe in
the power of music in both healing and palliative
care. Through our Arts in Medicine program –
which is funded almost entirely by philanthropy
President, Baylor Health Care System Foundation