Skip to main content

New program pulls on the harp strings

Volunteer musician Yuko brings gentle live music to the Newborn Care Unit.

A new music program is giving comfort to Gold Coast Health’s littlest patients and their parents.

The Music in Clinical Areas program has recently introduced the harp to the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit and Special Care Nursery at Gold Coast University Hospital.

Newborn Care Unit director Dr Peter Schmidt director said he was hopeful it would positively impact term and pre-term babies at a crucial time in their development.

“We know that music therapy, including the harp, helps the babies and parents. We know that it settles babies and helps them breathe more evenly and effectively,” he said.

“And we certainly know that the music helps parents and babies from an anxiety point of view.

“It’s so positive for us that we have volunteer musicians who will use their considerable skills to target these little babies.”

The program was implemented by the Creative Health Hub after successfully introducing live music into medical rehabilitation units earlier this year.

Creative Health Hub manager Maddie Bridgland said hospital could be a challenging place for parents, who were sometimes not able to have physical contact with their babies. 

“Giving them a way to connect with their babies, to help with that anxiety and stress associated with being here and giving the babies some really positive stimulation away from the clinical noises has been really positive,” Maddie said.

“There’s been a lot happy tears from parents who have had to be separated from their babies who may have been in incubators.”

Maddie said live music was increasingly being used in hospitals throughout the country. 

“The evidence we continue to get shows there’s some really clear and positive outcomes associated with the presence of music in these settings, so the use of it is going to continue to grow,” she said.

“The Creative Health Hub is always looking for volunteers to come and help create a more positive atmosphere throughout our hospitals so if there’s anyone out there who wants to use their skills in a really positive way, please get in touch.”

Musicians are required to be signed up and inducted as official Gold Coast Health volunteers.
If you are interested, email

Last updated 18 Aug 2021