What do John Mayer, Chris Young and Jars of Clay have in common? Well of course, they’re all musicians. But thanks to a groundbreaking organization, they are officially “Musicians on Call.” No, this doesn’t mean they’re ready to suit up for the next episode of “ER”…well…not quite. These are just a handful of musicians who have donated their time, talents and compassion to bring the healing power of music to the bedsides of patients around the country. And from New York to Nashville, these musicians are seeing first-hand the power of song.
“Our time spent at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital [Nashville] was incredible,” says Steve Mason of Jars of Clay. “Music has the power to heal, and it was our honor to play music for the children. We hope that this becomes a trend, as we live in Music City, that more artists will involve themselves in such a sweet and life-giving opportunity.”
Founded in 1999, Musicians on Call (MOC) has been opening doors for such opportunities for musicians, volunteers and patients. The concept is simple enough—provide music to patients. But the methods are brilliant in their simplicity and approachability.
First, MOC offers a bedside program. If a patient is unable to leave their hospital bed, a volunteer artist will literally perform a bedside concert just for them. Imagine waking up to Jars of Clay strumming away at your feet!
Next, they offer full CD pharmacies to hospitals. By providing libraries of albums and stereos to play them on, Musicians on Call takes one further step in bringing music to patients.
Finally, they provide an opportunity with software for a patient to record his or her own music.
Perhaps the best part about MOC is that musicians don’t have to boast countless accolades or awards to participate. In fact, local, unsigned artists are encouraged to contact MOC via their website and volunteer their time and talents.
When it all comes down to it, it’s hard to argue the healing power of music. And as John Mayer, a MOC volunteer himself, puts it, “It’s a great reminder of what music was born to do.”
Visit musiciansoncall.org for more information.
Caroline Lusk was the editor of CCM Magazine between 2008-2014.