Choose Language

Music and Wellness

Music as a method of therapy is recognized for treating physical and psychological ailments to improve health. Individuals of all ages benefit from restorative music as it aids in the rehabilitation of a variety of conditions. Research shows that music therapy can improve a patient’s mood, decrease depression, reduce anxiety, build self-esteem, support physical exercise and facilitate other health-related and wellness activities.
Heartstrings provides customized musical experiences through its Music & Wellness programs that include “Sound Beginnings” Parent & Baby Workshops, Sensory Friendly Interactive Concerts and Symphony Serenades.
Sound Beginnings Parent and Baby class

“Sound Beginnings” Parent & Baby Workshops

The Sound Beginnings therapy-informed music program is currently offered to parents and their children 0-4 year olds in partnership with the Orange County Rescue Mission, where they learn to play and interact in a nurturing, loving way while listening and singing to live music played by Pacific Symphony musicians. Incorporating pre-literacy and pre-kindergarten skills throughout an 8-week series, Sound Beginnings also includes a CD featuring the music explored during the workshops, a workbook full of colorful activity pages, puppets, as well as an instrument for every child. Sixteen (16) 45-minute workshops for up to (10) parents and their child provide experiences with important music concepts and skills through different songs and games in a setting of music, play, and parental nurturing. Classes are led by a licensed music therapist as participants explore all the elements of music: rhythm, pitch, harmony, form, dynamics, and tone color. They are encouraged to sing, play simple percussion instruments, listen, and move and are also exposed to music vocabulary and music notation.
“The classes taught me to be more patient with my child. We loved the songs built into each lesson, and now I use music to interact with my daughter every day. I’ve learned how to use singing and music to bond with my daughter. I make up fun songs about everything she does and I can tell that it stimulates her mind and gets her attention.”
— Amanda, OCRM parent
“Many of our parents have come from situations of severe abuse, some have been in the foster system their entire lives, some have lost their jobs, but the majority have experienced drug additions, jail time, and life has beaten them down. The value that this partnership brings them, to these men, women and children, is showing them the more beautiful things in life. It shows them that there are many wonderful people who want to help them be successful in life, that their past is over, they’re facing a new direction, and there’s people here to mentor them.
These parents have been on a daily survival – they didn’t have time to enjoy that parent/child bond. But with this wellness program, they’re seeing how important spending that time with their children is. Being exposed to first-class music by first-class musicians, this is something they never dreamed of having in their lives, and having that available to them and seeing what that’s doing to their personal well-being and the well-being of their children is incredible.”
— Nia Cross, former OCRM Parenting Center Manager

Boy with Cello

Sensory-Friendly Interactive Concerts

Sensory-friendly interactive concerts specifically designed for children and their families affected by Autism and Neurodevelopment disorders, as well as therapy-informed interactive concerts for seniors, their families, and caregivers living with Alzheimers and other cognitive impairments, provide a one-of-a-kind multi-sensory experience, to engage with Pacific Symphony in a safe and comfortable setting. Concerts are informal, educational, and geared towards the needs of the audience. Informances traditionally conclude with an instrument “petting zoo,” where participants are encouraged to touch and play the instruments under the guidance of Symphony musicians.
Sensory-friendly concert
“This event gave my son with Autism the opportunity to see a small symphony for the first time in person. When we heard that he could actually see, hear and touch an instrument, it was more than he could ever imagine. You made it a safe place for our family to come without being judged. Thank you again!”
— Parent, Center for Autism

Music and Wellness - Seniors

”One of our patients who typically sits with his head facing down and completely disengaged, picked up a tambourine and played along with the musicians’ performance of Habanera. I work with this patient year-round, and this was a wonderful ‘first’ to witness”.
— Music Therapist, AgeWell Senior Services

Symphony Serenades – Coming Soon!

Heartstrings partners will soon be invited to request and schedule short musical interactions with Pacific Symphony musicians designed to celebrate special occasions, or help uplift someone’s mood. The goal of these interactions will be to uplift, heal, provide connection, and help alleviate feelings of loneliness and isolation through the power of music.
  Make a Gift to Heartstrings Today

Interested in becoming a Heartstrings Partner? Contact Mary Hawkes, director of community engagement,