Continuously fascinated by the commonalities between the healing arts and music, Daniel also went through the two-year process of becoming a Certified Music Practitioner through the Music for Healing and Transitioning Program ( This modality trains musicians to use their craft as a complementary treatment within the healthcare system and beyond by offering in-the-moment comfort care through therapeutic music. Studies have shown that therapeutic music can have positive effects on improving a wide range of symptoms and conditions, ranging from pain management and post-surgical recovery rate to stabilizing patients with neural, cardiovascular, respiratory, and cognitive instabilities and disorders. Music Practitioners learn to intentionally adapt the music they play bedside to support the patient’s immediate needs, allowing for entrainment to assist on the path to recovery and healing.
Daniel has served in this capacity at hospitals and retirement homes, playing for pre/post surgery and ICU patients, as well as people who suffer from Alzheimers and Dementia.

Daniel now also incorporates this work at his position with the VA.

For more information about therapeutic music(ans):

Isn’t live, therapeutic music just entertainment for the patient that any amateur musician could provide?
Therapeutic music is not meant to be played as a performance to entertain. Musical selections and the manner in which it is played are specific to an individual patient’s condition, which may change during a session in response to the music. The CMP has been trained to make adjustments in the way the music is played or even make on-the-spot changes in repertoire as the patient responds. In many instances, the therapeutic music played is improvised.

Isn’t therapeutic music the same thing as music therapy?
Therapeutic music is an art based on the science of sound. It is live acoustic music specifically tailored
to the patient’s immediate needs. A therapeutic musician uses the inherent healing elements of live music and sound to enhance the environment for patients in healthcare settings in order to facilitate the healing process and movement towards health, a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being. Therapeutic music supports this process primarily through the principles of resonance and entrainment using elements of music: rhythm, harmony, melody and tonal color. The therapeutic musician is also trained in transpersonal modalities that enhance focused presence and intentionality. On the other hand, music therapy is the clinical and evidence based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship. Music therapists develop an individualized treatment plan for the client that identifies the goals, objectives, and potential strategies of services using interventions that may include music improvisation, receptive music listening, song writing, lyric discussion, music and imagery, music performance, learning through music, and movement to music.

Why would my healthcare institution retain the services of therapeutic musician when a music therapist seemingly can do the same thing and more?
Each profession clearly has a role in healthcare and in many healthcare institutions they work side by side. Music therapists may be trained to play therapeutic music for patients, but they do not specialize in this. Therapeutic musicians serve patients individually only at the bedside for in-the-moment, comfort care. What they provide does not require a treatment plan or the active participation of the patient. They come only with the intention to serve the needs of the patient. They are well suited for this purpose in the ER, ICU, NICU, post-surgery recovery, cancer treatment center and cardiac wards of hospitals; and skilled nursing facilities. They also serve terminally-ill patients and the actively dying in palliative medicine and hospice facilities.
(P. Allen Macfarlane Ph.D., CMP)