Making NICU Easier Through Music

Estaban Roa, Music Therapy Fellow

“I will ask the parents to write a poem or letter to their baby,” explains Esteban Roa, a music therapy fellow at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. “We’ll take some of those words and put them to music. We have different approaches to creating a lullaby, and one is lyric substitution. We’ll ask the parents or family to mention a favorite lullaby and then substitute the lyrics with words that describe the things they hope for their baby. It’s really tough to be in the neonatal intensive care unit, and the whole music therapy experience is nice because we’re connecting with the parents and making it a bit easier to be here. The parents get to see their baby respond to their lullaby. Their baby will turn or wake up and look for where the sound is coming from. We’re starting to create memories, and we give them something to take home with their baby. It’s really exciting.”


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