Ann Arbor’s Mott Children’s Hospital opens $1.5M music therapy studio for patients

ANN ARBOR – Patients at CS Mott Children’s Hospital at the University of Michigan now have access to a state-of-the-art recording studio where they can write, perform and record their own music.

The grand opening of Sophie’s Place – the 1,250 square foot music therapy space – took place on Wednesday with hospital leaders in attendance.

Located on the third floor of Mott, patients and their families can leave their rooms and enjoy the new $1.5 million space, made possible through donations from the Forever Young Foundation, significant donations from individual donors and Mott Golf Classic.

CS Mott Children’s Hospital and Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital Chief Operating Officer Luanne Thomas Ewald speaks during the grand opening of Sophie’s Place in Mott on August 3, 2022. (Michigan Medicine)

Music is a powerful way to provide children and teens with comfort and connection and to help them cope with their hospitalization and treatment,” said Luanne Thomas Ewald, COO of Mott Children’s Hospital and of the Von Voigtlander Women’s Hospital in a statement.

“We are grateful to our generous donors and the support of the community that will allow us to improve our music therapy services for patients and families through Sophie’s Place.

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Sophie’s Place is named after Sophie Barton, a young musician and volunteer who died at the age of 17. (Michigan Medicine)

The studio is named after Sophie Rose Barton, a music volunteer at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. The young singer/songwriter passed away suddenly at the age of 17 and the Forever Young Foundation hopes her legacy can live on through its music therapy programs at several national children’s hospitals.

“Research suggests that music therapy can relieve pain, help relieve anxiety and depression, aid in the development of fine and gross motor skills, increase oxygen saturation levels, create new neuro-pathways, and much more. again,” Barb Young, who co-founded the Forever Young Foundation with her husband and NFL Hall of Famer Steve Young, said in a statement.

“Steve and I, along with Sophie’s parents and our Forever Young Foundation, are honored to partner with CS Mott Children’s Hospital in building Sophie’s Place, a music therapy space bringing hope, healing and harmony to treated children. .”

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Bedside music therapy has been offered to Mott for years by child and family life music therapists. With the help of Sophie’s Place, the Mott teams will be able to greatly expand their music therapy services.

Inside Sophie’s Place at CS Mott Children’s Hospital. (Michigan Medicine)

“It’s amazing to have a dedicated space within Mott that will enhance music therapy experiences for patients and families,” Sophie’s Place studio manager Meredith Irvine said in a statement. “Music is an integral part of who we are as individuals and how we connect with each other.

“Sophie’s Place will allow us to provide individualized music therapy services that meet the needs of each patient throughout their journey and healing process.

According to a statement from UM, Sophie’s Place will offer the following services:

  • Opportunities for patients to record their music and share it with other patients and their families.

  • “Behind the scenes” recording studio experiences, designed to give patients insight into music production and the use of recording equipment.

  • Individual and group music therapy meetings in addition to bedside sessions.

  • Specialized program designed for parents, caregivers and siblings, to promote positive adjustment, environmental normalization and connection with others on similar backgrounds.

  • Program designed to support grieving and bereaved families.

  • Space for celebrity and patient performances, with live streaming capabilities via the hospital’s CCTV network for patients unable to leave their rooms.

  • “Name that Tune” music-based virtual program fostering connection, engagement and socialization for patients who call into the studio or scan a QR code to participate.

  • Weekly educational and musical “Storytime” program conducted in partnership with Mott Education Specialists and Child Life Assistants that encourages academic engagement and development.

  • “Song of the Day” featuring songs selected by patients, families and staff which are celebrated by music therapists discussing the impact and importance of the selected song, teaching parts of the song to viewers and using music to improve the connection with the hospital and the community.

To learn more, visit

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