Cambrae Fox describes music therapy as “using music to achieve non-musical goals in a clinical setting.” But her tireless and joyful work with patients is so much more than that — and she is truly changing lives every day.
Cambrae Fox: Music therapy: Using music to achieve non-musical goals in a clinical setting.
Cambrae: (Singing) Baby, don’t be blind. Oh, she wants you more than that.
Cambrae: You know, it doesn’t matter if I’m tired, or if I’m distracted, or if I’m in a bad mood, or if I’m in a good mood. It doesn’t change what the patient needs that day. You focus on them and what they need, and when you’re at home, you can be in a bad mood if you want.
8:00 a.m. Children’s hospital
Cambrae: I go into work and I play music with babies and children and adults all day. So there’s not a lot about it to keep me too grumpy. But that’s just me.
Cambrae: (Singing) …at the old ball game.
Cambrae: Knowing you’re going to be admitted to the hospital isn’t always great. It gives him something positive he gets to take away. “Oh, I learned this song. I can now play this.”
Cambrae: He has a yellow sticker right here. So when he sees the yellow sticker on the sheet, he knows that that’s the one he holds down and plays.
Cambrae: (Singing) …up the spout again. (Speaking to child) You learned a lot of songs.
Cambrae: A lot of times, adults can become a lot more upset because they do have that recognition of the situation they’re in, whereas the kids are able to stay so positive, which I think ultimately helps them heal, too.
12:15 p.m. Lunch (in car)
Cambrae: Yes, I do have to eat. I don’t want to take a half-an-hour lunch, and then take half an hour to drive there, because then that’s now an hour that I’m not working with people. It works.
3:35 p.m. Adult rehab
Cambrae: Close your eyes. Relax your body by releasing any areas of tension.
There we go. Do you feel a little more relaxed?
Patient: Sure. (Laughing)
Cambrae: That was convincing. (Laughing)
Cambrae: But yeah, I will … I’ll learn that song so that if you’re still here next week—
Patient: Oh, Alice’s Restaurant?
Cambrae: Yes, sir.
Patient: It’s 20 minutes. I don’t think you—
Cambrae: I’ll learn a truncated version. How’s that sound?
Cambrae: Music therapy and playing gigs are different. People can connect to both. People can enjoy both. You can change someone’s day with both. But I feel very lucky that I am a music therapist, because I get to help people heal using something I’m passionate about, which I don’t think a lot of people can say they’re able to do.
8:00 p.m. Gig at local bar
Cambrae: (Singing) Baby, don’t be blind.
Move mountains. (Bells chiming)