We were working on a ward in Leicester Hospital on Tuesday 23rd April and played our way round to a corner room where the door was wide open. Inside there was a little baby all dressed in green pyjamas. When he saw us he looked quite anxious – Who were these People? What were they carrying with them? And what were they going to do?
I was reminded of the training we had recently been doing with musicians in healthcare, and the ethics we had discussed. I knew I wanted to provide some nice music for this young man to enhance his stay in hospital, but was very aware I did not want to alarm him. He was in a very vulnerable position, with assisted breathing equipment, in a seated position in bed, with no adult he knew nearby.
We decided to play Twinkle, with no eye contact, just letting the music reach out to him and then observed his reactions. The music became part of his environment and more normal to him. He appeared to relax and began to smile intermittently.
My intention was then to help him feel more comfortable with us being there and thereby allow him access to more music and to enjoy himself.
Slowly, but surely, the smiling became more frequent, movement increased with stretching, reaching, sitting up and leg extensions – dancing as much as he could. He started to tip his head back, mouth wide in a silent laughter and caught my eye with glee – as if teasing me. Eye contact now not a threat to him, we shared quite long gazes.
I left him apparently relaxed and smiling and his nurse came by and shared the moment with us. I was reminded of how important eye contact is at the right time and with the right intensity, and felt so glad I had my training to help me make this interaction successful for this little baby and indeed a lovely experience for both of us.