Skip to main content

Using Music as a Transient Element of Passage in End-of-Life Care

May 19, 2018


9 a.m. - 1 p.m.


Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service
Lincoln Center Campus
113 West 60th Street
New York, NY 10023
Room 109 McMahon  


Caring for people who are approaching death is one of the most critical yet underdeveloped aspects of medicine. Music therapy helps patients face the end of life and provides for in-the-moment transitions that can accentuate the meaning of our existence. Through music, listening and playing, when part of an individual and/or family protocol can ease and comfort-thus reducing pain and anxiety associated with treatment or fear. Music therapy with the dying can provide aesthetic, spiritual and creative mechanisms whereby patients can find special spaces for celebrating the lives they have lived, leading toward ease in the acceptance of death- with dignity, comfort, and a sense of lasting legacy. As end of life approaches, most medical teams provide few options aside from palliative comfort measures. The assessment and treatment of pain is not always well evaluated and treatment options are relegated to medicines. Palliative care- inclusive of patient-driven options are not always ‘heard’ in a way that involves the patient as ‘traveler.’ Few clinicians venture into the territory of asking people at end of life how they envision their transition, and even fewer ask, how they would like to die.  The structure of containing peoples’ wishes, hopes, ‘finishings,’ and closures can happen so sensitively within a shared music experience. This is because as we have lived, music has been so often experienced as having the capacity to highlight life markers, such as weddings, sport events, dances, graduations etc. In this way, music can serve as a perfect way to review life, while also hold the experience of passing because music, in the moment of listening and/or playing has rhythm, melody, harmony and dynamic qualities that can be shared and applied at end of life. This course will reflect upon ways in which music therapy can enhance and ease comfort and destiny according to patient-driven desires


Joanne Loewy DA, LCAT, MT-BC is a clinician and researcher. Her studies include music therapy in sedation, assessment, pain, asthma, musician’s health and NICU music therapy. Her areas of specialty are assessment, hermeneutic research, end of life, trauma and supervision. She is the Co-Editor in Chief of the international, peer-reviewed journal Music and Medicine, and she serves on several editorial boards. including the Cochrane Palliative Care review. She has edited several books including Music Therapy in Pediatric Pain, Music Therapy in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, and she co-edited Music Therapy at End of Life, and Caring for the Caregiver: Music Therapy in Grief and Trauma, and the new Integrative Advances in Music and Medicine: Music, the Breath and Health.  Dr. Loewy is a Founding Member of the International Association for Music and Medicine and teaches at Molloy College and at NYU and Hahnemann Creative Arts Therapy graduate music therapy program at Drexel University in Philadelphia. 

Continuing Education Hours

Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service is a provider of social work continuing education hours, as approved by the New York State Education Department Board for Social Work.

Completion of these classes will result in the receipt of four (4) continuing education hours. CEHs are not awarded for partial completion of the class.

Class Fee

The price is below:

Register for the Class Now!

Refunds and Cancellations

In the event that the class is cancelled, a full refund will be given.

Contact Us

Keila Zapata-Kelly, MSW, CASAC-T
Administrator of Continuing Education & Social Work Licensure

  • Fordham GSS Alumni:  $95
  • Fordham GSS Students:  $55
  • Fordham Current Field Instructors:  $55
  • Other Students:  $60
  • Social Work Hospice and Palliative Care Network (SWHPN) Members: $95
  • All others:  $105