Music Therapy Brings Comfort
Brian Schreck is something like the Pied Piper of Cincinnati Children's. He walks the halls with a guitar strapped on his back, pushing a cart of instruments, and stops in patient rooms to encourage kids to goof off and make noise. Schreck, a Berklee College of Music-trained musician who holds a master's degree in music therapy from New York University, pioneered the pediatric music therapy program at Cincinnati Children's four years ago, primarily as an outlet for cancer and rehab patients. He has gained such a following that the hospital has added three more music therapists. His fan base includes kids such as Christopher "Critter" Smith, a 12-year-old who died in April 2011 after battling his second relapse of leukemia. Critter had been in and out of the hospital since he was in third grade, and when he heard electric guitars reverberating in another room one day, he asked how he could get in on that kind of therapy. Schreck showed up at his door, ready to rock, and the two started jam sessions that didn't stop even when nurses came in to take Critter's temperature. Even though his illness was always in the back of his mind, Critter said Schreck had been able to do something for him that his doctors and nurses couldn't: Make him forget about being sick, if only momentarily. Listen to Brian and Critter jam in this "Tell Me a Story."