Sophie's Place to Provide Music Therapy, Healing at Mott

Think about the sounds you hear in a hospital. The first things that come to mind likely aren’t chords being strummed on a ukulele, kids discovering new rhythms on bongo drums, or a group of patients jamming as they cover their favorite songs.

At the University of Michigan C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital, these notes, melodies, and beats could soon become part of the regular hospital experience for young patients and their families. The hospital is working to expand its music therapy services and offer patients more music programming options during the course of their care.

Through support from the Mott Golf Classic and the Forever Young Foundation, the hospital is moving forward with plans to construct Sophie’s Place, a designated space that will give patients a chance to write, perform, and record their own music.

Sophie’s Place will house instruments like maracas, drums, ukuleles, and guitars. It will have a recording studio for patients to record music they’ve written. The space will also allow Mott’s music therapy program to provide more therapy group sessions, opportunities for live-streaming programming, and a chance to partner with community performers.

Sophie’s Place is named in honor of Sophie Rose Barton, a young singer-songwriter and music volunteer at Primary Children’s Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah. After Sophie passed away unexpectedly at the age of 17, her parents, along with the Forever Young Foundation and Primary Children’s Foundation, wanted to create a place that celebrated Sophie’s love for music and her desire to help others.

The first Sophie’s Place opened at Primary Children’s Hospital in 2013 and was soon followed by other spaces at children’s hospitals in California and Arizona. Mott will become the fifth hospital in the United States to have a Sophie’s Place.

Research has shown that music therapy is effective in a wide variety of health care settings. It can help comfort patients and families, and provide the physical, emotional, and psychological support that can lead to better outcomes.

Mott will be seeking additional community support to help provide for the music therapists, instruments, and technology that will allow Sophie’s Place to share the creative outlets, comfort, and camaraderie that can improve healing.

Sophie’s Place will be Mott’s featured fund on Giving Blueday, a university-wide day of giving on November 27, 2018. Giving Blueday is held annually on Giving Tuesday, a global day of philanthropy following Thanksgiving weekend.

From midnight to 11:59 p.m. EST on November 27, U-M invites supporters worldwide to donate to causes meaningful to them. With social media challenges, special events, and real-time updates throughout the day, Giving Blueday encourages alumni, students, faculty, staff, parents, and other supporters to celebrate their Michigan pride with a gift to the university.

If you are interested in supporting Sophie’s Place, please visit givingblueday.org on November 27, and help give the gift of music to Mott patients and families.