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What We're Reading | Learning Guitar & Cancer Recovery

We recently shared how ArtistWorks drum teacher Billy Cobham practices music therapy with an autistic community in Bern, Switzerland. As music therapy gains increased popularity, Medill reports that learning guitar helps 4-year-old Gabbie Guzon battle leukemia.

Susan Cotter-Schaufele, Music Therapy Supervisor from Advocate Lutheran General Hospital just outside of Chicago, says that for Gabby, learning music is "meaningful" and "pleasurable, and so much of her treatment is anything but pleasurable."

Gabby also has Down syndrome, and Cotter-Schaufele has seen exercises such as strumming and singing "put on your shoes" boost Gabby's ability to communicate. According to Medill, Cotter-Schaufele says that "for patients like Gabby, a spoken word can become garbled, but because of the way the brain processes music, those words can be easily understood and remembered when used in a song." 

Although music therapists can use any instrument, they often choose the harp or the guitar because of their range of notes and reduction of anxiety. "The guitar is…very powerful," Cotter-Schaufele says.

Experience the healing power of guitar for yourself by learning flat pick guitar with Bryan Sutton, gypsy & jazz guitar with Andreas Oberg, and fingerstyle guitar with Martin Taylor.