ST. LOUIS - Children who spend time in a hospital sometimes find a new interest or hobby to pass the time. In some cases, music can help fill the hours. At Mercy Children’s Hospital, patients who show an interest in music and motivation to play an instrument work one on one with music therapist Bernadette Baer. Thanks to the Chinn Guitar Project, some of those patients even go home with a new guitar.
The Chinn Guitar Project, founded by Ken Chinn of Dallas, Texas, is dedicated to providing guitars to children in any circumstance who show a desire to learn but may not have access to instruments or instructions. Since the program started in early 2013, the group has given away a multitude of guitars to children across the nation.
The Child Life Music Therapy program at Mercy Children’s received eight brand new guitars in three different sizes. Baer helps make the determination about gifting the guitars.
“If there’s a patient who displays interest and motivation to learn how to play, I schedule a one-on-one music therapy session with them,” she said. “Typically, it’s a patient who is in the hospital for a long stay or returns often due to illness.”
One such patient was Kyra Walker, the first patient to receive a guitar. Baer said after one-on-one sessions with Walker, she was very engaged in learning and very motivated. When left with one of the hospital guitars, she practiced and by the end of her stay was able to play a song and sing along with it.
“She didn’t have a guitar at home, so she seemed a perfect candidate,” Baer recalled. “Kyra was so excited and surprised.”
For more information about the Chinn Guitar Project and hot it came about, visit its website here.