On Hatteberg’s People, Muriel Slater makes music to small audiences. She is completing her certification as a therapeutic music practitioner. At Via Christi St. Francis, Muriel hopes her music will provide healing and comfort to both hospital patients and those in extended care facilities.
“I’ve been on a mission to see music at the hospital –
It is a short walk of hope that brings Muriel Slater to one of the Via Christi campuses. She believes that music can provide healing, hope and entertainment to those dealing with significant medical issues.
“I think this is what I was born to do.”
In the other part of her life, Muriel is a department secretary for Patient Care Support at St. Francis. For 19 years she has been involved with the hospital and has been playing music here since the 1990’s.
“The secretarial job and the playing for patients really balance each other out pretty well. Playing can be a very emotional experience. I stress myself out. So it is nice to come back to the secretarial work and I don’t have to be worried about a note or something like that.”
“I really hope that the music I am playing is making the difference.”
But it is here with the people this is where it is most rewarding.
“They were listening. I could tell they were really listening. I would also want them to feel that someone cared about them.”
She has studied under the rigorous Music for Healing and Transition Program at Wichita State.
“The music practitioner is --- They are going to play a song for you – trained to watch the patient, to match their mood, to play a major key for certain types of patients. For heart patients and with chronic illnesses we play a heartbeat of 60 to 80 beats per minute.”
And sometimes her work is for an audience of one.
“I know that she was taking it all in as a good experience and something that was just for her.”
“I think the best part for me is how it makes my faith grow. I look back in my life and I think how it appears to me that I was born to do this.”
Muriel has gone through a life-threatening illness herself and she understands how people in hospitals and care centers feel. She says it was music that helped her through her own health issues and perhaps it will help others.