Music as Medicine: Music therapy helping kids get better at PCH

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Music therapist Julie Renato teaches patient Hannah to play the ukulele. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) Music therapist Julie Renato teaches patient Hannah to play the ukulele. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
A few days a week, she goes room to room with her cart full of instruments, giving private music sessions to patients. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A few days a week, she goes room to room with her cart full of instruments, giving private music sessions to patients. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
For him, music therapy is helping teach Korbin how to talk and use his body again. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) For him, music therapy is helping teach Korbin how to talk and use his body again. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PCH hopes it can one day expand the program and bring in a second music therapist. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) PCH hopes it can one day expand the program and bring in a second music therapist. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

Patients at Phoenix Children's Hospital are singing and playing instruments on their road to recovery.

It's a newer program that's already helping a lot of the kids who are in the hospital.

This medicine requires no needles or pills. Just the voice and a few instruments.

"Listening and participating in music has actually been shown to strengthen immune responses. In hospitals, it's been shown with decreased lengths of stay," said music therapist Julie Renato. 

PCH brought Renato onboard about a year ago. 

A few days a week, she goes room to room with her cart full of instruments, giving private music sessions to patients.

"It's the perfect blending of using your musical skills and helping others," said Renato. 

On Thursday, Renato visited 10-year-old Hannah Hathorne. Hannah's been at PCH more than a month now while she fights leukemia. 

She can't go home until her immune system gets stronger. So for her, music therapy is about making her feel good so her body fights hard and produces more white blood cells. 

"It's really fun. It really lifts up the spirits," said Hannah. "I like the sound, it's really soothing."

On the other side of the hospital, Renato next went to see 4-year-old Korbin Keech, who's recovering from a brain tumor. 

For him, music therapy is helping teach him how to talk and use his body again. 

"Something happens to him once that music gets going, he's talking. We can't get him to really talk outside of the music but somehow he knows those words," said Korbin's mother, Christina Keech. "It's like holding your baby and they say 'mama' for the first time. It's like that all over again."

PCH hopes it can one day expand the program and bring in a second music therapist. 

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Lauren ReimerLauren Reimer joined the 3TV/CBS 5 family in June 2016. She is originally from Racine, WI but is no stranger to our heat.

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Lauren Reimer

She previously worked for KVOA in Tucson, covering topics that matter to Arizonans including the monsoon, wildfires and border issues. During the child migrant crisis of 2014, Reimer was one of only a handful of journalists given access to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facility in Nogales, where hundreds of unaccompanied children were being held after crossing into the U.S. from Central America. Before that, Reimer worked at WREX in Rockford, IL. Lauren is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee and still visits home often. When not chasing news stories, Reimer loves to explore, enjoying everything from trying new adventurous foods to visiting state and national parks or local places of historical significance.

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