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Miller Children's Hospital

Before Julie even begins to play, she attracts the attention of a young girl. Julie starts with some children's songs, trying to find one the girl might know, before launching into a repertoire that ranges from Beethoven to the Beatles. The girl smiles and dances and Julie continues to play for two hours throughout the hospital, going from room to room, surprising and delighting the pediatric cancer patients.

Julie is there as part of a Hallway Musicians program, a branch of the larger music Rx program, sponsored by the Children's Cancer Association. "The goal of the Hallway Musicians program is to be able to touch as many people as we can through music," said Laurel Terreri, a music therapist at Miller. "The music acts as apple pie wafting through the house, going into the rooms without being overbearing. The goal is to take away from the sterilization of the hospital and create a more stimulating environment. It feels like Macy's at Christmastime."

The children at the hospital are not the only recipients of this musical jaunt. The staff takes a moment too to sing along, dance with each other, or just to sit for a brief instant and bathe in the soft, dulcet tones.

Julie has been a member of the Hallway Musicians program for seven years. She not only serenades, but has also brought in various string instruments for the children to explore and play. During this "petting zoo," patients are able to discover what being a musician is about. "Some of the children already know how to play an instrument from their school music program," says Julie. "When you place the violin into their hands, the eyes become wide as saucers and you just can't find a larger smile. That is a great bond and feeling for us both."

Julie has definitely seen the effects her music has had on the children, and their parents. "The music is so calming for them. It's a friendly face that they welcome into their lives. I enjoy connecting with people and especially with children. For a moment in time we can come together and soothe each other's souls."

For more information about Julie Metz, visit her website at julielmetz.com

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