When children are being treated for cancer, they usually need help to cope with all of the stress and emotions that are engendered. A study by Indiana University's School of Nursing (along with many contributing institutions/authors) investigated three environmental conditions on cancer patients ages 4-7: active music engagement (AME), music listening (ML), and audio storybooks (ASB). Active Music Engagement is a program that involves playing hand held instruments and singing action songs like "Five Little Monkeys" to allow the patients to work out stress and pain. It's been used as music therapy for burn patients and pain management, and relationships between patients with dementia and their spousal caregivers. This study found that the patients who received the AME had significantly higher coping behaviors than the other two conditions (ML and ASB). These coping behaviors were positive facial effect, active engagement with others, and initiation of activities. Initiation of activities was about equal for both music conditions, significantly greater than the storybook listeners.
Sherri L. Robb, et al. "Randomized controlled trial of the active music engagement (AME) intervention on children with cancer." Psycho-Oncology (Nov. 21, 2007 online).
IUPUI article, TherapyTimes article.