Music for Relaxation with Arts in Health at FMC 2009-2022

Heather Frahn facilitating sound based meditation at FMC chapel as part of the Arts in Health program.
Image: Heather Frahn facilitating sound based meditation at FMC chapel as part of the Arts in Health program.

Heather Frahn is an award winning vocalist, a song weaver, multi-instrumentalist, sound designer, meditation teacher, sound healing therapist, and music-based spiritual care worker. 

Her multi-dimensional work in the performing arts, healing arts, and community arts, ranges across diverse applications from hospital wards, to public parades, from yoga centres, to remote communities, from universities, to some of the finest arts festivals and theatre stages nationally and overseas. Heather intertwines her love of arts in health with spiritual care, by blending healing music, sacred songs, prayer, and meditation.

Arts in Health at FMC, Flinders Medical Centre:

From 2009 to 2022 Heather was a valued member of the Arts In Health team at Flinders Medical Centre. During her time there she developed a program “Music for Relaxation” which combines together therapeutic sound elements, soothing music, with mindfulness and meditation practices. This program was brought to patients and staff on the wards, and assisted patients to relax and rest more deeply, through listening and using sound as a meditation object. Seeing patients within a holistic framework, Heather also incorporated in her “Music for Relaxation” program elements of Pastoral Care and Spiritual Care.

Testimonial by FMC Patient, the late Julie Edwards, about Heather’s Music in Palliative Care

The testimonial by and image of the late Julie Edwards is shared with Permission to Heather Frahn by Julie herself, and her family. “The power of the music lingers long after the last note. It lingers in your mind, and in your soul, and it gives you peace of mind when you’re travelling through very difficult times in your life. And you can see the journey of my pathway that there’s been many times when things have been difficult and you [Heather] have come along and played the music, and its helped me onto the next part of my journey. And that to me is the most important part of your work – is that you’re helping someone else to go further along the path in a peaceful, compassionate way. It helps them to do what they have to do. And I’m amazed at the amount of coincidences of one person meeting another that led to such a positive outcome. We might never have all met each other, but we did. And I think we were meant to meet one another and meant to do what we’ve done. And the creative work that you’ve done, and with the companionship that I’ve experienced with this work. So I would like to encourage you all to keep working in that field [of spiritually based music in health care and palliative care] that is just as valuable in it’s own way as what the doctors and nurses do, because you’re helping to heal somebody spiritually, not just physically or psychologically” – Julie Edwards, 2019.

Music in Spiritual Care

Heather was a guest presenter of the Flinders Medical Centre program at the National Arts In Health conference in Canberra, and had her sound therapy featured at the National Rural Health Conference in Adelaide. She presented a keynote on “Sound Healing” to the Pagan Society of South Australia, as well as sharing a keynote presentation titled “The Art of Listening with Sacred Sound” for the “Being In Tune” ANZACPE Conference held in Adelaide, South Australia, 2019. The keynote focuses on Heather’s work within the realms of Arts in Health, Spiritual Care, and Multi-faith Musical Ministry. You can hear Heather’s keynote presentation in a Six-Part Playlist at this link. She has been interviewed about Arts in Health and Sound Therapy on ABC’s Radio National on Australia wide radio. 

Watch the 2014 film ‘In The Moment’ below…

Watch “In The Moment” 2014 film by Harry Tregilgas, Registered Music Therapist at Chris O’Brien Lifehouse & Wollongong Conservatorium of Music. Watch it on the Arts in Health at FMC youtube channel

This film is available for viewing on Youtube here

“In the moment” is a short film made by Harry T. Tregilgas as part of his Flinders University Media Studies degree, in collaboration with Arts in Health at Flinders Medical Centre, that celebrates how therapeutic sound and music can make a difference to patients, their families and staff. Sound healing is arguably as old as sound itself. Sixty years of evidence based research solidly place music in the hospital environment as a useful adjunct to medical interventions. Studies show that there is a cellular response to sound in humans and this film brings to an audience, the full and real effects of Heather’s work in the hospital environment. Short, hand-drawn, animated sequences by Lachlan Murray are interspersed in the film, describing visually the heightened effects of music on patients. The viewer is taken inside the Hospital walls and wards as part of the sound/ music work involved in the Arts in Health program at FMC. Heart warming scenes in wards at Flinders Medical Centre open this film as we witness musician Heather Frahn working with a brand new baby and its mother. In another scene a family group sits in a bedside vigil with an elderly family member, all are transfixed in unspoken communication by Heather Frahn’s sound and vibration created in the room with simple instruments and vocals.”

"In The Moment" Film ~ A Documentary by Harry T Tregilgas ~ Celebrating the Sound and Music program at Flinders Medical Centre
in 2014, Heather’s work with the Music For Relaxation Program was featured in a short film by Harry T. Tregilgas “In The Moment”.

During Heather’s time working at Arts in Health at FMC, she has also wrote several published articles for Innerself Newspaper about sound, music, and meditation, and was invited to write a feature article “A Prayer Without Words” in The Art of Healing, Australian magazine.

Patient Referrals: Even though Heather is no longer part of the program, Arts in Health at FMC is still on offer to patients. So if you, or someone you know is a patient in Flinders Medical Centre, you can make a referral for an Arts in Health facilitator to visit you with either relaxing music, arts and craft activities, story and poetry writing, and music performances. For more information please visit this webpage on the SA Health website [link]