Volunteering with Musicians on Call

If you’re looking for volunteering opportunities in Nashville, I highly encourage you to check out Musicians on Call.

MOC is a non-profit headquartered in NYC, but it’s only fitting that they have a large presence in Music City.

Musicians on call brings the healing power of music to hospital patients’ bedsides. It’s basically volunteer musicians and guides going around floors and asking patients if we can play them a song for them and it is so rewarding.

You don’t have to be musically inclined either - trust me, I’m practically tone-deaf and can’t tell the difference between pitches. However, I partner with a ton of amazing volunteer artists that lead the room - I just consider my role as part of the Musicians on Call entourage escorting them around. They are so incredibly talented and it’s so fun to listen to them play cover songs or their own original music.

This year alone, while touring TriStar Centennial Medical Center, we’ve helped bring the healing power of music to 197 patients and family members, and the Wednesday night crew will surpass that 200 mark in November!

I feel like an awful human sometimes because around Wednesday at 5 p.m., I am absolutely exhausted from work and just want to go home and lay on the couch with Manny. But, by the time I pull into the hospital’s parking garage and get on the elevator, I am so glad that I am there.

Nothing makes me happier than when a patient sees me coming down the hall, and they told me they heard us and left their door open specifically to listen in hopes that we’d come by there room. I mean, come on! How sweet is that! I love the talkative patients that tell you stories about their past and their stay.

Honestly, I think I need it more than they do because it warms my heart knowing that our visit left them in good spirits.

There’s been times where I’ve run into people I’ve known, or I leave and I’m just truly inspired by some of the conversations we’ve had.

If you’re looking to get involved with Musicians on Call, we’re doing some really cool things! The organization just celebrated its 20th anniversary (they’ve been in Nashville for more than 10 of those years), and they’re always open for ways to expand and try something new.

I’m actually on the advisory board, and we administered a country-wide survey where we asked for feedback after a MOC visit, where we ranked questions about the patients. I was curious to see if the patients would actually want to provide feedback, and was shocked that at least at our hospital, 100% of the patients we asked were willing to provide feedback! And EVERYTHING they had to say was so positive. Most of our questions were “on a scale of 1 to 5…” and most asked if they could leave comments.

We’re able to take that data and compare it within the region (because Musicians on Call isn’t just at TriStar Centennial - we’re actually at Vanderbilt and the VA in Murfreesboro, too) and company it across the hospitals across the country that participated.

We’re creating a movement, with the patient experience in mind, to help brighten loved-one’s hospital stays - one performance at a time!

So, if you’re a musician in Nashville, I highly encourage you to check out the program. You have to do one volunteer shift per month, and it only takes about two hours a night. Just a head’s up, you’ll have to get your annual flu shot and adhere to the hospital’s volunteer program guidelines (spread music, not germs :)

If you want to get involved, but can’t commit to volunteer shifts, there’s tons of other ways to help out!

Sign up for backstage updates and get on the email list. Musicians on Call hosts concerts in Nashville all of the time featuring big names and up-and-coming artists!

Buy merch. It’s super cute. I personally have a Musicians on Call backpack that I sport at the gym. Check it out here.

Share your story. If you’ve seen a hospital bedside performance or have interacted with the organization in any way at all, they would LOVE to hear your feedback. Post on social, too. #MusicHealths #MOCMoments

Lastly, donate. I’ve single-handedly seen the impact that this organization has on patients, and the staff that work on the floor, and all of the visitors coming in and out. It’s truly remarkable and it’s something that they’ll remember for a lifetime. No one wants to be in the hospital - it can be the worst time in someone’s life, and I am so honored for the opportunity for five minutes of their time to help make them forget about their discomfort or pain. You can make a one-time donation, or there are a few different programs that you can help support. Donate here.

If you have any questions about it, I am an open book and have been involved for a little over a year!