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Why Live Music Matters

Our Mindful Music team entered the Pediatrics Unit at the Santa Monica UCLA Medical Center on a mission to engage and uplift children who are fighting short and long term illness, using a participatory live music session for the entire unit.

We approached patients like Angey, who was lying on her bed watching TV with her sister, and surprised them with a chance to make music. Within minutes, Angey played with a xylophone and violin joining musicians Stephen Spies and Kate Bacich. Together with her care team and other children in the Pediatrics Unit, Angey made music and an average day turned into a unique experience for the children, parents, and staff.

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Between the uncertainty of health outcomes and stressors of the environment, nobody wants to be in the hospital. Live music has the power to uplift patients, family members, nurses, administrators, doctors, technicians, janitors, and many others involved, to serve these patients and aid in their healing process.

Mindful Music sessions lower the tension and stress of the hospital setting. For a period of time, children and families are able to engage with music outside of their rooms and meet other patients on the floor. We work closely with the Pediatrics Unit to strategically schedule music sessions to best benefit patients and families who endure a lot of testing and treatments during the day, as well as staff who have specific transition times for shift changes.

We made this music video to serve as a torch of hope for patients and families entering the hospital. Our production encompasses an original song by accomplished musicians paired with an award-winning filmmaker focusing on the bravery, strength, positivity, and beautiful personalities of the child patients.

“It was a remarkable experience working with the children at the Pediatrics Unit. I was holding in tears of empathy and joy watching the children shine and forget their pain while they played and listened to music. It was a beautiful heartwarming moment that will show through this video,” stated Melody Miller, award-winning filmmaker and mastermind behind the video. Melody is a dedicated creative storyteller, who was awarded the Women in Film Award and the Motion Picture Association of America Award for her work empowering women and children around the world through film.


Stephen Spies and Kate Bacich wrote and performed the song to raise awareness about the impact of live music on children in the Pediatrics Unit. They are both part of an up-and-coming band, Hello Noon. Some of their most fulfilling musical moments have come from their experience teaching piano, guitar, and ukulele to patients at Miller Children’s Hospital, as well as performing for pediatric patients at the UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica.

Mindful Music is the bridge connecting live music to areas where day to day life happens, which isn’t always a concert hall or grand performance center. It is an innovative human-centric solution designed to use music performance for stress management, changing workplace culture and fostering community.

The non-profit startup strives to transform a regular space into a musical performance venue for people to gather and take a break from their desks and computers. By partnering with health systems, academic institutions, startups, and companies, Mindful Music is able to custom tailor a live music experience in an unexpected space and time of day. As a bridge between artists and audiences, Mindful Music develops and specifically curates their roster of talented musicians to connect with audiences and share a wide spectrum of genres such as classical, jazz, and world music.

One single patient filled up with hope through music, can change the entire health system, which can be the beginning of change for our world. The ripple effect of hope and joy begins with one melody.

Dalida Arakelian is the founder & executive director of Mindful Music, established at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience & Human Behavior at UCLA. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Economics and Public Health from UCLA. Dalida is involved in ongoing collaborations with musicians, artists, scientists, and media makers to produce content, both live and online, to positively impact the way people behave, think, and live together. She was a featured TedX UCLA speaker where she shared the idea behind Mindful Music.

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