Troy University alumna Jennifer Trippe’s visits are music to the ears of her patients.
Trippe has been a music therapist at Wiregrass Hospice since October of 2005 and was the first to work in her field at the care facility.
According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapy is the “clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.”
Trippe uses this method to treat her patients by helping them to relax and taking their minds off the pain, if only for a short while. This type of treatment is done only by request and Trippe says she will even travel to the patients’ homes for a session.
Trippe said her normal day consists of going room-to-room or to homes and playing the guitar and singing to the patients. She tries to play music from the patients’ era. Mostly playing music from the 40s, 50s and 60s, Trippe also has had some requests from the 20s, and of course, the traditional church hymns.
Trippe’s musical career began in the seventh grade playing French horn in the school band. As time went by, she learned how to play the guitar, trumpet, keyboard and different percussion instruments. Trippe had plans to teach music after college, but when both of her grandmothers became ill with cancer, she found she had a way to contribute to their healing process.
“I used my God-given talents to help them get better. It’s very rewarding to give back to the patients and families when it’s a difficult time of crisis,” said Trippe.
Trippe also says music therapy helps the patients remember moments from hearing the songs and relieves stress for the families when they listen in on a session. Also, the therapy helps the patients with socialization, if only briefly.
“The music puts the patients in a better mood and they feel like talking and maybe even moving around a bit,” Trippe said.
Trippe earned her undergraduate degree from TROY and her master’s from the University of Georgia; both degrees are in music education. Since being employed by Wiregrass Hospice, she divides her time between three locations, Troy and Selma twice a week and Montgomery the rest of the week. Spreading herself out to see more patients has been a rewarding experience for Trippe.
Smith, a senior print journalism and public relations major from Dothan, served as an intern in the office of university relations.