Nightly News   |  February 16, 2013

Program brings live music to hospitals

A program called Musicians on Call strives to bring music to the bedsides of patients too sick to leave their hospital beds. NBC’s Lester Holt reports.

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>>> finally tonight a prescription that's hitting all the right notes for hospitals and their patients. it's a program that puts musicians inside hospital rooms where they administer the powerful healing tonic of a good song. it's enlisted some pretty big names who are making hospital rounds and making a difference. he's toured the country many times over as front man for hooty and the blow fish and now solo country artists playing some of music's biggest venues. but on this particular concert tour he's playing to audiences of as few as two. his arenas? hospital rooms.

>> almost made my cry. my daughter says, mom, don't cry. we're happy that she is getting better and this has made the day so much better.

>> you see the looks on their faces especially when you play a song they know and they're just so happy. nothing better than that.

>> reporter: they don't wear scrubs but musicians like darius rucker and -- let me show you how country feels

>> reporter: randy hauser are dispensing musical medicine here at vanderbilt children's hospital.

>> i think it's great they take the time to come and meet the kids.

>> reporter: the two superstars are volunteers with musicians on call, a nonprofit organization that enlists local musicians and celebrity performers to play at hospitals across the country.

>> we know it helps with pain control, lowers blood pressure, and certainly emotionally it takes them out of the experience of being in a medical setting for that three or five minutes that a song is played for them.

>> reporter: 17-year-old courtney battles a chronic stomach ailment and longs for home. one of randy's songs briefly takes her there.

>> we live in a really small town. one way coming in and one way coming out.

>> a new dad with a new chart topping song things weren't always so good for randy hauser who understands music's healing power.

>> when things weren't so great in my home music was that thing that i turned to to distract me or to ease the stress out of my life.

>> reporter: the musicians get back as much as they give.

>> reporter: you're there to cheer them up. sometimes do they have the effect of cheering you up?

>> absolutely. you never feel bad. you see them there and you walk in and you know that you're just helping them a little bit.

>> thank you, man.

>> reporter: musicians on call operates in six major cities. they've got hundreds of volunteer performers and guys who they screen, train, and schedule for these bed side performances. that's nbc nightly