Noel Young is only five years old but already he's working on his second CD.
Noel, a participant in the music therapy program at the Alberta Children's Hospital, has a rare blood disease that compromises his immune system.
He has been in the hospital six times over the past 20 months and is currently in the midst of an eight-week stay.
Young works with music therapist Rebecca Hill on an ongoing basis and the sessions are a godsend, according to his mom, Anne Robillard.
"The music therapy has been great," says Robillard, looking on as her son whacks a hand-held drum, accompanying Hill on guitar as she sings the Transformers' TV show theme. "First he was in isolation and he wasn't allowed to leave the room, so it was great to have Rebecca come to him. This has been the worst admission and it's been really great to have this because he's in a lot of pain and bored.
"He looks forward to the sessions."
The tyke has developed a bond with Hill, who appears in his room with her guitar slung over her shoulders wheeling a cart full of colourful instruments.
"He likes trying all the instruments out," says Robillard.
But the highlight for Noel was the CD he made. Hill brought her Macintosh computer into the room and, using the music-making application Garageband, helped Young compose and record his own music.
The process, Hill says, "gives the patient creative freedom to express some of the emotions associated with hospitalization through songwriting and musical improvisation.
"Like many five-year-olds, Noel loves superheroes, so we wrote and recorded a song that allowed Noel to be the superhero and have superpowers. Opportunities like these allow children to gain back some of the power they have lost in the hospital environment."
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