Music Therapy for KEYS Kids
The KEYS Program provides free music therapy services for children impacted by cancer and serious illnesses.
Our board certified music therapists and creative arts therapists use music techniques to achieve therapeutic goals. Depending on their stage of treatment, our therapists provide music therapy in the child's home, at one of our group music therapy sessions, or at the bedside of children in hospice or palliative care.
Our therapists utilize techniques that help children with managing the physical, emotional and cognitive challenges they may face with a cancer or serious illness diagnosis.
Music helps to alleviate the stress, anxiety and fears that come along with a cancer diagnosis
Breathing techniques, redirection and visualization activities help to manage pain and anxiety
Drumming, rhythms and playing instruments give children a chance to actively engage in music making
Music and movement activities help to strengthen targeted areas of the body impacted by surgery
Songwriting provides a creative outlet for a child to express their feelings and share their story
Music provides peace, comfort and healing to children journeying through the end of life
If you would like to refer a child, please contact us at or 315-363-6446.
(Please note: We also provide music therapy and lessons for the community for a fee. See below)
“Just when we were feeling weary and alone, the KEYS staff arrives bringing music, light and hope back into our hearts. Thank you for always being there to help us through this journey.”
Mother of 7 year old cancer patient
Family Respite Days
Our Smile Experience is a special cancer-free zone where we provide KEYS families a break from cancer treatment to enjoy a day together filled with over-the-top silliness, music, laughter and smiles!
Our most popular Smile Experience is our day at the races where KEYS kids & their siblings drive our USAC .25 Midget cars on the race track. Each child enjoys a full celebration in Victory Lane, receives a trophy, signs autographs and gets interviewed by our track announcers. Live music, cookout, face painting and photo booth are just some of the fun activities throughout the day!
Our goal is to create precious memorable family moments (and BIG smiles) that help to sustain the entire family through the tough days a little bit easier.
“I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed the Smile Experience! Erika is already asking if we can go again next year! On our way home Erika said ‘dreams do come true’! What a wonderful day!”
~Mother of 11 year old cancer patient
Each holiday season we collect, wrap and deliver Holiday Smiles Care Packages to the homes of kids battling cancer and hospital pediatric units in Central NY.
Each care package is filled with board games, delicious treats and holiday music that families can enjoy together, whether they are traveling to the hospital for treatment, in their hospital room or healing at home.
Our KEYS kids love it when our elves arrive at their front door to spread holiday love and cheer!
“Thank you so much for thinking of our family every Christmas. There were lots of smiles when opening those gifts...game night is tonight! And I always love the Christmas CD…I’ve already listened to it twice! Thank you for helping us smile each and every Christmas as they are so hard without Gracie here. Merry Christmas!” -Lawton Family
“We are so grateful for the delivery of presents by the KEYS elves tonight! The boy’s faces lit up when they arrived! With the fear of the unknown always seeming to find us, it’s so nice to know the KEYS Program can always put smiles on our boy’s faces. Thank you for always being there for us.”
~Mother of 5 year old cancer patient
Launching in 2020...
Hope's Smile Backyard Concerts
There are many pediatric cancer patients who at some stage of their treatment are not able to leave home or travel to our Smile Experience due to their condition...so in 2020, we will bring Hope's Smile to their backyard!
Created in memory of 2013 KEYS Kids Ambassador, Hope Inslee, we will provide a cookout and backyard concert for KEYS kids, their families and close friends, in the comfort of their own backyard.
BONUS: The concert will be broadcast on our KEYS Kids Network for pediatric patients near and far to enjoy too!
“You just gotta dance around and sing out loud. You gotta keep that smile on your face and know that I will always be there. Every story you tell, I will be listening. Every song you sing, I'll be there to sing the melody. Everything you do, I am right by your side. I'll be there to brighten your day."
Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve Weekend
Winter and flu season can be a very lonely and isolating time for our KEYS kids due to their compromised immunity. Because of that, each February we wear our hearts on our sleeves for our KEYS kids to let our KEYS kids know they aren’t alone, they are loved and we are thinking about them.
Each sticker is just $2.50 and has room for you to write in the name of a friend or loved one that you want to honor!
Be sure to wear them on your sleeve during the weekend of February 28th through March 1st in honor of the amazing little superheroes we serve and the person you choose to honor or remember. ♥
We ask everyone to send us a photo of themselves (or their group) wearing their hearts on their sleeves! We post the photos on our website and social media so our KEYS kids far and wide can see the photos and know we all are thinking of them.
Hospital Music Outreach
KEYS Kids Network & Music Toolkits
Because some of the pediatric patients we serve are unable to have visitors due to their condition…we bring music to the bedside of patients via our KEYS Kids Network!
Geared for pediatric patients, our KEYS Kids Network is made up of music videos, entertainment and fun! The KEYS Kids Network provides a positive, supportive family environment that brings music, hope and joy directly to their bedside, helping them to feel less lonely, less fearful and less isolated.
The KEYS Kids Network is broadcast to pediatric patients at home, in hospice care and children’s hospitals.
In 2017, in partnership with the Tony Stewart Foundation and the American Legion Child Welfare Foundation, the KEYS Program developed and published a Music Toolkit with information on the benefits of music, along with songs and activities so parents can implement music in the care of their child.
KEYS currently has toolkits in the libraries of over 250 children's hospitals and sites across the US.
To request a free toolkit for your site* contact us at 315-363-6446 or email@example.com!
*Available while supplies last
Music Therapy & Lessons for the Community
In addition to our free music therapy program, we offer music therapy and music lessons to children and adults of all ages, needs and abilities in Oneida and Madison counties.
We also provide music therapy services for nursing homes, special needs sites, adult cancer patients and for children on the autism spectrum too!
Services are provided for an affordable fee for service that benefits our outreach programs for kids battling cancer.
Your 1st session is FREE! Individual rates are $40 for a 30 min session/lesson in your home, and includes: 1:1 music session, travel to your home & documentation of each session.
Each site is different, so we customize our services to meet your needs. Discounts and matching grants available for qualifying groups. Contact us for group rates and availability 315-363-6446.
"WOW! Our daughter loved her first music therapy session today! She has been singing and smiling all afternoon! It is so wonderful to see her so happy! We wish you could come every day!"