the Vigil

The focus of the music vigil is toward alleviating the physical, emotional, and spiritual pain of those nearing the end of life, and also supporting the process of “letting go.” The music creates a bridge that transcends cultural and religious backgrounds. A vigil is not a performance and most of the music played is not familiar. The music-thanatologist uses musical elements in a prescriptive way, aiding and accompanying the patient’s journey.

Vigils average 45 minutes in length and are uniquely delivered to assist individual patients in their process toward transition. The musical prescriptions are different for each vigil, adjusting to the nuances of vital signs and the immediate needs of the patient.

During a vigil, the music-thanatologist is sensitive to changing physiological, emotional, and spiritual needs of the patient and responds musically moment by moment. We begin the vigil in silence, then gently introduce music that is in relationship with the patient’s breathing. This alignment of tempos helps the patient establish trust and confidence in the music and lays the foundation for shaping what follows. The patient need not respond verbally during the vigil, but may simply receive.

Common responses to the music include:

  • Reduced anxiety
  • Decreased pain
  • Deeper rest
  • Lessened fear

  • Prescriptive music can also facilitate:

  • A calming atmosphere
  • A sense of peace
  • Space for experiencing beauty, reverence, and dignity
  • Interior reflection and processing of grief and other emotions

  • The music vigil offers meaningful and loving support to the patient and family when medical intervention is no longer helpful.

    Cost of a Vigil

    SacredFlight does not charge a fee to the individuals and families requesting our services. One of the tenets of music-thanatology is that our service be available to everyone, regardless of their ability to pay.

    Our cost to provide a vigil is $175.

    If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation, click here.