Louisville therapist reveals the power of the beat through music
Author: Brooke Hasch
Published: 10:46 AM EST November 14, 2017
Updated: 10:46 AM EST November 14, 2017
LOCAL 0 Articles

It's a simple beat with a powerful message for critically ill patients and it's being heard across the globe.

Brian Schreck is a music therapist at Norton Cancer Institute, easing the pain for so many with a life-altering diagnosis.

Schreck records the heartbeats of his patients and creates a magical rhythm, one that brings life back into the sterile and often times lonely environment for people facing the end of life.

His work has gained the attention of filmmakers from New York, Substratum Films, currently in the process of the documentary, The Beat of the Heart. It focuses on Schreck's work and the personal connections he makes with each of his patients. Angela Woodward is one of them.

"How hard it is to leave somebody, but I don't have any choice. So we're doing things that make us happy because you need to live until you die," Woodward said, in the documentary.

"I want this to feel like a piece that's as original as they are sometimes," Schreck said.

He makes the patient the center of the experience.

"This is a patient who played the violin in the Louisville Youth Orchestra, but she could no longer play, so I wanted it to be apart of this," Schreck said, as he listened to her heartbeat song, which included sounds of the violin.

It's the soundtrack of her life and like dozens of others in Louisville, one that lives on for families even after their death.

"It is still something we can offer when there's nothing else to offer," Schreck said.

"It's the song we played when we carried mom out from the church, his heartbeat song," Tammy Heppner and Troy Hampton said.

Schreck's worked with terminally ill patients for years, but only recently began incorporating the heartbeat into his therapy sessions.

"A lot of this recording is targeting their worry, that fear of, not being forgotten exactly, but the feeling of being here longer. Everyone does. If this can ease that a bit, I'm doing okay," Schreck said.

"I first came here and I just sat here thinking, I'm just going to sit in this damn bed with this stuff dripping in my arm, just waiting. I didn't think about it and you started playing and I started crying. I said, man, that's what's happened. I've forgotten my love for music," Gary Johnson, a patient in the documentary said.

It's an identity often lost during some of our most difficult times found in the beat of our heart.

"We could really change what dying looks like. It can be out of the hospital. What a funeral looks like. I do believe I want to impact that in a real way,"
Schreck said.

The Beat of the Heart documentary is ongoing and can use all the support it gets. If you'd like to donate or invest in the production, you can email the team at: film@thebeatoftheheartmovie.com.

Watch the teaser to The Beat of the Heart here

For more information click here