Ep. 168: Heartbeat Music: Crafting Forever Songs of Connection; with Brian Schreck, MA, MT-BC

How to make a heartbeat song

Photo by DESIGNECOLOGIST on Unsplash

Brian Schreck has called the human heartbeat “the most basic, beautiful metronome. It is such a powerful, audible representation of life and of the human experience.” Discover how Brian incorporates this “beautiful metronome” into individualized legacy songs that connect the internal world with the external world, offer solace and expression for patients (even those who are nonverbal or in challenging medical situations), and support grieving loved ones. Brian’s work shines a light on the enduring power of love through music. In our conversation, he explains the process of recording heartbeats, transforming them into musical projects, and the meaningful impact it has on patients and their families.


My guest today is music therapist Brian Schreck, and he has incorporated this beautiful metronome into his palliative care practice to create innovative and individualized heartbeat music recordings and projects. Brian is a board certified music therapist who has been professionally serving people with a wide range of medical illnesses for almost 20 years. Brian has music therapy degrees from Berklee College of Music and New York University. He has been a therapist in Manhattan, Cincinnati, and is now at the Norton Cancer Institute in Louisville, KY.


We discuss:

  • Brian’s work with heartbeat music, music that incorporates the recording of an individual’s heartbeat.
  • The process of capturing and transforming the heartbeat sounds into a musical project.
  • What parties may be involved in this process.
  • How this music therapy intervention uniquely support patients and their loved ones, and addresses their emotional and social needs related to coping skills, anticipatory grief, and pre/post loss and bereavement.
  • The meaning these songs have provided to various patients and their loved ones.
  • The best time to begin a heartbeat song project.
  • Where to access instructions on to make your own heartbeat song.
  • The resulting songs are as individualistic as the patients and families Brian serves, and the outcome is a preservation of the patient’s legacy in the form of music.
  • Brian uses the creation of the song to “preserve the humanity in the situation” and “integrate hope into every day.”

Connect/Other Resources

  • Brian’s website: Amplified Cardiopulmonary Recordings: Amplified Connection, Amplified Healing,  Amplified Love
  • Brian recently helped create a video which explains this heartbeat music therapy and how it has helped one family. You can hear the songs the patient’s father and younger brother chose together, and how the patient’s heartbeat and their love will never stop:

Other episodes we mentioned or that you may enjoy:

In-Episode Promo

This is a quick break to tell you about Sonix, the service that I use to transcribe these episodes. Sonix is an artificial intelligence transcription service that automatically converts audio and video files to text – and can translate to over 40 languages. I transcribe these episodes to make them more accessible. I tried multiple services, and chose to stick with Sonix because of their accuracy, affordability, and because their site is just so easy to use; that’s a big plus for me, to not need to spend a bunch of time figuring out one more platform! While I love podcasts, I do tend to be a very visual learner. I figure other people probably are, too; and having that written form of your work just makes it more versatile. Sonix transcripts make the most of your hard work and can increase traffic to your site. Sonix is spelled s-o-n-i-x. You can check them out with a free trial PLUS an extra 100 minutes of free transcription by using the link sonix.ai/invite/enhancelife100. There’s a link in the show notes. Again, it’s sonix.ai/invite/enhancelife100 for a free trial AND an extra 100 minutes of free transcription.


With the permission and blessing of a patient, Brian shares one family’s touching story of their heartbeat song, as well as the song itself.

Here is the original song:

Closing Words

Thank you so much to Brian and his patient’s family for sharing that powerful story and song with us, and to Brian for all he does to enhance lives with music!

All Enhance Life with Music episodes are evergreen; so check out the back catalogue for more ways that music can make your life better.

You can always connect with me on email (mindy@mpetersonmusic.com), Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, or LinkedIn.

Thank you so much for joining me today. Until next time, may your life be enhanced with music.

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