Tuning Into Music’s Healing Power

Gregg and Laura Perloff know the immense power of music. That’s not just because Gregg is CEO of Another Planet Entertainment, which produces major concerts like the annual Outside Lands festival in Golden Gate Park.

They also have a more personal connection: Music helped the Perloffs’ son, Spenser, recover after he suffered a stroke at age 13. Rushed to UCSF Benioff Oakland, Spenser underwent surgery within hours. Listening to music motivated him during the months of recovery that followed.

“Will the memory they take home be of a terrible situation, or will it be of the day they wrote a song and made their mother smile? Our contributions can make that difference.” – Laura Perloff

“Music comforted and energized him,” Laura recalls. “It would get him on that treadmill.”

The hospital didn’t have a music therapy program at the time, so the Perloffs helped establish one. Celebrating its 10th anniversary this year, the Jared Kurtin Music Therapy program, named in memory of a patient, was the first of its kind in the Bay Area. Oakland therapists currently offer almost 1,300 sessions each year, and the therapy program also thrives on our San Francisco campus.

It’s proven tremendously effective. Music therapy helps manage pain, lowers rates of depression, and calms patients in distress. Music can bridge language and cultural barriers, and it creates a sense of normalcy in the often-intimidating hospital environment.

“The music therapists are absolutely incredible,” Laura says. “They are so sensitive to what a child needs and knowing how they can help. They are my heroes.”

The program is supported entirely by generous donors like the Perloffs, who recently made a significant new investment in the program: a matching gift of $1 million. That means all gifts will be doubled, and more kids can benefit from the life-changing therapy.

“These kids are in the hospital just trying to be strong,” Laura says. “Will the memory they take home be of a terrible situation, or will it be of the day they wrote a song and made their mother smile? Our contributions can make that difference.”

To learn more, visit crowdfund.ucsf.edu/perloffmusictherapy