FAQs

FAQs

Volunteering

What is a Volunteer Guide?

The Musicians On Call’s Volunteer Guide escorts Volunteer Musicians from room-to-room during MOC’s Bedside Performance Programs within hospitals or healthcare facilities. Volunteer Guides ask patients if they feel like hearing a song and introduce the musicians prior to their performances at patients’ bedsides and, occasionally, in common areas (e.g., playrooms, dining rooms, etc.). You do not need to be musically inclined or a performer to be a Volunteer Guide, you just need to have a passion for music as part of the healing process.

The Volunteer Guide is the “eyes and ears” of MOC during the Bedside Performance Program as well as the liaison between the hospital and the Volunteer Musician. But most importantly, Volunteer Guides know the protocols, policies and expectations of the hospitals or healthcare facilities in which they volunteer and are responsible for making sure these guidelines are upheld during the program. Volunteer Guides are critical to the success of the program. Each Volunteer Guide is assigned to a specific hospital or healthcare facility. MOC provides on-site training to help the Volunteer Guides gain a level of comfort as they interact with the musicians, caregivers, patients, and their family and friends.

What is a Volunteer Musician?

Musicians On Call’s Volunteer Musicians deliver the healing power of music by going bed-to-bed to perform acoustically for patients, their families and staff during MOC’s Bedside Performance Program. Musicians On Call serves patients from a wide demographic including infants to the elderly affected by conditions that keep them hospitalized overnight, or alternatively, hospice or long-term care. Volunteer Musicians are never alone and are always accompanied by a trained MOC Volunteer Guide who is familiar with each hospital’s protocols and procedures. While nearly all performances are in patients’ rooms, occasionally a musician may play for small groups (in the lobby, dining room, etc.).

What do I have to do to become a volunteer with Musicians On Call?

TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER GUIDE:

  1. Complete a volunteer application
  2. Complete a phone interview with MOC staff
  3. Review MOC’s Handbook and Orientation
  4. Take MOC’s Volunteer Quiz
  5. Sign MOC’s Volunteer Agreement
  6. Submit a copy of a government issued photo ID
  7. Complete your assigned hospital’s onboarding – varies by hospital but often includes background check, in person orientation, a series of quizzes, medical clearances and vaccinations etc.
  8. Complete two program shadows with an experienced volunteer guide

TO BECOME A VOLUNTEER MUSICIAN:

  1. Complete a volunteer application
  2. Complete a phone interview with MOC staff
  3. Review MOC’s Handbook and Orientation
  4. Take MOC’s Volunteer Quiz
  5. Sign MOC’s Volunteer Agreement
  6. Submit a copy of a government issued photo ID
  7. Complete a background check
  8. Either shadow a program or complete your first shift at an adult facility

Why do I need to do complete volunteer training?

We want to keep our volunteers up-to-date on all hospital protocols, procedures and HIPAA laws that affect patient privacy. These procedures can change from year to year with new technology, research and other safety issues that come up in the healthcare industry. We want to ensure that MOC’s volunteers are educated on all of these topics to provide the best service to the patients we serve. Additionally, we have increased the breadth of MOC’s volunteer training in order to make sure our volunteers are better prepared for any situation that could arise in a hospital environment, and to ensure we are doing everything in our power to maintain patient safety.

Why does MOC conduct background checks?

MOC wants to make sure the patients, families and caregivers, as well as fellow volunteers, are safe. As a trusted partner of the hospitals we visit, MOC is responsible for every person we send into the hospital. MOC conducts background checks through a trusted third party service, Verified Volunteers.

How do I know that this background check process is safe?

Verified Volunteers takes significant measures to ensure the security and confidentiality of all sensitive data. From encrypted databases and communication links, to ongoing security monitoring and assessments, Verified Volunteers uses all available means to safely store, transmit and process information. A layered security strategy that includes technical, procedural and quality controls ensures that all data is handled with the utmost concern for safety and privacy. Check out their complete privacy policy here.

How do I know if I passed the quiz?

To make sure each volunteer is equipped with the knowledge they need, volunteers will be able to answer questions until the correct one is selected. If you do not answer the question correctly, you are unable to move onto the next question until you do so. Once you have completed the quiz you will receive an automated email with next steps. If you do not receive the automated email, you have not completed the quiz.

Can I play my original music in the hospital?

In order to maintain the highest level of quality control in our programs, we have created an extensive Approved Song List of Covers for our volunteers to choose from. This list covers a wide range of genres and musical eras and we feel that everyone should be able to find songs from the list that fit their performance style and taste. We’ve found that patients best respond to music that is familiar to them. If you would like to play material not currently on the approved song list, you may submit the song and lyrics to your local MOC representative for approval.

What is the volunteer time commitment?

We ask our volunteers to participate once a month for at least a year. There is an extensive amount of training that goes into becoming a MOC volunteer and we want to be sure that our programming has consistency and our volunteers are committed for an extended period of time.

How long is each program?

Each program lasts around 90 minutes but we ask our volunteers to block two hours on their schedule for set-up and if there is an abundance of interest in the visit.

Do you have any age restrictions?

Volunteer Guides and Musicians must be at least 18 years old. There are some hospitals that allows musicians to be 16 and older but these vary by city.

Can I come with a parental guardian?

Everyone who attends a Musicians On Call shift must be pre-approved to attend and have completed MOC’s volunteer training. Your guest is more than welcome to wait for you in the hospital lobby but we’re unable to allow them to visit on the units with you.

Where do you have volunteer opportunities?

You can view our active cities here.

I don’t accompany myself, can I still volunteer?

We ask that all volunteer musicians play or be accompanied by a melodic instrument of some kind. The instrument should be acoustic and portable (i.e. guitar, keyboard, ukulele, violin, etc.)

Alternatively, you may volunteer with an accompanist who is also required to complete Musicians On Call’s volunteer training. You are responsible for securing your own accompanist.

Is parking reimbursed?

Most of our hospital partners cover parking but if there are required expenses that you are unable to pay, Musicians On Call does offer a Hardship Reimbursement for up to $10 per program, per month OR up to $25 for a flu shot or TB skin test. Receipts are required.

What kind of medical clearances are needed?

Most hospitals require similar medical clearances however, they do vary slightly. Typical vaccination records that might be required are MMR, TDAP, Hepatitis B and a seasonal flu shot for volunteer guides. Volunteer musicians are strongly encouraged to obtain a seasonal flu shot.

How long does the training process take?

MOC’s training process could take as little as one day if you have the time to complete the few steps! Volunteer Musicians are able to start volunteering shortly after they’ve completed MOC’s training. Volunteer Guides are required to complete the hospital’s volunteer training process as well which can sometimes be a little lengthy. Each facility has their own training but on average could take anywhere from one month to three months. It’s helpful to be diligent and patient in completing the steps and your MOC contact will help you through the process as well!

When do the programs take place?

Most of MOC’s Bedside Performance Programs take place around 5:30pm Monday-Thursday. There are a few daytime programs scattered throughout the country but typically early evening has been found to be best for the patients.

Is everyone that applies accepted to volunteer?

Our Bedside Performance Program takes place in a sensitive hospital environment and with that in mind, a panel of Musicians On Call staff carefully screens and reviews each volunteer application. There are many factors that are reviewed to determine the suitability and not all volunteer applications are accepted.

Can I volunteer on a seasonal basis?

Volunteers are required to participate once a month for at least a year. We aim to have consistent and reliable volunteers to help provide a regular schedule for the patients we serve. If you alternate seasonally between two MOC cities, you’re welcome to volunteer at both. We do not allow semester or summer volunteers.

Expansion

What is an Expansion Champion?

A Champion is a dedicated MOC supporter who is interested in being hands on in bringing MOC to a new market, or supporting MOC in a current market. Champions leverage their personal and professional connections to help MOC build a foundation of supporters in their community.

Where are you located?

We have over 64 hospital partners in 17 major markets across the country including New York, Miami, Nashville, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Denver, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Las Vegas, Memphis, San Francisco, New Orleans, Phoenix and Dallas. A full list of our hospital partners can be found here.

How do you decide where to start a program?

Through strategic planning, Musicians On Call identifies expansion targets. We select markets as our as priorities based on factors like population size, healthcare presence, rapid growth and vibrant music community and because we already have some baseline of support.

While we don’t have the resources to bring MOC everywhere just yet, we do have a strategic expansion plan and we are working diligently to continue to expand our current programming and to develop new technology and opportunities to further our reach. Knowing where we have champions on the ground is helpful when planning for future expansion.

Not ready to become a MOC champion? Here are other ways to help

  • Sign up to volunteer with MOC in our current cities here.
  • Simply interested in keeping up with our expansion updates? Join the mailing list at the form in the blue footer.
  • Click here to donate to support current programs and future expansion.

Have another question? We’d love to hear from you!

Musicians On Call (MOC) was founded in 1999 with the mission of bringing live and recorded music to the bedsides of patients in healthcare facilities ranging from children’s hospitals to adult facilities, VA hospitals and hospices. MOC currently brings the healing power of music to patients in 20 cities including New York, Miami, Nashville, Dallas, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Denver, Washington D.C., Baltimore, Denver, San Francisco and Atlanta. To date, its volunteers have played for half a million people across the country. By delivering live, in-room performances to patients undergoing treatment or unable to leave their beds, they add a dose of joy to life in a healthcare facility. MOC supporters over the years include Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Clarkson, Lady Antebellum, Gavin DeGraw, Darius Rucker, Pharrell, Reba, Amos Lee, Nick Jonas, Rachel Platten and many more.