12-Year-Old Plays Classical Music to Babies in the NICU Where She Once Stayed

Isabella Ciriello was born 16 weeks premature and says classical music in her early days helped her thrive.

This preteen is giving back to her local NICU by playing classical music for the youngest newborns at New York Presbyterian Komansky Children’s Hospital.

In fact, just 12 short years ago, Isabella Ciriello was one of them.

“I actually was a patient in the NICU,” Isabella said in a statement to the hospital. “I’ve seen some pictures of myself when I was a preemie and it’s hard to believe that I was ever that small and fragile.”

After she was born 16 weeks premature, Isabella spent 12 weeks in the NICU, and partway through her stay, Dr. Jeffrey Perlman suggested her parents play her Mozart’s songs.

Perlman explained he’s seen classical music sooth premature babies while they eat, sleep and grow.

“I definitely think hearing music in the NICU sparked my interest in music,” Isabella said.

The seventh-grader now plays guitar, piano and drum, and volunteered to play to other NICU patients during a recent visit with Perlman.

“It’s like coming full circle and it allows us all to enjoy her memory,” he said.