I received my Music Therapy degree from Shenandoah Conservatory and am certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists. I specialize in behavior modification and developmental disabilities and work as the Program Director of Music for The Foundation Schools in Montgomery County.
What is Music Therapy?
The American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) defines Music Therapy as ” the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program” (AMTA, 2014). Music Therapy is a growing field, becoming exponentially more present and appreciated among interdisciplinary approaches in the clinical world. We serve a variety of populations– including medical patients, people with Alzheimer’s disease, children and adults with learning and developmental disabilities, people with mental health and emotional disabilities, and those who are in hospice care– often specializing in a particular field.
What are the Benefits of Music Therapy?
Much of the foundation of the efficacy of Music Therapy lies in our affective responses to music and how those responses stimulate the interconnections among various regions within the brain. Because of the multi-faceted neurological impacts of music, Music Therapy can offer a wide range of benefits, depending on the needs of the individual.
The pattern-based, structural characteristics of music– from the very basic vibrations of a single tone to the complex architecture of rhythm, melody, and harmony within a piece of music– can be effectively applied to improve, restore, maintain, redirect, or even prevent an individual’s presenting condition. We can engage in music by listening, playing, singing, and/or moving to affect these outcomes. By singing preferred music with a person struggling with speech due to developmental impairment or a traumatic brain injury, music therapy can improve vocabulary and word retrieval. With a steady beat, individuals at risk for falling or recovering from a physical injury can improve their gait and other gross motor movements. With repetition in a context of appealing musical styles, instructors can create a predictable framework in which to reinforce pre-academic and academic content. There are a myriad of possibilities in which music can be individualized and structured to meet the needs of many people.
What is Your Philosophy?
Working in the world of behavior modification, I base my approaches on the premise that to facilitate desirable outcomes, the music employed should be appealing, predictable, and accessible. Using music that is preferred makes the therapeutic experience approachable and increases the likelihood of compliance and the opportunity to establish rapport. The predictability factor enables the client to successfully self-regulate and engage with the musical process. Accessibility is what allows us to be not only hearers, but also “doers” of the music. When there is opportunity to participate in the musical experience in meaningful ways, this helps to create the experience of self-actualization, which can improve presenting behaviors as a result.
Whether with an individual or with a group, I believe in building a cooperative music making experience that allows a trusting relationship to foster the growth and development of those I work with.
For more information on Music Therapy, please visit the site for AMTA at www.musictherapy.org