Music Therapy Services in Schools

Returning to Services

Typically, September brings with it a flurry of work as we shore up new school contracts for service, reestablish ourselves in classrooms and get into the “back-to-school” groove. Just like so many in the community, this fall has looked a lot different for us. With just 15 school districts planning to fully reopen in mid-September, we already knew that our role in providing services to groups in schools or to children receiving services through their IEP’s would be different.  

This was further confirmed when the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) released their guidance around singing in classes. Though there is still debate over this topic, DESE has taken the position that singing increases viral spread and cannot be done indoors. While our music therapists have been conducting sessions remotely with great success, we have been thinking through the many ways we can still deliver in person services while using music safely.  

Getting Creative

Some of the ways in which our team can use music therapeutically without singing or having students sing are: 

  • Drumming and instrument play: by having clients play instruments and facilitating interventions that allow for leadership and turn taking, we can help students work towards goals 
  • Pre-recorded music: using recorded music allows music therapists and clients to experience the benefit of pre-composed songs while adhering to DESE guidelines 
  • Non-singing interventions: song writing can help students and groups express feelings and create community while working on communication and verbal skills 

The last six months have taught many of us that adaptation and creativity is necessary. There are still people who need services, despite the limitations on what we can do. Roman Music Therapy Services is ready to meet the challenges of this fall and serve our clients to meet their goals!  

If you have a child or work in a school district and are interested in learning more about how music therapy can help, please contact us today. 




Virtual Karaoke This Friday

Dancing Queens and Kings of Rock Needed!

Join us this Friday for another Virtual Karaoke Party hosted by our music therapists on Zoom. The music begins at 6:30PM. Our team has a night full of fun, song and dance planned to help everyone get into a weekend groove! Sign up on our website to receive all of the Zoom sign in info.


Get Your Props Ready For Group Songs

  • Dancing Queen – find something that makes you feel like royalty! Let’s see those dancing Kings and Queens
  • Call Me Maybe – Be ready to answer that banana phone, or cell, or whatever you have to make a call… maybe!
  • Can’t Stop that Feeling – Jump into the feeling of fall by putting on your coziest sweater, scarf, or whatever get’s you in the mood for a fall dance party


July PALS Honorees

We are pleased to honor the recipients of our July PALS recognition program. PALS (Partners, Advocates, Leaders, Supporters) was conceived as a way for our team at Roman Music Therapy Services to recognize the constituents, stakeholders, family members and community members who help us do our job every day. The populations with which we work often rely on the passion and advocacy of others, who go above and beyond in the fight to provide service and access to undeserved and vulnerable populations.

Howard Fineman, a SCORE Certified Business Mentor with the SCORE Association, was nominated by two of our team members, Michelle Dumas and Meredith Pizzi. They both highlighted his constant and invaluable mentorship. Howard is always available to offer support, to answer questions or to provide resources. While he began as Meredith’s mentor, the entire administrative team has felt the benefits of Howard’s expertise and support, especially during COVID-19.

Emily Lane, a Program Director at Neville Place, was nominated by Callie Hensler. Emily has been an invaluable ally during the transition to virtual sessions. Her proactive approach to keeping music therapy going for the memory care units, as well as her willingness to help during sessions are just a few reasons we are recognizing Emily this month!

Kathleen Sharp is a caregiver advocate nominated by Emily Hawley. Whether it is getting instruments or pushing for funding or joining in on the music making, Kathleen’s dedication elevates and enriches the work that we do.

Katherine Powell of Career Resources Corporation was nominated by AJ Gaudreau, and our final July PALS award recipient. Katherine’s constant communication amidst transitioning to virtual sessions, her initiative in helping residents make their own instruments, and her innovation at integrating more music into CRC’s programming are reasons why she has been recognized this month.

To all of our PALS recipients, thank you for the work you do and the difference you make!

Approved Resources

The Search for Safe Content


It’s no doubt that the internet and digital technology have been utilized now more than ever as we all do more from home. Whether you are looking for entertainment, educational programs or skill development, a Google search or Facebook scan could send you down a rabbit hole of virtual offerings. Not to mention that vetting the long list of results takes up more time than any of us has right now.

Our music therapists have done the curating for you!

They have taken the various Aps and websites they already use with clients and searched out more relevant resources for our clients and constituents. These sheets are great resources for families, individuals and caretakers to reference when they are looking for safe and stimulating recreational and educational opportunities online. Many of the resources are free.

Our Approved Resource Sheets are broken out into age appropriate groups and by categories such as music, movement, connection, education, etc.

Here’s a sample of some of the suggestions you might find in these resources:






These resources will be available to anyone who signs up to receive our e-Newsletter. Sign up today!

Safe, Simple, Social and Sentimental

Magical Musical Moments for Seniors

Summer is settling in and many of us are ready to find ways to introduce normalcy back into our lives. Whether it is gathering outside safely with our friends or family, or visiting a favorite beach or park, we are taking small steps toward meeting each other again. Nice weather and the ability to socialize provide so many mental health benefits for those lucky enough to come out of the isolation COVID-19 has imposed on our country and the world. Finally, this harsh winter is starting to thaw!

Unfortunately, those communities that remain vulnerable to the devastating effects of COVID-19 must remain diligent in their protection from infection.  This means that many of us are missing the most treasured members of our family: our parents, grandparents, older aunts and uncles. If a loved one is in a care facility, those responsible for their safety continue to operate under tight restrictions, making even a visit almost impossible. Continued isolation and loneliness can lead to cognitive decline. For those of us who have older adults in our lives, choosing between what is best for them physically over what might be best for them mentally is hard and heartbreaking.

No matter what your age is, the need for human connections remains strong. Despite all of the barriers, we have been exploring ways to bring families and loved ones together through the sharing of music, memories and joy. Our virtual services can create a safe entrance into the rooms of our loved ones during these challenging times.

                Opening doors to new possibilities and potential, through active and engaged music making experiences.


Benefits of Online Music Experiences

Making and actively listening to music can break up a quiet day for older adults living at home or in an assisted living facility. These activities can also have very real mental and physical health benefits:

  • Reduces stress and anxiety
  • Promotes memory recall
  • Decreases pain and discomfort
  • Elevates mood and emotional state
  • Increases creativity and self-expression

How Could I Be Involved

While making or listening to music alone also has benefits, the difference with music therapy is the personal connections forged and strengthened in sessions. Your presence and participation in virtual sessions with your elderly loved ones could provide opportunities for:

  • Connection and socialization
  • Reminiscing about meaningful songs and life events
  • Sharing in musical experiences through singing, playing, or simply listening and relaxing
  • Life review and sharing of family values and culture

Online musical connections facilitated by a music therapist can be simple, safe, social and sentimental!

  • Simple: An individual or facility would need a video compatible device (tablet, iPad, laptop) and an internet connection while we take care of the rest
  • Safe: Tablets and computers can be easily disinfected before and after sessions, making them accessible to a number of residents in one community
  • Social: With new cases of COVID being reported each day, seniors have little opportunity to engage safely with others, even their own families
  • Sentimental: Board Certified Music Therapists are specifically trained to foster connections through the very meaningful medium of music

Are you personally frustrated with brief, restrictive, outdoor visits?

Do you know someone missing a family member or friend?

Do you work in or with facilities that could take advantage of these services?

In an effort to reach and support the community, we are now offering a complimentary consultation call with one of our music therapists to discuss how music therapy can create new possibilities for connections with loved ones.

How can we be of service to YOU and those you love, or the families you work with? Let’s connect!


Our June 2020 PALS

Partners. Advocates. Leaders. Supporters

There are times when we meet people in the community who immediately understand the impact music therapy can make. They are the parents who advocate for music therapy services on their childs IEP, program directors  who advocate fight for music therapy for their residents, and caregivers that know music makes a difference in the life of their loved one. We rely on the support of stakeholders involved, from family members to direct service staff to administrators, to do our job well. Without the efforts of these key change makers, we wouldn’t be able to have the powerful musical moments we have. That is why we are so pleased to honor some of these folks each month!

Our June PALS

KATELYNNE MACKIE , Charles River Center 

Katelynn is the Director of Family Support Services at CRC and was nominated by Maureen Young, MT-BC. Katie helped set up a weekly family group for kiddos with ASD and provided needed support when conveying the needs of enrolled families. She was also a vital collaborator on  goals/objectives. Of working with Katelynn, Maureen said, “It has been so wonderful to have her support as we all navigated starting this new group, and to know we have her support going forward as well. She is doing a wonderful job being present for families during this time and advocating for services that can benefit them”.


Aimee was nominated by Marcie Rozek-Arena, MA, MT-BC. She is a parent advocate who made it possible for 27 student music therapy sessions to occur in her child’s school district in June. It was her requests and communications with school administrators, and tenacious follow ups, that made it possible for her child to be a trial for virtual music therapy sessions. When those sessions proved to be successful, the district resumed services, virtually, with other students. Aimee’s devotion to her child, upbeat persistence, and her enthusiasm were instrumental in resuming music therapy. Her advocacy has been an example and a service to other students, parents, and families. 

 LYN ONEIL, Special Ed Director of Wakefield Public Schools

Her response to getting virtual groups going was, “Yes, anything you can do for our kids would be great!” She also connected us to the Preschool Director in town and is funding four extra groups for music therapy services. She has supported professional development trainings for her staff and has promoted our services to other districts. 

KYLIE BAKER, St. Patrick’s Manor

Kylie was nominated for her diligence with clients and caring touch. She goes the extra mile, ensuring that clients work on the physical goals we have in place for each client while we are making music with them virtually.  Jenni Chute, MT-BC, who nominated Kylie, said “She has been in contact with my client’s family, and helped take a screen shot of our session for them so they could see how much she loves the music.  There have been many helpful staff members at St. Patricks, but Kylie stands out because of her dedication through each visit”.       

The entire team at Roman Music Therapy Services would like to thank all of our June PALS recipients, not only for their dedication to their residents, families or constituents, but for all that they do to support music therapy, whether in person or virtually.

Summer Clubs for Kids

Weekly and Daily Summer Programs

We are excited to be offering Summer Clubs for Kids this July and August! Summer Clubs for Kids encompasses several different programs, depending on age level and frequency of meetings. All of our programs are virtual and many were built to foster independence in attendees, so that mom and dad at home can work while the kids make music!

If you are looking for a program that helps your child find community, create bonds with peers, foster independence and builds upon digital skills they’ve learned through remote school, then these programs are for your family.

Junior Explorer (ages 5 – 7) and Explorers (ages 8 – 10)

This week-long program will be a group theatre experience where each day has a different story for your child to tell! From a “Trip to the Beach,” to a “Voyage to Space,” Explorers will work together to create fantastic short stories using songwriting, dance, costumes, and instruments. This experience will run Monday through Thursday with two time options, 9AM – 10AM or 3PM – 4PM. The first week begins on June 29th, with additional weeks offered in July

Super Sprouts (ages 5 – 7)

This weekly class meets Wednesdays for 4 weeks and is a new addition to our Sprouting Melodies suite of early childhood classes. Whether you are a “graduate” of Sprouting Melodies, or checking it out for the first time, this class will engage your elementary schooler in a whole new way! We will continue to utilize familiar Sprouting Melodies songs and interventions while also incorporating basic music instruction. This integrated group will nurture leadership skills and support social and emotional interactions. We will spend time each week introducing adapted piano instruction to start learning the basic structures of music like rhythm, tempo, and dynamics. Children can use a keyboard or piano at home, easy to download apps on a phone or tablet, or play on a printed picture of keys to get started. 

Techies (ages 10 – 13)

Is your tween looking to perfect their musical tech game, then this is the class to sign up for! Each week we will deep dive into digital apps such as Garage Band, GrooveMaker, etc to create music with others. Use your own device to explore lots of new ways to compose, improvise, and record songs using your iPhone, iPod or iPad. Recommended apps will be shared in advance so that everyone is ready to rock! Come explore the world of digital music-making in this virtual space with us!

Music Therapy Club (ages 3 – 7 and 8 – 12)

Music Therapy Club is a unique musical place where all children can be free to create and join in music making that is specifically tailored to assure engagement, joy and success for all. The focus of this group centers on providing a supportive, facilitated atmosphere for children who need music experiences that take full advantage of individual strengths while minimizing the impact of difficulties.

Junior Explorer and Explorer Summer Series begins Monday, June 29th. Other programs begin July 11th. Register for all of our programs online!

That Post Karaoke Glow

When we plan events or programs, we always go into them hoping that the people who attend will have fun, receive some benefit and experience community. Anyone who has been to one of our live karaoke events knows they are lively! Our next karaoke was to be in May, honoring staff and caregivers, but then COVID-19 hit. Like the rest of the world, we adapted to this new normal. For us, that was transitioning to virtual music therapy sessions. As our staff and our clients grew more comfortable with the technology required, we revisited our karaoke event.

Karaoke Goes Virtual

Virtual Karaoke

Emily Hawley, Kim Schlesinger and AJ Gaudreau managed the virtual event on May 29th. Of her experience, Kim says “I was humbled to see people bravely share their favorite songs, rock out on some homemade instruments, show off their dance moves, and support one another. Throughout the evening, participants sent encouraging messages in the chat, unmuted their microphones to encourage performers, and applauded for everyone”.  At one point, 21 different accounts logged on through Zoom, participating in singing, cheering and grooving.

One attendee’s caregiver told us

The minute I mentioned Roman Music is having a Karaoke night J wanted to join in. He knew it would be on Zoom and I told him even if you wanted to just join in for an hour but he was on for the whole time and loved it. He posted pictures of himself on Facebook because he was so proud and had a great time. I’m grateful for these opportunities thru Music for J, especially at this time. It was a great night. 

Emily saw the event as a “beautiful display of community through music and shared experience”.  Thanking our caregivers remained the theme for the night and all participants joined together in creating a song to sing together. The night ended with the sharing of the completed, group song. 

June 5, 2020

The tragic murders of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and all of the egregious events of the past few weeks represent a critical culmination of centuries of injustice.

While our impulse is to act and speak out against these heinous acts and the systems which allow them to go unchecked, we recognize that it is more important to listen. The voices of those who have felt and lived the reality of racism, intolerance and inequity must be the ones we listen to as we look to help.

Seeking to uplift the work of Black, Indigenous, People of Color and white allies, and as a means of providing resources for our families and community partners, we encourage everyone to explore these resources and learn more about how we must all be a part of the movement toward an antiracist society.

We are here. We are listening.

Virtual Music Therapy FAQ’S

Have you participated in music therapy in the past but find the idea of virtual sessions intimidating? Has music therapy been suggested to you for a loved one but you aren’t sure how to navigate the virtual technology? If you said yes to either of these questions, you are not alone. Prior to the stay-at-home orders issued in  March and the closing down of in-person services, many folks had not had the opportunity to utilize web-based meeting applications like Zoom.

We are here to tell you that with a little set-up before hand, you can participate in virtual music therapy sessions too

Resources and Answers

If you have a scheduled music therapy session or just want more information, our team has compiled a robust list of frequently asked questions to help you troubleshoot. Check out our Virtual Music Therapy FAQ’s page for help on everything from what to expect to how to participate. If the answer to your question isn’t here our team is available via email and someone will get back to you as soon as possible.

If you are ready to schedule a session, contact us today!


With most events cancelled, and the ability to “go-out” to a concert, restaurant or movie suspended, it’s easy for our Friday nights to feel just like any other night of the week. After a week of working from home, homeschooling and being cooped up in your own space, it would be great to have something to look forward to at the end of the week. At Roman Music Therapy Services, we feel it too! That’s why we thought a Friday night karaoke would be the perfect way to let loose, socialize and celebrate making it through another week!

We have been hard at work in the past few weeks planning a way to open our “doors” virtually and create a gathering place for all those in our network who are missing community connections.  

Getting Ready 

On Friday, May 29th, join us in a virtual “Care”-aoke night to foster connection, share in virtual music making, and shake up the monotonous routine. In order to make this night extra special, we are inviting participants to gather a few items to help them prepare for the festivities. Our virtual karaoke party will include three themed group songs: 

  • First, we will be rocking out with the Village People to a well known classic, the YMCA. Just as the Village People donned a variety of caps and costumes in their music video, we are encouraging participants to find a silly hat to wear as we wave our arms and dance out the letters Y-M-C-A! 
  • Second, we will get those toes a-tapping with the brightest, goofiest socks you can find! “Kick off your Sunday shoes” and dance around with some silly socks as we get Footloose!
  • Last, we’ll ask participants to find anything colorful to wave in the air. Whether that be a bouquet of flowers, a colorful scarf, some old ribbons, confetti, we’ll have a rainbow of musical movement as we dance to Colors of the Wind. 

The “Care” in Care-aoke

In addition to a rocking good time, we hope to honor the caregivers whose hard work we have witnessed these past several months. The move from in-person to virtual sessions has not always been an easy one. It takes dedication, communication, and patience on the part of families, teachers, staff members, and stake holders in order to keep the music going. Beyond our sessions, caregivers across the globe are taking on roles they’ve never had before, sometimes working longer hours, sometimes learning new skills, sometimes continuing to work while staying at home and parenting 24/7. We see these efforts and it is only through this selflessness and care that many of our clients are able to create a semblance of normalcy.  Care-aoke participants will be invited to make small contributions to a group song over the course of the evening, culminating in a live performance at the very end to thank the many caregivers for their hard work.  

If you or anyone you know could use a night of music, appreciation and fun, please register to join us by filling out the form below, and follow our social media pages (Instagramfacebook) for promotions and updates about this and other events! 

Friday, May 29, 2020

6:30PM ET

via Zoom – Register below for link



Register Here for Virtual Karaoke

New PALS Program Celebrates Music Therapy Champions

Partners. Advocates. Leaders. Supporters

There are times when we meet people in the community who immediately understand the impact music therapy can make. They are the parents who advocate for music therapy services on their childs IEP, program directors  who advocate fight for music therapy for their residents, and caregivers that know music makes a difference in the life of their loved one. We rely on the support of stakeholders involved, from family members to direct service staff to administrators, to do our job well. Without the efforts of these key change makers, we wouldn’t be able to have the powerful musical moments we have. That is why we are so pleased to honor some of these folks each month!

Starting this May, our team will recognize these PALS (Partners, Advocates, Leaders, Supporters), highlighting the superstars that we work with in all sectors.

Our May PALS

Ainsley Flynn is a Residential Manager at a Bridgewell home we work with, and our music therapist Kim Schlessinger nominated her. Says Kim, Ainsley has been a phenomenal advocate for her members, from taking the time to set up virtual sessions with me to gathering instruments for the ladies to play during sessions. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her better through numerous phone calls, and it is increasingly clear just how much she cares for her members, making Walmart trips to buy craft supplies, making sure to set up whatever virtual programming she can, all while balancing her home life.”

Kesner Pierre manages a Northeast Residential Services home and was nominated by Maureen Young. According to Maureen, Kesner has gone above and beyond in previous music therapy sessions, singing and participating by playing with individuals in the group, and shows a wonderful rapport with all of the individuals. Kesner has been working hard to manage the home during the COVID crisis and is helping to make virtual music therapy services successful for the residents. I have so much appreciated him being a part of our music therapy sessions and providing a loving and positive environment for the residents to live in.”

The entire team at Roman Music Therapy Services would like to thank both Ainsley and Kesner, not only for their dedication to their residents, but for all that they do to support bringing music therapy to their residents, whether in person or virtually.

Virtual Magical Musical Moments

Rethinking Engagement

Prior to March, we hadn’t envisioned providing music therapy sessions to our clients in a virtual capacity, but as the world rapidly changed, it became clear this was the direction we would need to go if we hoped to maintain connections with our clients. Aside from technology and logistic questions, our largest concern centered around service delivery, and how we would be able to interact with our clients through a device. What would engagement look like? How could we restructure goals to fit new needs? Would the use of an iPad or computer be too distracting for our clients? While we tried to brainstorm solutions to these questions and more, we knew we would just need to dive in and get virtual sessions going and work out the kinks as we went along.

We had to let music chart the course.

Almost two months into this new way of providing services, it is amazing how our clients and stakeholders have adapted. So many of our clients and families have embraced changing the way we conduct sessions, with lots of “magical musical moments” happening.

Rethinking Success

Kim Schlesinger, our intern who graduated in February and officially started her music therapy career amidst a pandemic, has had some amazing sessions with her clients. With one client in particular, she has seen increasing engagement as this person becomes more accustomed to seeing Kim on her computer screen. At the second session, Kim says that this client “called me by name and asked how I was doing, before making multiple song requests”.

The surprises kept coming throughout the session. “I began to strum an introduction and she immediately began to sing the first verse” Kim recounts. “I was floored by her ability to hold the tune, remember all of the lyrics, and sing to my guitar accompaniment as it came out of her speaker while I played from miles away in Illinois. This feat is even more impressive when you understand that she rarely sings independently, sometimes filling in lyrics I leave out or usually just singing along as I vocally lead.”

Our Lead Music Therapist, Maureen Young, had a sweet experience with respite yesterday during a virtual session with a 95-year old client. “I was completely unsure of how she would respond to the technology and if she would remember me” Maureen said. “However, it was truly touching to see her interacting as her usual self, with all the funny jokes, smiles, and sweet questions she asks. I’m sure that for the nursing staff at these facilities, being able to step away for a moment of respite, or to attend to others in need, is truly priceless. For this client, being able to connect with a familiar face, at a time when there is limited ability to connect with others, and she may be disoriented to time and place, is another example of respite.” Maureen also experienced respite for herself, interacting with her client and seeing her respond so well to the music.

While we never envisioned providing services virtually, our clients, stakeholders and families have been so receptive and resilient, it has made the transition that much more successful! We can’t wait to continue to make music with all of you!

Unexpected Musical Magical Moments of Virtual Sprouting Melodies

While this is not the Sprouting Melodies experience that we all expected at the beginning of the session, we have seen so many different benefits that we didn’t even consider would come out of this. I wanted to give you an idea of what we’ve been noticing from our perspective.  

Extending the Family Bonds
We have seen so many new faces that go beyond your children! It has been such a joy seeing siblings, spouses, grandparents, and nannies that we haven’t met engage with the kiddos during the session. Especially with more people working from home, it’s been great to have working parents stop in, even for a few minutes to get setup and going!  One of the main goals we have for our Sprouting Melodies program is to create bonding opportunities and it’s been so special seeing that reach beyond the studio and into your homes.  

Creativity and Flexibility
Another great thing that we’ve been seeing is the creativity you all have! This new way of experiencing Sprouting Melodies has made everyone put their creative minds to work to find household items that can work as shakers, scarves, and drums. We’re really impressed with all the out-of-the-box thinking that’s going on, and our team is challenging ourselves to stay open to the new ideas this format allows for! Eliza shared the idea of using the screen to “disappear” and go out of view, and I tried this in our Friday class. It was so much fun and the kids thought it was so silly! There are so many benefits that can be derived from the flexibility we’ve had all to harness. While it’s under uncertain circumstances, this has been a great time to learn ways to apply the different ways to engage that you and your little ones are familiar with.  

Bringing the Outside World to You
This virtual format for Sprouting Melodies is our way of offering you and your kiddo a connection to the outside world. It’s so easy to feel isolated both physically and socially, but those 45 minutes are a chance to feel a semblance of normalcy and connect with friends who you wouldn’t get the opportunity to connect with otherwise. Our goal is to provide respite for you, whether that means looking forward to joining with your child in making music instead of worrying about house chores or the Coronavirus, or time that you can just let your guard down for a few minutes without worrying about what trouble your toddler might get into! 

Creating Routines
We can all build off this experience and use music as a tool to establish a new routine and sense of normalcy. Try things like singing songs that you know during transitions during the day or take some time to sing a familiar Sprouting Melodies song and really connect with each other. You could even try writing a song to help complete a task or do school work! 

Seeing Things Through Your Child’s Eyes
This is my geek-moment here! I have been leading Sprouting Melodies classes since the day I started the program in 2009, and I have always wished that parents would be able to see the facial expressions that I see when your babies are sitting on your laps and looking at me. Last week in our Sprouting Melodies classes for our littlest ones, I realized that parents with their babies on their lap can see the image on the screen of the baby responding to the music! When I pause or anticipate a musical phrase, or when a baby gets the musical joke for the first time, their expressions are truly delightful, and I’ve always wished that parents could see it too! Now you can! 

Want to try a class? We’d love to have you come see what it’s like for yourself!

Demo a Virtual Sprouting Melodies Class

Delivering Music Therapy During COVID-19

A Secondary Epidemic

We are all connected in our shared experience right now: changing routines, isolating from friends and extended family, working from home and caring for children out of school. Many are anxious about the stability of their jobs, the hemorrhaging of their retirement funds, the health of older parents and the effects of all of this disruption on their young children. As uncertain and disjointed our lives are right now, the upheaval of normal routines is being felt even more acutely by some of the more vulnerable members of our communities.

Seniors, already susceptible to loneliness, are not allowed visitors in their nursing homes, and many facilities have discontinued gathering together in common areas. Isolated in their rooms, these folks are now without the emotional support of their larger community or the comfort of their routine activities.

Similarly, adults and children with disabilities have also seen a disruption to their daily lives, and the support they receive, as day programs suspend services, schools close, jobs are paused and socialization programs are discontinued. As jarring as all of these changes are to the rest of the community, it is multiplied for individuals with special needs, and the families trying to support them.

During this time, physical distancing does not have to mean social distancing. While it is important to create physical space between all of us to stop the spread of COVID-19, we need to maintain social connections however we can. Music can help facilitate and build upon those connections and provide a way to strengthen bonds even during this time of physical distancing.

What a Difference a Week Makes

Last Monday, the management team at Roman Music Therapy Services met in the office for what would be the last time, face to face, for the foreseeable future. By that time, many schools in Massachusetts had already made the decision to close for two weeks, some for more. Many of our senior clients in nursing homes were not allowed any outside visitors and we had made the decision to conduct our Sprouting Melodies early education music programs remotely. At this time last week, things looked a little scary in the short-term, as they probably did for many of you.

As a team, we spent much of the time collaborating and still engaging in the music whenever we could, and strategizing how Roman Music Therapy Services could truly be of service to our clients and the larger community. Virtual music therapy was not something we had done before, but we realized that it was the perfect way for us to provide our clients with the reassurance of a familiar face, and the routine of an enjoyed therapeutic intervention.

Our virtual music therapy sessions can:

· Provide a sense of social and emotional connection

· Decrease feelings of isolation and loneliness

· Promote reciprocal social interactions on both sides of the camera

· Share familiar and comforting music which can provide grounding in a time of uncertainty

· Give primary caregivers a short respite from having to be “on” in caregiver mode all the time

· Provide a scheduled activity to look forward to on the calendar

Virtual Music Therapy in Your Home

Roman Music Therapy Services is equipped and ready to deliver music therapy services to our clients, established and new, virtually. All you need is a smartphone, tablet, or computer and we can walk you through the rest! If you’re looking for something particular or trying to solve a unique challenge, let us know. We love to brainstorm and would be happy to try to create new solutions with you.

Visit our website or contact us to learn more about what we can do for you or your group.

Sprouting Melodies in Your Living Room

Friday, March 13, 2020

Over the past few days, we have been closely following the recommendations from the CDC and the Department of Public Health in Massachusetts. We know it’s been a crazy week for everyone, and given the school cancellation for tomorrow, we figured it would be good to try something a little bit different for our classes. Think of it as a way to keep to your normal schedule, connect with friends in your community without the risks, and following the regular routine at a time when we all need that consistency.

We are inviting our Friday Sprouting Melodies Families to join us
for Virtual Sprouting Melodies Classes!


Please look in your email for an invitation to our private class during your regularly scheduled time.  This is not a class that it open to the public! It is just for our enrolled families to continue to make special music time a priority for your family, while minimizing any risk for our little ones, parents, grandparents and caregivers. With many area school districts closed, we know some of you may have older children home with you as well.  Everyone is welcome to join us! Find a cozy spot in your house and let’s get ready to make some music together!


Conference Season!

Starting this Saturday, we enter what we affectionately refer to at Roman Music Therapy as “Conference Season”. The Federation of Children with Special Needs in Boston on February 29th kicks off three months of tabling at various conferences that are either geared toward the populations that we work with, or are professional music therapy conferences.

The Federation of Children with Special Needs “provides information, support, and assistance to parents of children with disabilities, their professional partners, and their communities”. Their conference on the 29th, “Visions of Community”, will be from 7:30am to 4:15pm at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston. With workshops focusing on assistive technology, autism, IEP goal setting, self-care, and transition planning, just to name a few, it is a conference that always provides relevant and timely information to families and professionals working with special needs children. Come by our table and find out how music therapy can help you or your child!

partnering to support your clients and teamsA week after the Federation Conference, Meredith will be flying out to Chicago to attend the Great Lakes Regional Music Therapy Conference, which runs March 4 – 7, 2020. There she will be presenting a CMTE on Financial Management, Building Your Music Therapy Dream Team with fellow music therapy business owner Erin Spring, Successfully Scaling Your Dream Business with music therapy business owners Erin Flores and Christina Wood and Keys to a Successful Community Based Early Childhood Program with co-found of Sprouting Melodies, Beth Schwartz. If you are a music therapist or music therapy student attending this conference, be sure to check out one of these presentations or stop by our table in the exhibit hall to learn about upcoming retreats, coaching and internship opportunities.

March 19 – 21, 2020 are the dates for the Mid-Atlantic Regional Music Therapy Conference in Maryland. There, Meredith will be presenting a CMTE on Financial Management, as well as a concurrent on Giftedness with Bronwen Landless.

Roman Music Therapy Services’ Eliza Trickett, MT-BC and Jenni Chute, MT-BC, will attend the Mass Down Syndrome Congress Conference at the DCU Center in Worcester on March 28th. The theme for this conference is “Trailblazers”, and the key note speaker will be Zack Gottsagen of the 2019 hit movie Peanut Butter Falcon. The conference will spotlight research, as well as provide families with tools for communication, collaboration, advocacy, and education.

In April, members of our team will be attending the North Eastern Regional Music Therapy Conference in Stowe, Vermont.

The Massachusetts Early Intervention Consortium Conference at the Best Western in Marlborough on May 4 & 5th culminates this whirlwind season of advocacy, education and ambassadorship. Meredith will be presenting “Music is Developmental” in the afternoon session. The key note speaker for this conference is Emily Perl Kingsley, who has been a writer for Sesame Street for the last 45 years. As a parent of a son with Down syndrome, she speaks about living through the “dark ages”, when professionals advocated for institutionalization rather than support. We have worked with many early intervention professionals in the area as they refer their clients to our Sprouting Melodies program in Wakefield. We hope to see some of them, and you, at the conference!

Music Therapy and Trauma

Music and Trauma

Those familiar with the benefits and applications of music therapy typically understand how music can help with learning disabilities, cognitive decline and early intervention. Perhaps not so obvious is the role music can play in the treatment of trauma and clients suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome (PTSD).

When music is introduced as a form of treatment for PTSD and trauma related illnesses, both physiological and psychological benefits are possible. A music therapist can use music to help mitigate physical symptoms related to trauma, such as blood pressure levels, heart rate and muscle tension. Psychological symptoms that can be influenced by music include anxiety, irritability, isolation and flashbacks.

The safe and therapeutic environment that a music therapist can provide while in a session allows clients to process past trauma by empowering individuals with a sense of control. Through the music, individuals can express feelings and vulnerabilities. Activities such as music making and listening, improvisation, lyric analysis, music-assisted relaxation and songwriting can be done in either an individual session or within a group setting.

Because trauma can occur throughout the lifespan and can be experienced through a variety of different ways, individuals who sustain trauma are a diverse population. From premature infants in the NICU, to veterans, to serving the community in the aftermath of a violent event or crisis, music therapy can be used in a variety of treatment settings.

Goals are individualized but all are designed to be supportive and therapeutic, and will involve live and recorded music. Some of the most common goals are to reduce anxiety or isolation, improve overall mood, increase relaxation, develop coping skills and increase sense of control, to name a few.

If you have experienced trauma, or work with individuals  experiencing PTSD, and would like to learn more about how music can help, please contact our office and speak to someone today.

A New Approach

Taking a New Approach With Bridgewell Day Programs

Recently, we had the opportunity to develop new programming for an established client. This is always an exciting endeavor, as it allowed us to build upon strong relationships and reinvigorate our staff as we continue to tailor our programs to meet the needs of those we serve. Our music therapists have been providing group music therapy to Bridgewell’s residential homes since 2012. In a bid to bring music to the participants of their day programs, Bridgewell worked with us to create a menu of programs that would enhance the community culture that is central to the Bridgewell experience.

The new model of service delivery consists of a thematic focus determined by one of our music therapists and staff. Registered participants have opportunities to build on goals and demonstrate progress throughout the six week series. At the end, there is the opportunity to share their work through a demonstration or performance for the entire day program community through a Universal Music Therapy Event. Unlike other models, we have also built staff-training into the series so that everyone knows how to support participants.

Laetitia Brundage, MT-BC, and Maureen Young, MT-BC, are the therapists working with these groups. Some examples of the themes their groups have been working on are: Disney songs with a therapeutic twist, memory care, songwriting to improve activities of daily living, exploration of different music genres and using movement, instrument play, and singing to improve peer-to-peer interactions. Both therapists have seen an increase in confidence and comfort within their groups. Laetitia points out that her group “demonstrated pride and confidence in their songwriting, and included contributions from every member, including one who is nonverbal”.

Maureen has noted that “the most wonderful moments that I’ve seen definitely involve facilitating experiences that allow for meaningful interactions between group members and staff.  These groups really increase the mood and joy of both group members and staff. Group members are also given the opportunity to be leaders in a supportive and inclusive environment. It is wonderful to see individuals of a variety of abilities participating in a group setting together, as they are all able to access music in their own way”.

The inclusion of staff development into the program has encouraged the staff to be more present and participatory in these group experiences. By training the staff of the Bridgewell Day Programs on how they can help support the music, we are empowering the staff to make meaningful contributions to the participants’ therapeutic experience. The staff members working with Laetitia’s groups really responded to being asked for their input. They gave pointers, helped Laetitia know each person better and even reported benefits for themselves.

Maureen has observed that since collaborating with the staff at her programs, they seem to have a better understanding of what to expect during session and what their role is, in terms of stepping in and getting involved. Maureen says that “The staff has really seemed to start taking ownership of the music and feeling more comfortable using it as a tool on their own”.




A New Program and Partnership

This fall we are venturing into new pilot program in partnership with the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction. Teaming up with a Massachusetts based non-profit, Rawkstars, we are bringing music to 35 young men living within the PACT (People Achieving Change Together) Unit, a specialized program for incarcerated individuals between the ages of 18 and 24.

Rawkstars was founded by Jonathan (JJ) Jacobs, a musician and sound engineer who wanted to provide music opportunities for Massachusetts youth who would otherwise not have access. Whether it is supplying instruments, initiating programs, or in our case, connecting us with the population at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction, Rawkstars has made a mission out of connecting people through music. It is a vision that aligns serendipitously with ours, so when JJ contacted us with a potential partnership, we were eager to sign on.

PACT is a new initiative, currently in its second year, for individuals  who are 18 – 24 yrs old and currently incarcerated at the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction. Living in this unit is voluntary and requires an application process. Young men who join the program are paired with a mentor, and participate in intensive programming specifically designed for this population. The goal of the PACT unit is to focus on rehabilitation and the development of social skills that can help participants once they have served their sentences. On the unit, there is more freedom, with cells open from 7:30am to 9pm. Classes focus on life skills such as budgeting, meditation and mindfulness. There is an emphasis on positive officer and participant relations, interactions and respect, which gives the unit a more relaxed feel.

The goal of the music program with the inmates will be to develop life effectiveness skills, which include, but are not limited to, time management, social competence, task leadership, and emotional control using music-based programming in order to determine if inmates’ actions, behaviors or feelings shift in ways to make them more successful in managing and succeeding in daily life. Attendance is voluntary, but inmates will be encouraged to choose at least one program to attend each week. The programming will include large group drum circles, smaller groups that may include Songwriting, Lyric Analysis, Singing, Recreative Music Experiences, Improvisation, Active Music Listening, Music and Digital Technology, Music and Imagery, and Music Assisted Relaxation. There is also a music education component provided through Rawkstars that will be teaching other music skills to the participants. A final showcase/performance will be held at the end of the 12-week pilot program with staff, participants and their families.

Bringing music therapy to new populations is something that we are passionate about at Roman Music Therapy Services. We are really excited about this new program and collaboration with Rawkstars and the Middlesex Jail & House of Correction.. We look forward to celebrating creativity, self-expression and music in this environment to support the rehabilitative model of the PACT Program.

For more information about Rawkstars or to donate to support the work of this amazing non-profit, please visit their website.

For more information about the PACT Program, check out this video clip from WGBH.

The Benefits of Enrolling in Sprouting Melodies Classes

There are so many benefits to enrolling in Sprouting Melodies® classes! Not only will you and your little one spend 45 minutes making music together, strengthening bonds and experiencing joy, but you are being led by a board certified music therapist with extensive experience and education in early childhood development! Each of our classes is designed to be developmentally appropriate for your child, as they meet milestones and create new connections with the world around them.

And if your child is receiving early intervention services, our classes can help support those services due to our unique experience and training.

Another benefit of class enrollment is weekly emails from our Sprouting Melodies providers, highlighting a stage or information on childhood development, and how the music in class can be used to support development, and how you can use our songs at home. Here is a snippet of one of our emails:

As caregivers, we are constantly trying to find new ways to teach our little people about the world, how they are connected to it and how they have such an important role in it. In fact, we sometimes become SO excited about sharing our knowledge and experience, that we forget to let our little people make discoveries on their own. On the surface and in the moment, it might not seem like we are limiting our little people, but when we try to make them conform to our already developed sense of self in play, we are taking away from their development of a unique sense of self. Independent and child-led play is so important for the building of self-confidence, resiliency, and flexibility in future endeavors! In fact, “when play is allowed to be child driven, children practice decision-making skills, move at their own pace, discover their own areas of interest, and ultimately engage fully in the passions they wish to pursue (Ginsberg, 2007).

Sprouting Melodies founder and provider, Meredith, shares a frame drum with several young children.

This has a lot to do with how our babies brains are developing. By age 1, your child’s brain has doubled in size and by age 3, their brain becomes about 80% of what their adult brain size will be. During this time, they are learning in a multitude of ways, and these are not always observably active, because the learning is happening internally through mirror neurons. Mirror neurons fire off when watching someone else perform an action. So, when our little ones observe us walking/shaking/jumping/etc, their brain is firing off neurons as though they were actively participating in the observed actions. This process helps your little one absorb and process the information before they are ready to actively participate in the actions. So, you can empower your child in class by modeling and letting them observe your actions. Think of how amazing it will be when they decide to reach out and play that drum on their own!!

Read more about your child’s amazing brain at these websites:

Sprouting Melodies is not just a class, but a support system for you and your child! Our music therapists are eager and able to help you navigate the sometimes tricky journey of parenthood! Some of our Sprouting Melodies families have also formed bonds with one another, staying after class to socialize as their children enjoy a snack or play in our reception area.

If you are interested in learning more about Sprouting Melodies, visit our website.

Ready to get started with Sprouting Melodies? You can register online or call our office: 781-224-3300.

2019 American Music Therapy Association Conference


The start of November brings with it a ritual to the office as we get ready, not for the holidays, but for the annual American Music Therapy Conference. This year’s conference, entitled Innovate! Integrate! Motivate! will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota from November 21st-November 24th.  For students, experienced music therapists or brand new professionals, conference is the time to meet with colleagues from all over the country.

We truly believe in the value of sharing ideas, opportunities, interventions and skills with the music therapy community during conference. Each year, a cohort from Roman Music Therapy Services attends to network, present and connect with the music therapy community. This year, Executive Director and Founder, Meredith Pizzi, will be providing a Financial Management CMTE (Continuing Music Therapy Education) course, as well as co-facilitating a CMTE with fellow music therapist Elizabeth Schwartz, entitled Musicking Across the Life Span: Understanding Music Throughout Human Development. Meredith and Beth will also be presenting a concurrent on building community through music therapy. Music Therapy Business Owners (MTBO’s) will also find Meredith leading the MTBO Task Force Meeting to share the work of the Business Owners Task Force with business owners around the country.

In addition to courses, Laetitia Brundage, our Intern Director and Lead Music Therapist, will be talking about the internship opportunities at Roman Music Therapy Services, during the internship fair on Saturday, November 23rd. Stop by our table if you are a music therapy student looking for a training experience that will do far more for you, personally and professionally, than just meet the internship requirement!

Roman Music Therapy Services will also have a table in the Exhibitor Hall, with information about upcoming retreats we have planned for 2020 & 2021, business coaching opportunities, and raffles.

If you’re at conference next week, be sure to stop by our table and say hello!

The Power of a Good Speaker


You can speak well if your tongue can deliver the message of your heart. -John Ford 

There is something about hearing a powerful public speaker. One who can transform your position or understanding of a situation, event or topic with what they have to say. The best speakers have left a lasting impression on me.  I remember the rooms I was in, the the tone of the speaker’s voice, and the way that my entire body and brain was captivated by their words, and the way in which they spoke them.

Lorin Hollander

As a college student, I attended the 9th World Congress of Music Therapy Conference in 1999 and had the privilege of hearing Lorin Hollander speak. Mr. Hollander was a child prodigy who has gone on to be one of the most recognized piano performers in the world. His lecture, which he beautifully interlaced with piano music, absolutely changed my trajectory and affirmed my decision to be a music therapist. I was so moved by his presentation that I came back and transcribed the entire lecture to share it with the classmates in my music education program.

Brene Brown
Dr Brene Brown

In 2012, when Brene Brown was still awaiting publication of her second book, Daring Greatly, I had the opportunity to hear her speak at the Massachusetts Conference for Women. Hearing her words and seeing her powerful and vulnerable stage presence absolutely convinced me of the transformative power of seeing a speaker and having your entire world turned upside down!

There is something about the power of public speaking that has always captivated me, and as my career has unfolded, I have been humbled to speak on many stages. I love weaving music into my presentations the way that Lorin Hollander did so brilliantly. I try to get people to share in making music to bring a group together and to prepare them for learning and growing.

I always try to remember the potential that comes from public speaking, not just for sharing ideas, but for opening minds to new ways of thinking and changing lives. Our mission is clear, Making Music –  Transforming Lives, and whether we are doing it from a chair in a music therapy session, or from a stage at a conference or event, the potential for music, words and presence still thrill me.

-Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC

Learn more about where our therapists have spoken, or how to contact us to speak at an event.

-photos used with permission

Open Mic Karaoke

Open Mic Karaoke: October 18th , 7PM @ Onset School of Music

Take center stage or be part of the audience singing a variety of songs, performing and dancing to the beat. Our karaoke nights foster creative self-expression where everyone can enjoy rewarding group experiences with meaningful music-making. Whether you love to sing to Taylor Swift or you enjoy listening to friends croon to James Taylor, this inclusive community event is fun for the whole family!

If you haven’t participated in one of our Open Mic Karaoke night’s you have been missing out on a unique experience.  Part of our Project Harmony menu of programs, Open Mic Karaoke is one of our most popular community music-making events. There is still time to register for the last one scheduled this year! RSVP’s are needed by calling Jen at the office, 781-224-3300. $5 suggested at the door. Staff accompanying residents enjoy complimentary admission.

NEW – Music Therapy Business Development Graduate Course!

This fall, our Founder and Executive Director, Meredith Pizzi,  MPA, MT-BC, is thrilled to be teaching Music Therapy Business Development course at Alverno College. This online graduate music therapy course is specifically designed to support Music Therapists and is fully aligned with our work at Roman Music Therapy Services around Business Coaching and Clinical Supervision.

This course will focus on advanced competencies in Clinical Administration and Practice Development. Watch this short video to learn more about the 3 week or full semester options for the course!


Read more about the CMTE offerings and Certificate in Music Therapy Entrepreneurship at Alverno.

Ready to jump in and go for the Master’s in Music Therapy at Alverno College? Apply Today!


If you have any questions about this course,  please reach out to Meredith at her Alverno email address:

Or if you want to learn more about the program and CMTE’s, connect with Becky Engen, Ph.D., MT-BC, Director of Graduate Music Therapy at Alverno College at


Music Therapists Getaway Weekend in the Berkshires

Music Therapist Getaway Weekend

Being a music therapist can be lonely and isolating, but it doesn’t have to be! Come join other music therapists who are also working to find the perfect balance as we gather in the Berkshires for the weekend you’ve been dreaming of. This getaway will focus on self-care and how making the time for yourself can reinvigorate your practice.

Why You Should Be Here

  1. Develop valuable connections with like-minded, creative, music therapists that will help support you in your journey.
  2. This experience cannot be imitated! From the activities we have planned to the magic that will happen in this particular group, this is a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
  3. Experience professional music therapy supervision with Music Therapists and earn 20 CMTE credits, plus 20 Ethics credits.
  4. Share some creativity with yourself! The focus on self-care and continuing education in this weekend can help keep the passion flowing for your work and your career in music therapy.
  5. You Deserve this! Between the gorgeous retreat accommodations, the spectacular scenery, the fabulous meals and the time and space to invest in you, this place will fill you so you can keep giving to others.

Don’t Wait to Do This for Yourself

Sign up before August 10th to receive Early Bird pricing. Both of our packages include accommodations, activities, meals and coursework. Learn more online, register or call the office, 781-224-3300, to speak with a team member.

Digital Technology in Music Therapy CMTE

There’s an App for That

It is almost impossible to find a space in modern life that is void of digital technology or its influence, and that is especially true of music. Not only has new technology changed the delivery of music and the way it is made, but it is changing how people interact with music. In the age of the ‘app’, many people can manipulate and create their own music, opening up a whole new way of expression. Integrating digital music technology in to your music therapy practice can allow you to provide clients with a new way of creating identity and discovering potential.

From Apps to Application

Join like-minded colleagues as we explore how tech and music based apps can bring your practice to the next level. We will warm up with improvisations on traditional and digital instruments, than move onto tutorials of various composition apps, such as GarageBand, GrooveMaker, LoopPacks, etc. The course will wrap up with the creation and sharing of a multimedia project. This course is a great way to turn your Smart phone, tablet or computer into another therapeutic tool at your disposal!


Course Schedule and Format

Registration and check in will be from 2pm-2:15pm, then we will dive into the work! Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, MA, MT-BS and Amadee Castenell III, MT-BC will instruct this 6 hour course, taking participants through facilitation, composition, creation and performance within some of the most popular music apps. Dinner will be provided.

Learn more and register online or call the office!

Reflections on Colorado 2019

A Magical Weekend

Last week months of organization and preparation brought Roman Music Therapy Services to the mountains of Colorado to embark on a magical journey with fellow music therapy business owners.

Our Music Therapy Business Owners Retreat was scheduled to begin on Friday and span 48 hours of intense focus, collaboration and learning. The first test to the strength of this group of entrepreneurs came in the form of a spring blizzard that blew through the Midwest two days before our scheduled start time. Mother Nature’s mood swing was no match for the professional women who were determined to reach our final destination: a breathtaking, mountain retreat home carved into the side of Saddleback Mountain. Despite a few flight delays, everyone made it to Evergreen, CO!

Diving into the Work

With business owners representing Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, California, Wisconsin, Boston and Canada, we had a diverse representation of the challenges and opportunities music therapists encounter in their business practices. Topics of focus included marketing, finances, human resources and taking your business to the next level. This motivated group dove right into the work! Their intensity and passion fueled the momentum of the weekend. It was inspiring to see such talented people so invested in the work that they do and the businesses they have created.

And of course, we made time for music making!

This intelligent, driven and accomplished group of women helped to make the weekend what it was by bringing their thoughtfulness and willingness to share. The feedback we received was gratifying and affirming.

This weekend was the most uplifting experience of my career as a business owner, and best decision I’ve made to invest in myself. Meredith’s authenticity and business acumen combined with the atmosphere of the retreat was the perfect setting. I couldn’t recommend this experience more to business owners, no matter what stage you are in with your business!!!”

Learning and growing are life long endeavors. There is no such thing as ‘too much knowledge’ or ‘too much experience’. As business owners and music therapists, the need for knowledge does not remain stagnant but an ever evolving force.  If you want to feed your inner warrior, join us at the Guided Imagery and Music training in Litchfield Conneticut or sign-up to get updates on our two-day retreat in Massachusetts in September.


Ukulele Night Coming in May!

Join us for a night of all things Ukulele!


In partnership with the Department of Developmental Services and the Ukulele Kid’s Club, we will be hosting a night devoted to the instrument with the fun name on Thursday, May 16th. The night starts at 7PM in our Wakefield location.  We will start with an intro and history of the ukulele before breaking into performance, 3 chord song lessons and group playing.

No experience is necessary!

BYO ukulele. We will have a few instruments on hand to borrow. Bring your own, or order one through us. There are two options for ordering:

  1. Order through the Ukulele Kid’s Club vendor. Uke’s are $89.99 and one ukulele is donated to a child in the hospital for every uke bought
  2. Order through us. Email Our ukulele’s run from $55-$65. Order by May 1st to ensure there arrival and pre-tuning.


Drum Circle+: Fun For Everyone!

Have you wondered what happens at a drum circle event?

Community, Music Therapy and You

Perhaps you’ve seen a flyer for one of our upcoming drum circle events and despite being curious have never signed up because you aren’t sure what to expect. That’s understandable, considering many of us may have some preconceived  ideas about what participating in a drum circle entails. 

Our drum circle+ events are facilitated by one (or more, depending on the crowd) Board Certified Music Therapists. Just the act of drumming provides some amazing benefits, such as stress reduction, improved physical health and wellness and increased brain function. Not only that, but it is a way to have fun and build community!

Do I need experience or to bring my own drum?

No! We will supply the drums, all you need to bring is your enthusiasm. The music therapists facilitating the event will guide the members of the drum circle into different rhythms, building on the energy of the group. They may start you off with a simple, repetitive beat, asking you to play louder or softer. Once everyone is warmed up, they may introduce a mandala: when one person starts off and his or her neighbor joins in, and then the next, until the entire circle joins in, or they may let someone else take over the lead.

If you still have questions, Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC, the Founder and Executive Director of Roman Music Therapy Services, explains what to expect.

And if you have any questions, do not hesitate to call the office. We will be hosting our next drum circle at Onset School of Music on Saturday, May 5th, from 2pm to 3pm! 

Preregistration is required by either calling our office, 781-224-3300, or online!

Project Harmony Strikes a Chord

Project Harmony Logo text with three circles with music symbols in shades of green and blueFinding Inspiration in the People We Serve

The vision at Roman Music Therapy Services has always been to create connects and build communities for people of all ages and abilities. We believe that making music is something everyone can do, celebrating potential instead of focusing on limitations, highlighting similarities and not differences.

In an ongoing effort to create programming that is meaningful and brings different communities together, we launched Project Harmony in the fall of 2017. Most of the offerings under Project Harmony’s umbrella were created with adults with disabilities in mind, to help transition folks from sheltered or protected experiences to more integrated interactions within the community.

Project Harmony offers ongoing series and individual events that provide:

  • Meaningful social experiences
  • Opportunities to develop authentic friendships
  • Creative self-expression
  • Interactive learning and growth
  • Sense of belonging with others
  • Enhanced physical health and well-being

Making Music, Transforming Lives

Our goal with Project Harmony is to create spaces in which all people can gather together, meet new friends and experience joy in music making. So far, we have held several Open Mic/Karaoke nights, as well as a weekly chorus. The karaoke nights are full of fun, energetic music makers and audience members, cheering each other on and crooning to a favorite song. We have had parents and families, friends looking for something to do on a night out, adults with disabilities and young children participate.

Finding wholesome, enjoyable events within the community can be a challenge for many people, so the reception of our Friday night Karaoke evenings has been very positive! Our weekly chorus, which meets Monday afternoons, has been an outlet for adults with disabilities in day programs, but anyone is welcome to join. Learning new songs and singing them in the group has been a rewarding and empowering experience! At the culmination of each 10 week series, the chorus members perform a showcase in front of their peers, demonstrating their hard work and dedication!

We have high expectations for Project Harmony, the scope of its offerings as well as the longevity of its impact. In the future, we also hope to roll out drum circles, a digital music series and many other meaningful programs that utilize music to empower all people within the community.

Keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for future events and program announcements!


Karaoke: A Night of Stars

by Jennifer Ray

Our First Karaoke Night

On Friday, October 13th, Roman Music Therapy Services invited the community and the agencies that we serve to our first ever Family Karaoke and Open Mic night. The karaoke event was the kick off to a new menu of services we plan to offer, under the name of Project Harmony. When we first started planning the event, we hoped that people would be as excited as we were about it! It would be a fun night, bringing people from different backgrounds and with different abilities together for music making. When Meredith and I talked about it, we thought a turnout of thirty would mean we had a successful night.

Two weeks before the event and we realized we were offering something that the community was getting excited about! Social media started lighting up with groups and individuals tagging each other and referencing the karaoke post on Facebook. Registrations started pouring in online. Group homes started calling with residents RSVP’s. The week of the event we had ninety people registered for a room at Onset School of Music that could hold one hundred.

We had to close registration, a problem we could have never envisioned!

BJ Wass and his crew at Onset (a huge shout out and thank you for all of their assistance!) opened up two rooms for us, an impressive back room with stage, lighting and sound, and another great space where we could have a second sound system running. At many points in the evening, we had two karaoke singers performing at the same time!

I found myself throughout the evening in awe and deeply touched by what I was witnessing.

Seeing this broad representation of the community; families, kids, moms out with their friends, adults with special needs, kids with special needs, all these people having fun and cheering each other on, it was amazing. Thinking about it now, I still get chills. Everyone that night was so accepting, and so supportive of each other, it truly showed the power of music and the power of community.

When folks left that night, there was a smile on every face. We had all been a part of something special!

Special thanks goes to Onset Music School, for helping us with the logistics, as well as to The Optical House, The Bread Shop and Kelly’s Roast Beef, who all donated items for our raffle!

If you had fun at our karaoke event, or weren’t able to participate in this one, please call our office, 781-224-3300, to RSVP for our next Karaoke night at Onset on December 8th!


Karaoke and Open Mic Night

Karaoke and Open Mic Night!

Do you frequent karaoke nights around town or have you ever dreamed of signing on stage but haven’t found the right venue? Well, Roman Music Therapy Services has your answer for a night of fun, community and music!

Join us on October 13th from 6:30pm – 8:00pm at Onset School of Music in Wakefield. There you will be able to perform your favorite songs on stage, with a professional sound system and lighting! Invite your friends and family to cheer you on. Not ready to perform solo? You’ll still have a great time listening to our karaoke line up, trying your hand at one of our raffles, and enjoying a light refreshment.

Committed to providing quality, fun, integrated music experiences for our clients and community, we hope you join us on Friday, October 13th for what is sure to be a great night!

Register now to save your spot!

Women in Recovery and Music Therapy

It’s a Thursday afternoon, and one of Roman Music Therapy Services lead therapists, Laetitia Brundage, has pulled up in front of the home where she will be seeing her next clients. 

Inside, ten to twelve women ranging in ages from nineteen to forty-five wait in the living room for Laetitia’s arrival. With couches moved around to form the shape of a ‘U’, participants in the upcoming music therapy session are asked to pick their instruments. Once everyone is outfitted, Laetitia opens the session with a check in, finding out where each member of the group is at, emotionally, that day. Then she leads the group with a song to gather everyone together, breaking the ice and setting the tone. A rhythm everyone can play is picked, something that offers a beat for participants to land on as they drum. Sometimes it’s ‘Boston, Massachusetts’, other times Laetitia asks if the women would like to offer the mantras they say to themselves to get through a tough challenge or a rough day.

This home is the residence of an inpatient substance use disorders treatment facility specifically for women. The women in recovery are typically there for six to twelve months and engaged in various therapies and life building sessions.

While many people are familiar with music therapy in after school programs or within the setting  of nursing homes, they are less familiar with music therapy playing a  role in the treatment of mental illness, such as PTSD, anxiety and substance use disorder, to name only a few. Laetitia helps the women in this group identify, process and develop coping mechanisms surrounding their emotions, as well as build resiliency and gratitude. By sharing their emotions with the group, displaying respect for one another and listening to each other, as well as a willingness to explore their personal experience with treatment, the goal is to increase a participant’s potential success in sobriety after leaving the supportive and contained environment of the house.

Much of the feedback Laetitia has received after her sessions is positive. One woman revealed that “music really turned my attitude around”. Another shared that it was “really cool to take all these emotions and put them into song” after a session of songwriting with her peers.”

Laetitia is honored to be part of the progress these women are making.“It’s such different work…it’s very rewarding to go into this amount of depth with people.” The women have been extremely open and Laetitia says working with them has been “really beautiful…I feel like I’m making a real difference in their treatment and giving them another tool.”

After 45 minutes of music, the session comes to a close. Typically, the group ends with a mandela, an exercise that has one person begin a beat, followed by the next person, followed by the next and so on until everyone in the circle is contributing their own music. It shows the women that while they maintain their group cohesion, they still retain their individuality. And just as they started, they finish one by one, until there is a lone drummer, before they too fall silent and the group session concludes until next week.

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with a substance use disorder, please contact the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) for more information and help.

If you would like more info on music therapy and it’s use during treatment and recovery, please contact us.

Music Therapy for Early Childhood

Music Therapy For Early Childhood

Everyone can make music! It’s true! Whether singing along to your favorite song, tapping a beat on a bongo or experimenting on GarageBand©, everyone has the ability to create music. And you’re never too young to be involved with, or respond to, the benefits of music making. Watch any child, especially babies and toddlers, and you’ll see for yourself. They bang, they strum, they sing and dance without any care as to how ‘good’ they might be or if they are hitting the right note.

Music isn’t only fun for our little ones, it plays a critical role in overall development, helping to build neural pathways and unlock hidden potential. Before language skills are even developed, music can serve as a vehicle for communication with babies and toddlers.

Who can benefit?

Children of all ages and backgrounds are especially receptive to music! For those receiving early intervention services, music therapy can be a creative strategy to successfully reach children with identified developmental delays or other unique needs.

Children without delays, and those in daycare centers or preschools, also have fun engaging in music making that supports their emotional, social, cognitive and language development. Music making also provides young children a great opportunity to bond with caregivers and peers!

Program Offerings

    • Sprouting Melodies: Created for children, ages 0-5, and their caregivers, Sprouting Melodies is an award winning early childhood music program. Offering age-specific classes for infants, toddlers, preschoolers and sibling pairs, Sprouting Melodies classes are facilitated by Board Certified Music Therapists who have additional training in early childhood development.
    • Clinical Music Therapy: Music therapy sessions can be provided in conjunction with other early intervention therapies or pediatric therapies in both individual and group settings.

Does your little one light up when you sing to him or her? Are you looking for an activity that stimulates your child’s development while also fostering the bond between the two of you? If so, demo one of our Sprouting Melodies classes or contact us to find out more about our individual music therapy sessions.

Music Therapy, AMTA and Belonging

-by Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, MA, MT-BC

AMTA as a community

As with most allied health professions, music therapy has a professional organization, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).  The purpose of AMTA “is to advance public awareness of the benefits of music therapy and increase access to quality music therapy services in a rapidly changing world” (AMTA, 2017).  This advocacy of AMTA includes educating government officials (including national senators and representatives, governors, and state legislators), organizations (including Veteran’s Affairs Administration, National Institute of Health,  and Remo Drums), and the general public.

I have been a member of AMTA since I was a music therapy student, maintaining my membership throughout my career because of the many benefits it has given me. The organization not only works on a therapist’s behalf to increase our visibility, it also increases client access to our services.

Here are some of the other great things about AMTA membership:

  •  Two high quality journals created to keep therapists informed of the latest research and clinical practices within music therapy
  • A forum for music therapists to come together and share knowledge, experience, questions, and music
  • A way for music therapists to share their voices and ideas, as well as an opportunity to shape the field of music therapy as it grows and develops
  • Volunteer members and staff who are working to protect the field of music therapy through countless hours of dedicated service
  • National and regional groups that create and support the growth of music therapy in underdeveloped and new areas
  • Resources, documents, and knowledge that deepen my practices as a music therapist, a music therapist supervisor, and a music therapy educator
  • Opportunities to develop skills outside of clinical music therapy, by taking on leadership roles, conducting research and writing scholarly materials

AMTA as an advocate

For our stakeholders, those who receive our services and those who hire us to provide music therapy services, AMTA works on your behalf as well.  AMTA has been involved in developing and modifying legislation and regulations to make music therapy more readily available to those who need our services.  AMTA works to educate the public about music therapy. Finally, AMTA serves to connect those interested in music therapy services with music therapists in their area.

If you are a music therapist or music therapy student, you can learn more about joining AMTA here!


The Intersection Between Music and Medicine

NPR’s Robert Siegel, host of All Things Considered, recently spoke with the director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, and Renee Fleming, world renowned soprano and Artistic Advisor at Large at the Kennedy Center. Their conversation centered on the work they are doing jointly to advance the study of music and medicine.

This weekend both Collins and Fleming will be collaborating at Sound Health, a two-day event exploring connections between music, health, wellness and science.

Listen to, or read, their ideas on how the brain responds to music.


Turn up the Heat with Summer Music Events!

Summer is  (almost) here!

If you are a parent you might be wondering, as I find myself doing right now, which is a busier month, December or June?! Between end of school year events, field days, graduations, dance recitals, gymnastics meets, last day of school parties, etc it can feel as though there is a commitment every day!

When life gets especially hectic with obligations, it always helps to have a little fun, either scheduled or spontaneous! Roman Music Therapy Services has some great things planned, some of which are free!

Dancing and Singing all summer long!

Happy Sprouting Melodies Student

BABY/TODDLER FLASH MOB, Friday, June 16th at 11:30am (near the Gazebo)

A few years ago we held a very successful Sprouting Melodies flash mob near the lake in Melrose. Now we are taking the music, and the dancing, to Lake Quannapowitt in Wakefield! Join us for some fun tunes, fresh air and feisty baby dancing! Pack some food and a blanket and feel free to stay after the music ends for a picnic!


This is a very popular series that the library puts on, and Roman Music Therapy Services is happy to be a part of it on the 27th. Held on the lawn near the library, families often bring a picnic dinner and come a little early before the music begins.


If you, or someone you know, is a new mom or dad, this is a great, FREE monthly meet up. Get out of the house with your new little one and meet other parents and caregivers!

LUNCH AND CRAFTS, Friday, July 7, 11:00am-noon

Join us for another fun craft and pizza lunch! We will make tambourines to take home and then have pizza! Sign up today to reserve your spot! We need at least 5 kiddos signed up to run this event so sign up early. Cost will be $10 per child or $15 for a family. (there are no Sprouting Melodies classes this week due to July 4th)


Both sessions are 4 weeks long to accommodate for people’s fluctuating schedules during the summer, but if you know you are going to be around, then enrolling in both at the same time will save you money! (use coupon code summer2017) And the first 8 enrollments for any summer session will receive a free Sprouting Melodies T-shirt!


Drumming to De-Stress

Beating the Drum with the Chamber!

On May 17th, Roman Music Therapy Services had the opportunity to host members of the Wakefield-Lynnfield Chamber of Commerce for an evening of networking and…drumming!

A free event for chamber members, the public was also invited for a nominal fee. We kicked off the afternoon at 5:30pm, giving attendees a chance to mingle, unwind and enjoy some great appetizers from Rooster Thai and Convenience, who supplied the catering. After everyone had arrived and felt ‘warmed up’, Kathy McCann, MT-BC, led the group into the music room where a variety of drums and other instruments awaited them.

The Benefits of Drumming

The drum is one of the oldest known instruments and the act of drumming provides a number of health benefits! It has been proven that an hour long drumming session can reduce stress significantly, is an aerobic exercise, and increases brain function, and that’s not all! Drumming also helps build community and creates a mind/body connectedness. While some of our Chamber participants seemed hesitant and self-conscious at first, it didn’t take long for everyone to loosen up and find their own beat!

Ancient peoples and societies knew the benefits of drumming, and now, as more research is done, so do we. Drumming can help Alzheimer’s patients access memories, children with special needs work on motor skills, and people suffering from depression or anxiety find an outlet for expression. It’s also a great team-builder for businesses or organizations.

If you would like more information about the benefits of drumming and drum circles, please contact us! If you’ve never seen a drum circle, Malden Access TV taped one of ours a number of years ago and you can view it here!


I Have a Drum! Now What?

Why Music?

A music therapist’s voice can be so important, especially when reaching out to populations that are not always able to respond and communicate by conventional means. Music has an impact on all areas of growth and development, making it a particularly valuable therapy in early interventionMeredith Pizzi, music therapist for various populations including early intervention work work. Bonding and attachment are just some of the areas that can be enhanced through moving together in music.

On May 9th, our founder, Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC and Laetitia Brundage, MT-BC, one of our music therapists, presented at the Massachusetts Early Intervention Consortium’s annual conference. Their presentation, entitled I Have a Drum and Maracas! Now What? provided guidance for music therapists working with children and families participating in early intervention work. Intended to offer colleagues some tried and true strategies and tools for behavior management, the training included large and small group experiences, song sharing and writing, as well as a prepared lecture.

Developmental Framework

Elizabeth Schwartz, LCAT, MT-BC, Meredith’s co-founder of Raising Harmony and Sprouting Melodies, created a developmental framework that breaks down skill development into five categories or areas: awareness, trust, independence, control and responsibility. Music therapists can stylize their sessions to target specific traits exhibited in these five categories. For example, if a music therapist is working on control with a group or individual, he or she may use a song that allows for instrument choice.

Learning ObjectivesLaetitia Brundage, music therapist for various populations including early intervention work

Key learning objectives established the goal of the session. The first objective involved participants being able to identify ways that music can be used to facilitate skill development in the areas of gross and fine motor skills, language, communication and social interaction.

The next objective was learning songs that targeted these specific developmental skills in addition to songs that do not require instruments or musical materials. Songs that were shared included:

  • Row It Faster by Elizabeth Schwartz, LCAT,MT-BC (skill development – Awareness)
  • Dancing Kids by Laetitia Brundage, MT-BC (skill development – Independence)
  • Train Ride, by Alison Albino (skill development – Trust)

At the end of the two hour presentation, participants left with the ability to list three ways to support and encourage positive behavior through music, create solutions to challenges with behavior and sing three new songs and suggest functional uses for the songs.

Music therapy can have a profoundly positive effect with early intervention populations. If you are a parent or early intervention provider looking to incorporate music therapy, please contact us!


Music Therapy and Military Populations

The History of Music Therapy in Military Populations

The history of using music therapy to help post-combat veterans dates back to the days after World War I, when community musicians performed in military hospitals for wounded servicemen. Doctors and nurses noticed that their patients responded positively to the music. During the last years of World War II, it became evident that these hospital musicians needemilitary and flagd special training, thus the first music therapy degree was created.

In 1945, the U.S. War Department developed a program using music to recondition service members recuperating in Army hospitals. In this program, music was used in several therapeutic settings, including recreation, education, occupational therapy and physical reconditioning. This early use of music as a support of multiple therapies for military populations helped the music therapy profession grow. It developed further with research endorsed by the Army.

How Can Music Therapy Help Veterans and Their Families?

Veterans of recent wars face post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), traumatic brain injury, major depression and polytrauma, not to mention substance abuse, family conflict and suicide. Music therapy can be a valuable part of a treatment plan for post-combat veterans and their families, offering another tool in supporting a service member’s recovery. Interventions can include improving coping skills, offering relief from pain perception and reducing stress associated with traumatic experiences.

Music is used with military populations in various ways, including drum circles, writing original music and engaging with a music therapists individually or in a group setting. Music therapy interventions often address multiple goals, such as awareness of mind/body connections, identifying feelings and emotions, physical discomfort/pain, attention, executive functioning and non-verbal means of expressing thoughts, feelings and emotions.

Interactive music experiences, music-based workshops, or incorporating music therapy into established support groups are just a number of ways music therapy can support veterans or active service members’ families. Shared music making between family members and their service members also allows everyone to engage in an activity that can be fun and positive.

One of our music therapists, Laetitia Brundage, had the invaluable experience of working with the veteran population for a few months last summer as a part of the Home Base program, a two week intensive clinical program run by MGH. Laetitia incorporated a drum circle to the opening night, kicking off the program every two weeks for new participants.

If you or a family member is a veteran or active service member interested in music therapy, please contact us.

Autism Awareness Month

autism awareness ribbonApril is Autism Awareness Month

Autism Awareness month was launched by activists and individuals with autism, to counter the negative language and imagery associated with the disorder. Autism is considered a spectrum disorder, with the severity of symptoms varying by individual. For some on the high functioning end of the autism spectrum, these symptoms may result in relatively mild challenges. For others with more severe symptoms, repetitive behaviors and lack of spoken language can interfere with everyday life.

The focus during Autism Awareness Month is on sharing positive, respectful and accurate information.

Exactly what is Autism?

Autism, or autism spectrum disorder (ASD), is a bio-neurological developmental disability that typically appears before the age of three in children. It affects the areas of language, communication, sensory processing, social interaction and motor skills. Some characteristics of ASD are social-interaction difficulties, communication challenges and a tendency to engage in repetitive behaviors. Often other medical conditions and challenges accompany the basic symptoms of autism.

While there is no single cause or “cure” for autism, increased awareness and access to early intervention and other support services often lead to significantly improved outcomes. In some cases, the diverse symptoms of autism can be completely overcome.

In 2016, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the prevalence of autism had increased to one in every 68 births –  nearly twice the 2004 rate. Although autism is the fastest growing developmental disorder, it is also the most underfunded.

Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders

Individuals with ASD often respond positively to music. Considered to be a “universal language,” music can provide a bridge for those who have trouble expressing themselves or communicating. Due to the multisensory stimulation (auditory, visual, and tactile) of a music therapy session, music therapists can address a multitude of symptoms and behaviors.

Music stimulates both hemispheres of the brain, allowing a music therapist to use songs or instruments to support cognitive activity, building self-awareness and improving relationships with others. For individuals dealing with autism, personal interactions are often difficult, but by introducing an instrument into their therapy, they may first connect with the object and then open up to the therapist or group. Music serves as an alternative form of communication and expression.

Rock Out For Autism on April 29

Erin Savage is the frontwoman in the rock band SeaKing Heir, as well as an educator in the autism program of a private special education collaborative. SeaKing Heir is one of five bands playing at O’Brien’s in Lynn on Saturday, April 29th. Door funds from the concert will be donated to Roman Music Therapy Services to be used for music therapy scholarships for children with autism and other special needs. For more information about the event, see the SeaKing Heir Facebook page.

If you are a parent with questions about how music therapy could help your child, or an educator or program looking for more information, please contact us today!

Hospice and Palliative Care: How Can Music Therapy Help?

What is hospice care?

Hospice care is a model for quality, compassionate care for people with a life-limiting illness or injury. It involves a team-oriented approach and includes expert medical care, pain management and emotional and spiritual support. The patient’s family and loved ones also often receive additional support as they confront their own feelings of anticipatory grief and bereavement.Music Therapy in a Hospice setting

Music therapy can be beneficial to patients in hospice or palliative care in a variety of circumstances and scenarios. Some ways in which music therapy can help include: pain management, enhanced communication, reality orientation, exploration of spiritual concerns, etc.

Many times patients in hospice are unresponsive or have very limited awareness of self or others. However, even patients in the later stages of illness have responded to the inclusion of music therapy, whether it be by a decrease in heart rate, more controlled respiration or moments of cognition.

The goals for patients in hospice care vary by case but often include addressing the five tasks of dying, music assisted life review, and decreasing the perception of pain, to name only a few.

Supporting caregivers of hospice patients

Music therapy also offers caregivers and family an alternative method of coping with their loved one’s illness or injury, as well as a forum to share common experiences. During this difficult time, music can help soothe grief while also providing a respite for the stresses of care giving for a terminally ill loved one. If a patient is cognizant and able to participate, music therapy sessions can provide them and their care givers a way to engage in meaningful time together. Music therapy is also an effective way to engage children who may be experiencing complex and big emotions that they cannot quite articulate.

A legacy project can provide a way for hospice patients and families to express their emotions. These projects can include audio/visual recordings, tangible gift giving or recording of original songwriting done in a music therapy session. These legacy projects offer patients a means to highlight their contributions to the world to share with future generations and are a treasured remembrance for families.

If you would like more information about hospice or palliative care, please contact us. If you work with an organization that provides hospice service and wish to explore adding music therapy services, please review this information sheet and contact us to discuss your needs.


Join Us at Our Open House April 8th

Have You Seen Our New Space?

We are happily making music In Wakefield. Whether you followed our move from Melrose or have yet to see our new home, we are opening our doors on Saturday, April 8th to show off our new space! Pop in any time between 11:30 am and 1:00 pm on the 8th to tour our new reception area and studio. Our open house will also be a fantastic time to connectChamber Ribbon Cutting with old friends or learn more about all the wonderful services we offer here at Roman Music Therapy!

While our formal ribbon cutting, which happened with representatives from the Chamber, took place on January 30th, this will be an opportunity to welcome the community to our accessible, great new location!

We hope you’ll join us for light refreshments, conversation and of course – music – on April 8th!

There is ample parking behind our building and the lot is off of Yale street. We are located on the first floor, through the glass door and down the hallway. Keep an eye out for the balloons!

Hope to see you all at our Open House on April 8th!

Federation for Children with Special Needs Convention

A resource for children with special needs and their families

The Federation for Children with Special Needs (FCSN), located in Boston with a satellite office Federation for Children with Special Needsin Western Massachusetts, is recognized state and nationwide as a leader in child advocacy, especially for those children with special needs. Committed to listening to and learning from families, FCSN provides information, support and assistance to parents, their professional partners, and their communities.

Working in the areas of children’s health, parental involvement, early intervention, the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), and Elementary and Secondary Education, the Federation oversees over 15 programs statewide related to supporting families whose children have either special education or healthcare needs. These supports can include training, workshops on Individual Education Plan (IEP) development, assisting a child as he/she phases out of the school system, finding support groups, promoting family involvement in school, advocating for a child’s inclusion in a school setting and so much more. An invaluable source for families, the Federation also works to reach out to financially and culturally diverse families who are also in need of support and services.

Visions of Community

On March 4th, Roman Music Therapy Services will again be participating in the Federation’s annual conference, entitled Visions of Community for 2017. An excellent resource for families of children with special needs and the professionals who serve them, people come from all over the state to convene at the Seaport World Trade Center in Boston for a day of information gathering, sharing and work-shopping. Topics of discussion are to include Demystifying Dyslexia: Essential Information about Assessment, Intervention and Support at Home, Physical & Communication Access: Isn’t that the Law?, and Finding and Establishing an Independent Living Facility for your Child, to name only a few.

Keynotes will be delivered by Dr Paula Kluth, author, advocate and scholar working with teachers and families to provide inclusive opportunities for students with disabilities, as well as creating a more responsive and engaging school experience for all learners; and Brennan Srisirikul, singer and actor diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at birth.

As music therapists who have worked with children of all abilities, including those with special needs, our staff will be on hand at the conference to speak to parents, professionals and government agencies about the application of music therapy in conjunction with other services.

Stop by our table for more
information, or if you cannot make the conference but have questions about the whether music therapy is right for your child, contact our office!

A Message From Our Founder

Founder’s Message

Meredith PizziI have always loved living in New England. I love seeing the snow coated trees glisten in the sun and the excitement the kids have when they hear those beloved New England words, “Snow Day.”  I also love the first warm mornings of springtime when you can go outside with a light jacket, or even the thrill of no jacket at all, after being bundled up for what seemed like an eternity! Then the warmth of the summer blankets us for a few months and I soak in all the Vitamin D I can! And then all of a sudden, the cool, crisp air of fall moves in and I take in the familiar smell of the autumn leaves. I really do love it all!


Reflecting On The Past 10 Years

Celebrating our 10th Anniversary this past year provided me with a similar opportunity to reflect back on the seasons of change in the journey of Roman Music Therapy Services. It really did start out with me and my car, driving from session to session. I began with services for two agencies when I moved to Massachusetts in 2006. Eventually I added Saturday morning sessions for individuals in my basement and an increasing number of clients and contracts.  Over time, the work load grew, and as I am not one to turn down a request for help, I began to expand our services by bringing on additional music therapists, first as contractors and then as employees.

Growing Roman Music Therapy Services to the organization that we are today has truly been one of the greatest joys of my life! The children and adults I have met and had the pleasure of working with, the music therapists I have trained and supervised, and the administrative support staff who have provided their skills and energies to our mission and vision have all played a part in the story of Roman Music Therapy Services. To everyone who has given me the opportunity over these past 10 years to be a better music therapist and a better person, I offer you my sincere thanks! I am honored and delighted to work with an incredible team of professionals, amazing families, service providers and clients to fulfill our mission every day!

10 year timeline

Making Music, Transforming Lives

As I walk into our new Music Therapy Center in Wakefield and I see our mission on the wall, I am filled with a sense of purpose and commitment each and every day! I know that music and my involvement in making music with others had a tremendous impact on my life’s course and my development as a person. I would not be who I am today if I hadn’t been the only girl trumpet player in school. I don’t remember the name of all of my childhood teachers, but I do remember the names of each and every music teacher I had, and I remember the hours I spent practicing to perfect my craft – to be the very best trumpet player I could be!  All State auditions and performances, playing in orchestras, jazz bands, marching bands and chamber ensembles gave me a voice, a community, a sense of belonging. Yes, I was that tall redhead in the back of the jazz band, dancing as I counted my rests or played my part, and taking my shoes off in rehearsals and performances to really feel the music!

With my parents’ support and encouragement, I followed my heart into a field that I knew had the capacity to change lives. I had no idea what it would look like, and believe me, neither did my parents! But that didn’t stop me from following my convictions and my call to making music part of everyone’s life.

Forging Connections Through Music

Today, our team of 12 employees at Roman Music Therapy Services is making this vision a reality each and every day. In our next 10 years, our dream is to expand opportunities for music making even further. We want ALL people to have the experience of community and belonging that comes with music making. It seems that too often, our daily lives pull us apart from the people around us. And even the way that we consume music with our headphones, we are missing the chance to come together as common people. At the end of the day, we are all humans – Human beings with beautiful and unique differences. And we are all humans who can share in the joy, fun, and community of music making.

I hope that you will continue to join us in this mission of bringing music to everyone!

If you are the new parent who feels isolated and stressed, or just feel like you have a lot to learn as a new parent, please come join us for a Sprouting Melodies class! For families with children with special needs, we are committed to providing community programming and specialized services to help build bridges and bring families together. We are here for you! For adults living and working in our communities who experience the challenges of physical or developmental disabilities, or struggles with pain, depression or isolation, we are here to open up new doors to communication, friendships, and learning, all through the joy of music making! And for our aging adults, we offer a way to communicate, reflect on the past, and participate with others in a way that brings meaning, joy and purpose to our daily lives.

As we expand our community offerings to bring people together to make music, we hope that you will look for and take advantage of our intergenerational music making events. We truly believe that by focusing on the goals of shared joy and experiencing community through music making, we can help transform lives and communities to be the very best that we can be!



Don’t Forget The Holiday Magic

Happy Holidays!

Well, the Halloween candy is long gone, and so is our beautiful fall foliage!holiday snow

Thanksgiving seems simultaneously as though it was long ago and just yesterday. Suddenly it is the first day of winter!

However you choose to celebrate, chances are your holiday is just within sight. During the frenzy of the holidays, we often forget to enjoy ourselves and those dear to us. This year, try to carve out time to make some music with your family and absorb the beauty and magic of the season.

Wherever your travels take you this holiday

We at Roman Music Therapy Services are so grateful to all of you and we wish you and your family the very best, today and always. Happy Holidays!

From Meredith, Nichole, Annette, Amadee, Alison, Jennifer, Kathy, Katie, Laetitia, Mary, Patty, and Steven!