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.
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:
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
Order through us. Email email@example.com. Our ukulele’s run from $55-$65. Order by May 1st to ensure there arrival and pre-tuning.
Have you wondered what happens at a drum circle event?
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!
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
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!
If you haven’t participated in one of our karaoke night’s you have been missing out on a night of fun! There is still time to register. Just $5 per individual or $10 per family. Register online or by calling the office at 781-224-3300.
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 e
xcited 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 ofthirty 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 reside
nt 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!
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!
It’s a Thursday afternoon, and one of Roman Music Therapy Services lead therapists, Laetitia Brundage, has pulled up in front of thehome 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.
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!
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.
Music Therapy Club: Targeted for children ages 3-7 with special needs, the Music Therapy Club offers a supportive music making environment that facilitates engagement, joy, and success for all.
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 call to find out more about our individual music therapy sessions.
As with most allied health professions, music therapy has a professional organization, the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). The purpose ofAMTA“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!
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.
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!
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!
BLANKETS AND BASKETS EVENT AT MELROSE PUBLIC LIBRARY, Tuesday, June 27th @ 6pm
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.
MUSICAL MEET UP FOR NEW MOMS AND DADS, Monday, July 3 @ noon
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)
ENROLL IN BOTH SUMMER SESSIONS 1 & 2 AND RECEIVE 10% OFF YOUR ENROLLMENT!
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!
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!
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 intervention 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.
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.
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!
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 needed 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 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 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 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 engagechildrenwho 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, pleasecontact us. If you work with an organization that provides hospice service and wish to explore adding music therapy services, please review thisinformation sheetand contact us to discuss your needs.
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 connect with old friends or learn more about all the wonderful serviceswe 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!
Many of our clients are school aged childrenand young adults, ages 3-22. For them, music therapy can increase self-confidence and foster development through exploratory activities, among other benefits. While many children and young adults receive services at school or during a supported program, our music therapists have been developing group programs that can be done in our center and that can supplement those other group or individual sessions they may be a part of. With the intent of increasing engagement, developing community and fostering leadership skills, we have three new groups to offer families.
Music Therapy Club (3-7yrs)
Music Therapy Club, which meets on Tuesdays at 4PM, is designed to be a supportive music making environment that facilitates engagement, joy and success for all. Children can participate in music experiences that take full advantage of their individual strengths while minimizing the impact of difficulties. A family-based group for parents and children, siblings are also welcome to join the fun!
Pre-teen Music Therapy Group (9-13 years)
This group, which meets on Mondays at 4:30PM, offers a supportive environment where pre-teens with special needs can improve social skills, build bonds and engage in peer-to-peer interactions. Opportunities for leadership and creative expression, all with the help of music, help children achieve their goals.
Teen Music Therapy Group (14-22 years)
Specially designed for teens and young adults with special needs, this group uses structured music making improvisation, songwriting or lyric analysis to engage with clients and foster creativity. All within a safe space, clients can explore potential and develop satisfying relationships with others. This group meets on Mondays at 5:30PM.
While the Music Therapy Club requires parent or caregiver participation, the pre-teen and teen groups are for building independence. For this purpose, students will participate in group. Parents and caregivers are invited to spend the time in our reception area, enjoying a cup of coffee and building communities of their own. All three groups run on four week intervals and cost $115.
Special demo day Monday, March 20th.
To give families an idea of the group dynamic before committing to signing up we will be holding a demo day on Monday, March 20th of the pre-teen and teen groups. If you are interested in attending, please call the office at 781-224-3300.
Sign up for the Music Therapy Club online or by calling the office.
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 in 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!
At Roman Music Therapy Services, we have been particularly passionate about doing all we can to grow the talent pool of the next generation of music therapists.
Last year, Alison Albino joined Roman Music Therapy Services as an intern, wowing all of us with her compassion, determination and talent! Watching her confidence grow and her skills expand has been such a rewarding experience!
It’s no wonder that we happily made her a permanent part of our team once she completed her program at Berklee College of Music this past November.
Alison sees a wide spectrum of patients, from folks in hospice care, children and adults with special needs, and older adults with dementia and Alzheimer’s. Outside of work, Alison loves to travel and has been to over 15 different countries! She also has a passion for business and hopes to assist Roman Music Therapy Services grow in the future. We look forward to seeing what she does!
Growth brings new opportunities
Amadee Castenell is a recent graduate of Loyola University in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he received his Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. He discovered his calling in high school when he learned of music therapy as a career, which combined his love of music, his interest in psychology and his desire to help people.
While Amadee has experience working with many different populations, his real passion lies in hospice work. Following in the footsteps of family who work in the hospice field, Amadee hopes to someday teach and/or advocate for music therapy in hospice settings nationwide.
Amadee is excited to begin his career in music therapy at Roman Music Therapy Services! Proficient in a number of instruments, Amadee often tries to incorporate the use of woodwinds in his sessions when appropriate, so you may see him with a saxophone or a clarinet.
At Roman Music Therapy Services, we really are a team and we are incredibly excited by the energy and passion both Alison and Amadee bring to our office, our clients and the field of music therapy!
I 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!
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!
Reflecting back, 2016 brought change and excitement for Roman Music Therapy Services! We reached the truly awe-inspiring and gratifying milestone of being in business for ten years. Our in-studio program offerings expanded with the addition of Sprouting Sibs and drop-off class, Sprouting Melodies 5. Additionally, our outside contracts grew! Growth was really the theme for us as we took on more clients, hired an Operations Manager and moved into a larger space.
Another wonderful change included the addition of a Senior Clinical Supervisor for our music therapy team, Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, MA, MT-BC. Annette comes to Roman Music Therapy Services with an impressive and diverse background in music therapy. With over twenty years in the field, Annette’s clinical experience includes outpatient care for victims of domestic violence, psychiatric hospitals, hospice, special education classrooms and working in the Boston Shriners Hospital pediatric burn unit where Annette and her team were featured on WBUR, Boston’s NPR news station.
While providing music therapy to a variety of populations, Annette is also an adjunct faculty member at three colleges/universities where she teaches masters and undergraduate coursework.
Involved in several music therapy research programs throughout her career, Annette is also a prolific writer and has a number of peer-reviewed articles as well as published book contributions. In early 2017, the book she co-edited with Dr. Xueli Tan, “Cultural Intersections in Music Therapy: Music, Health and the Individual”, will be published by Barcelona Publishing.
As Senior Clinical Supervisor, Annette will be facilitating weekly, biweekly and monthly supervision with our therapists. Additionally, she will lead “Supervising the Supervisors,” a program that mentors our music therapy leads. In addition, she will lend her unique expertise in program development, outreach and skill set enrichment.
In her “spare time” (!), Annette is also leading our new program, Meeting of the Musical Minds Supervision, which offers one-on-one supervision to music therapists across the country. Stay tuned or contact us for more details.
To say we are excited to have her on our team — as a colleague, a mentor and an innovator — is an understatement! Please help us welcome Annette with a quick note via Facebook or a smile next time you’re here for a visit.
Well, the Halloween candy is long gone, and so is our beautiful fall foliage!
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!
The hustle and bustle of the season can leave you feeling drained and stretched thin
As we find ourselves quickly approaching the holidays, take a moment to enjoy some down time with your family and loved ones. Life moves so fast … slow it down and take a respite with a favorite CD or playlist to enjoy each precious moment. Also take some time to record your family singing songs or telling stories. With cell phones and tablets, technology has made recording very simple. I’ve started this with my little ones and it is beyond precious to hear them singing their favorite carols. I can just imagine how dear those recordings will be as they grow. Treasure every moment!
During the holidays, remember to make some time for yourself and your loved ones. Step back from the frantic pace and do something that truly puts the spirit into your holiday season. And don’t forget the music!
Still looking for the perfect gift?
If you are looking for last minute gifts, we have lots of great instruments for the musicians in your family. For the kids, a floor tom or maracas are always a great “go-to!” And for that favorite uncle or big-kid at heart Grandpa, a ukulele will be a huge hit (if they can pry it away from the little guys)!
Perfect for preschoolers: Shark ukuleles, floor tom, bongos, Putamayo CD’s and castanets
Great for young families: A Sprouting Melodies gift card!
Stop by the office to purchase, call or send us an email. While there aren’t scheduled classes next week, we will be in the office Monday through Friday.
Have a little one in your life who you think would love Sprouting Melodies? We have gift certificates available.
Make your own music!
Our Intergenerational Holiday Sing will be happening on Monday, December 19th at 6PM. This will be a special event in conjunction with Onset School of Music and will be taking place at their facility. Come and de-stress with some music making in the holiday tradition!
Join us on December 19th at 6PM as we partner with Onset School of Music for a musical event for the whole family! The holiday sing is a great way for young and old to put their voices together and celebrate the season. Registration is required.
Share the joy and build community!
Sing and make music in the holiday spirit!
The event will take place at Onset School of Music, 4 Audubon Road, Wakefield, MA.
It’s that time of year again when everything gets a little added ‘sparkle’ and the sounds you hear are a little merrier. The Melrose Chamber of Commerce hosts its own ode to the holidays with its Home for the Holidays weekend celebration, happening this year from December 2nd through December 3rd.
The fun starts Friday night around 6pm at City Hall on Main Street. There, Roman Music Therapy Services’ team of music therapists will help herald in the holidays with a repertoire of carols. The lights on the Christmas Tree at City Hall and those decorating Main Street will be turned on as Santa arrives in Melrose, riding through the center of town on a firetruck! Many businesses along the route take part with cookie and hot chocolate offerings and a chance to a get a photo with the big man himself!
On Saturday, December 3rd, the city will be full of fairs, performances, sales, specials and tastings that last throughout the weekend. Be sure to take advantage of the special holiday trolley that runs on Saturday, taking shoppers through the shopping districts for free. The trolley will run from 10AM-2PM.
Check The Chamber’s website for more details such as trolley route and map of participating businesses.
Spread the Cheer
This year, Roman Music Therapy Services is pleased to partner with The Community Outreach Coordinator at Hallmark Health to provide holiday gifts to some of their Emarc families in need. As an agency that works closely with Emarc in our own capacity, this opportunity is dear to our hearts.
You can donate to a needy young adult or child by picking an ornament from the ‘giving tree’ in our front office. The ornament will provide details on the holiday wish list for someone in the community relying on the generosity of others this holiday season.
Gifts may be wrapped, must be new, and should have the ornament attached on to it so we know who it is for. Hallmark Health will be collecting all presents the week of December 12th for distribution.
Are you a music therapy business owner looking to grow your music therapy business, or a music therapist who works independently? It’s common to feel isolated or unsure. We are excited to share two great learning opportunities for music therapists and music therapy business owners.
Business coaching and clinical supervision programs for music therapists
MTBO Mastermind, conducted by Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC and founder of Roman Music Therapy Services, is for music therapy business owners. This program will help you overcome growing pains and provide strategies to elevate to a more strategic level. Coaching is a wonderful way to actively build your business with the support of other like-minded music therapy business owners who have had similar experiences.
Through coaching, you can set the vision for your organization while also deciding the next direction you wish your business to grow in or develop. Coaching is goal driven, and your coach will help motivate you and hold you accountable to attain the goals you set. Be inspired, motivated and energized by transforming yourself from a business owner to a business leader!
Meeting of the Musical Minds Supervision will be conducted by Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, MA, MT-BC, who has joined Roman Music Therapy Services as our clinical supervisor. This individual and group supervision will help to reduce isolation, increase self-confidence and gain ideas and inspiration. As music therapists, we invest so much time and energy into our sessions with our clients, while neglecting to invest in ourselves with the same dedication.
Supervision is a key component to being a music therapist. Engaging in regular supervision has helped me personally as I worked in a pediatric burn unit, mental health hospitals and in school settings. I could not have done that work, or come up with the solutions to tricky situations, without that supervision. -Annette Whitehead-Pleaux
Annette will be facilitating two music therapy clinical supervision groups starting at the end of January/beginning of February, a standard group and one for LGBTQAI+ MTs. There is still time to check out MT clinical supervision through a free consultation and to sign up for one of the groups. Invest in yourself this new year!
Are you ready to take the next step?
If you are interested in learning more about our coaching or supervision services, you can get more info by watching the webinar that Meredith and Annette conducted last month, which dives deeper into what is offered through both programs.
Once you’ve determined that coaching or supervision are right for you, you can request an appointment time with either Meredith or Annette.
Please feel free to call our office, 781-224-3300, for more information.
Schedule updates: Last week saw the end of our Sprouting Melodies Fall 1 Session. Fall 2 session kicks off this week so there are no breaks in the music! These will be our last classes in the Melrose center before we move to Wakefield on October 31st. We anticipate Sprouting Melodies will begin in Wakefield starting Tuesday, November 1st.
This session will run through December 17th, with a break for the week of Thanksgiving. This will be the final session of 2016, as we take a two week hiatus for the winter holidays. I can’t believe there are only two more months until a new year. How does it go by so quickly?!
There are still spots available in some of our classes, so make sure you reserve your space today!
We look forward to introducing all of our families to the new space! And watching as the kids make it their own!
Halloween is coming and we’ll say BOO!
Join us, and the rest of the businesses on Main Street, at the annual Trick or Treat at Melrose Businesses. This event is sponsored by the Melrose Chamber of Commerce and will be held on Friday, October 28th from 3:30 to 5:00 PM.
Main Street will be shut down for the duration of the event and trick or treaters will be able to roam around, getting Halloween loot from area businesses.
As many of you know, whether from Meredith’s announcement at our recent 10th Anniversary Celebration, or from attending a Spouting Melodies class last week, we’ve outgrown our space here on Main Street in Melrose and are moving to a larger space just next door in Wakefield, MA. With all of the support from the community and all of you these past 10 years, we are growing in leaps and bounds! After a robust search, we’ve found a great new spot that can grow with us, so it is time to pack up our drums, maracas and tambourines! Continue reading “To Wakefield And Beyond! Moving To A New Home”→
As many of you know, we celebrated our 10th anniversary last Saturday at Melrose Memorial Hall. It truly was an event to honor not only the work we do in providing individual and group music therapy services, but also to express appreciation for the community connections we have made and partners we have gained along the way. Continuing our mission of uniting the generations, bringing music to everyone, and transforming lives through music making, the celebration offered an opportunity to bring our entire music-making community together in a party atmosphere.
Meredith opened the event with a few words of acknowledgement and thanks to clients, supporters, community partners and employees who have been part of the 10 year journey. She also sampled for the crowd one of the opening songs often used by the music therapists, Today Is A Beautiful Day, kicking off the event and setting an upbeat and inclusive tone for the day’s events. Later in the afternoon Meredith shared the news Roman Music Therapy Services’ growth and success have created the need to expand into a bigger space, and that our new home is right down the road in Wakefield, MA. (Stay tuned or follow us on Facebook for up-to-the minute details). Continue reading “Drumming With Heart”→
Our 10th Anniversary Celebration is only a few days away!
Our lunch menu is ordered, our drums and maracas are packed up and our voices are ready!
Be sure you’ve registered to reserve your spot.
We are so pleased to announce some special guests who will be joining us on Saturday to perform for you!
My Own Voice
Part of the Treble Chorus New England, My Own Voicewas launched in 2011 as a pilot program. Its intent was to provide choral opportunities to children and young adults with special needs. My Own Voice participants receive mentoring during their rehearsals from performers of other area choirs.
The program, targeted for individuals with physical, cognitive and developmental disabilities or impairments, started with four members and has grown to over 50 members! Performers from the choir are from Methuen, Haverhill, North Andover, Andover, North Reading, Reading, Stoneham, Peabody and Middleton.
Their unique model has proven overwhelmingly successful. My Own Voice is unique; there are no other after-school music programs for children with special needs like this one! The group founder, Bernadette Lionetta, envisions sustained growth over the coming months and years. Please contact Bernadette BLionetta9@verizon.net. if you know anyone who enjoys singing choral music and might be interested in joining the group.
Make sure to register for the event so that you too can enjoy My Own Voice’s performance! We look forward to seeing you on October 1st. And to making music with you into the future!
If you have any questions about the event or ambassadorship, please contact the office at 781-665-0700.
If you have experienced the power of music therapy, you are probably already a believer. Each day, growing numbers of people are learning how music therapy can facilitate connections and meaningful engagement for individuals with a wide variety of needs. Music therapists use music therapy to unlock closed doors, exposing potential, possibilities and opportunities.
Become a music therapy ambassador.
Help us to spread the power of music therapy by becoming a music therapy ambassador. You can serve as a champion to help us grow awareness and advocate for music therapy and the clients who benefit from it.
Ambassadors may host as universal music-making event (such as a community drum circle or open mic night), publicize our services or events (like our upcoming 10th anniversary!), advocate for music therapy as a viable clinical service or as a rewarding and powerful career choice, or provide a sponsorship or donation to provide funding for an individual with specific needs.
Are you ready to be a champion?
Learn more online about becoming an ambassador and ambassador opportunities!
And make sure to reserve your spot at our 10th Anniversary Celebration on October 1st!
A Musical Milestone: Celebrating 10 years of Music Making
This summer marks the 10th year that Roman Music Therapy Services has been making music in the community — a milestone we are excited to share with all of you!
Our Founder and Executive Director, Meredith Pizzi, MPA, MT-BC, launched RMTS 10 years ago from her home office in Malden. Since those beginnings, we have experienced tremendous growth! While based in Melrose, our therapists also see clients across New England.
Our team works with a variety of populations, spanning the spectrum from beginning to end of life care, and we also hold our very popular Sprouting Melodies classes in our Melrose office.
We couldn’t have gotten here without YOU!
To celebrate our musical milestone and to show appreciation to the clients, stakeholders, supporters and contributors to Roman Music Therapy Services, we will be hosting a 10 year anniversary celebration at Memorial Hall in Melrose on Saturday, October 1, 2016.
The event will take place from 11:30 am to 2:00 pm. The agenda will include recognition of community partners, success highlights, music (of course!), lunch and a drum circle.
As we come closer to Memorial Day, I often think about those incredibly brave individuals who have lost their lives in order to help protect our freedom. They made the ultimate sacrifice to help us preserve the liberties we often take for granted. There are many men and women returning to civilian life burdened and battered by the trauma of war. Their families also feel the psychological effects of having a loved one on in battle.
I think of this and I wonder, “What can I do to show my appreciation? How can I help?”
And then a new partnership presented itself, giving me the chance to give back! For the past several months, I have had the incredible opportunity to help out many post-combat veterans through what I know best, music! With a team of music therapists from Roman Music Therapy Services, I have been able to act in support of a new clinical program called “Home Base.”
Dedicated to Healing
Home Base is a program run through Massachusetts General Hospital (M.G.H.) and the Red Sox Foundation. It involves an intensive 2-week clinical program to help post-combat veterans suffering from PTSD, TBI(Traumatic Brain Injury) and other psychological disorders brought on by their experiences. The range and intensity of therapies and interventions in this program are vast. Music was brought on board to help transition the veterans and their families into the program.
By leading two group drumming experiences per clinical period, we have been able to help promote community by building trust and camaraderie among the veterans, families and staff members. Simultaneously, we are working to reduce the anxiety and stress related to being part of such a program. Since February of this year, we have served 30 veterans, 21 family members and 6 staff members.
Serving Veterans and Families
At the end of each drum circle, we invite the group members to provide us with their reflections on the experience by writing them down on index cards. The following quotes are from the veterans and their family members:
“Cohesive; Barrier crossing”
“Total transformation of everyone’s attitude. Everyone was closer and more open.”
“This was a powerful way to see how we (strangers) can work together.”
“This was a great way to bring the group together right off the bat. Perfect icebreaker. Also really nice to play some music again.”
“Fun! Great way to get to know each other. Fun to watch other people have fun.”
“Nice to be able to share a side with family that isn’t all gloom and doom.”
While our contribution to the overall treatment plan could be considered small, the feedback from those experiencing these musical moments shows that it provides an essential amount of balance and relief during their strenuous journeys. As far as I’m concerned, I am honored to provide a service that can bring smiles and laughter to people that are fighting and coping with a very real and difficult battle everyday.
We are often asked about how music therapy in the schools works. Under IDEA, music therapy can be included in special education through various types of delivery including programmatic services, individual or group direct services, and consultation.
In this video blog, our Board Certified Music Therapist, Kristina Rio sat down with special education teacher, Bonnie Albanese, to discuss how music therapy has impacted her students and paraprofessionals. Her students have had music therapy in the classroom since September of 2013 as a programmatic service, with sessions focusing on shared goals. They are currently working with another music therapist on our team, Mary Kerrigan, and you will get to see her making music with the students.
A very special thank you to the Lynnfield Public School administrators, teachers, students and parents for their help in creating this video!
In my work I am fortunate to encounter many “magical musical moments” with so many different people.
I’d like to share one particular moment working with a group of seniors with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This particular group meets weekly for music therapy on the skilled nursing floor. There are 12 participants that join the group each week along with interchangeable staff members. The entire group, staff included, love the music therapy group! They sing the songs between sessions together, and have learned and utilized musical tools for specific individuals needs to support communication and positive behaviors. And it’s a mood booster for everyone!
One particular resident has had some great “magical musical moments” in the music therapy groups. She has later stage dementia and this has affected her communication abilities. She is generally very quiet, never initiates speech, and rarely answers questions verbally. Her peers notice her quiet nature. They say things like “Come on say something” or “She won’t tell you anything” and become frustrated by her lack of what they perceive as presence.
Music Can be Its Own Language
In our music therapy groups this woman is greeted by her peers in a supportive way because I, as the music therapist, model how we treat our peers of all abilities. Remarkably with music she can access her speech again. During one music therapy group I left a pause in the hello song I use every week where the lyric “beautiful” was supposed to be sung. She immediately sang “beautiful” with just one pause. The other seniors smiled and cheered for her! From there she sang missing lyrics from all familiar songs and answered simple sung questions such as “How are you today?” Many of her peers commented after the session how wonderful it was that music could reach her in this way. Not only did she benefit from the musical stimuli but her peers saw her as a person again, something totally invaluable as a human being and especially as a human being with a disease such as dementia.
Her caregiver noticed such a difference in her when music was present that she purchased an iPod and asked me what music she should add to her playlists to help support and connect with her. Music is utilized throughout her day to connect with others and express herself. And this is just one reason why I love my job. I get to witness, experience, and create these amazing “magical music moments” that can change a life for the better.
If you are interested in learning more about how music therapy can benefit seniors, read more.
Drum Circle+ is a drum circle facilitated by a Board Certified Music Therapist from Roman Music Therapy Services. In one of our events, you will get all of the benefits of drumming including reducing stress, improving physical health and wellness, increasing brain functioning and building community.
Research suggests music can enhance brain functioning in the moment and over time. This is useful for a wide range of individuals and groups. Our music therapists are able to meet your group’s unique needs, whether it be for staff wellness or development, a professional workshop or an energizing community event.
Watching a Drum Circle+ in action.
To give you an idea of what happens at a Roman Music Therapy Services Drum Circle+ event, check out the video below from the Malden Access Television Open House Showcase. In this interactive and engaging drum circles for all ages, we explore one of the oldest known instruments. The Music Therapists of Roman Music Therapy Services use the drum circle to engage everyone in fun-filled and purposeful music making that can leave a lasting impression!
Recorded May 16, 2015, at MATV’s 9th annual Open House Showcase.
Call usto learn more about how we can create a Drum Circle+ experience to meet your needs.
As parents and caregivers, we are always looking for activities to do with our children that are fun and enriching! With all of the demands facing today’s families, it can be difficult to take time out of our busy schedules for fun, but it truly is an investment that will pay off!
One mom, Christina LaRock, who has taken our Sprouting Melodies classes with her daughter, faced the same questions as many moms do. What can I do with my child that will be fun and rewarding for us both? Of her experience at Sprouting Melodies, Christina says “If Sprouting Melodies were a financial vehicle for investments, your ‘return on investment’ would be a sure thing, a true win!
Sprouting Melodies® is a unique program offered by Roman Music Therapists for children and their caregivers, ages 0-5. With Board Certified Music Therapists leading classes, Sprouting Melodies focuses to create child-centered musical experiences that integrate what they know about young children, development and music!
An Investment in Connections
What makes Sprouting Melodies stand out is not only our focus on children and their expression through music, but the connections they are making with their caregivers and peers. Christina has seen the rewards of that connection. She says,
“When my daughter — who was 22 months old at the time — and I attended a Sprouting Melodies class, I thought it was going to be a fun way to engage my daughter in music and movement. More than enough reason to go! It sure was fun! What I hadn’t anticipated was that the benefits to her would be much, much more than that!”
Reaping the Rewards
Christina experienced firsthand how the classes stimulate and enhance musical, social, physical, and emotional growth and development. She says that her daughter “learned in more meaningful ways what cooperative play is, how to share and take turns more effectively, how to use music as a vehicle to express her emotions. She also gained confidence and self-esteem by being in and sharing the spotlight, exploring different instruments and building an authentic, caring relationship with our Sprouting Melodies leader, Laura!
What distinguishes our Sprouting Melodies Providers™ from others is their expertise in music therapy and special training in early childhood development. Our team is uniquely qualified to accommodate the needs of individual children within groups. They also strive to teach parents how music can strengthen bonds, engage cooperation and transform situations within the family
If that wasn’t enough, what was even more amazing was how I, and my whole family, benefited from what we learned organically through Sprouting Melodies. All the while having a lot of fun! I learned songs to help ease those times when frustration would get the better of me (or my daughter). I learned how that not just listening to music — but making music –sparked a curiosity in musical instruments, patterns and body awareness in my daughter that has provided hours of fun at home together! And, in making music alongside my daughter, I had fun and met other local parents. To this very day, I sing the songs with my daughter that not only are fun & silly but truly help me be a better parent!”
Lessons That Stick
The investment of music is one that lasts. Christina finishes, “I asked my daughter, who just turned 5 years old, what her favorite memory of Sprouting Melodies is. She gave me a huge smile and ran to get her ukulele. Without missing a beat, she started singing “oh gather round, come and sing with me”. The music and the lessons remain … we’re still reaping the benefits!”
Roman Music Therapy Services has been providing Sprouting Melodies® classes to area families for over six years. With a loyal following, some children who are now in pre-K have been with us since their early infant days! Many parents and families have made connections with one another through the classes they attended.
Our Winter II Sprouting Melodies Sessions have just started and run for six weeks. Register today to start making music and connections with your little one!
As music therapists, we use music to help people with varying needs access their full potential and grow through the music. Some of the benefits of using music are that it is motivating and can help to stimulate and focus a person’s attention. This is in part due to the repetitious nature of music.
In this video,Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis talks about the “exposure effect” and how repetition invites us in to participate in the music instead of just passively listening.
Thank you, Kristina Rio, for sharing this interesting and thought-provoking TED Talk!
We can share the benefits of music therapy with your team, group or organization. If you are interested in a participatory music event, review our website for ideas.
Horace Mann Educational Associates, HMEA, in Franklin, MA supports children and adults with developmental disabilities to over 110 communities within Massachusetts, providing innovative services in school, at home, at work and in the community. Music therapy programs were included among the programs HMEA provided, and the programs had a great reception from the community. Unfortunately, when funding ran out, the program was stopped.
Douglas MacPherson, the Vice President of Development and Public Relations for HMEA, knew that music therapy programs were needed by the community and he wanted to find a way to continue to offer music therapy programs.
And find a way he did. First, Mr MacPherson and his team applied to the Music Drives Us Foundation out of Dedham, founded by Ernie Boch Jr., a musician in his own right. They approved the funding on HMEA’s first request and awarded HMEA a check and plaque.
At this year’s Home for the Holidays the music therapists from Roman Music Therapy Services joined the Melrose community in leading music before lighting the tree. This year BOARD CERTIFIED MUSIC THERAPIST Laura Micheli asked her Sprouting Melodies 4 class what songs they would like to sing at the Tree Lighting.
Sprouting Melodies is Roman Music Therapy’s early childhood music program for children ages 0-6 years. Sprouting Melodies 4 is designed for children between the ages of two and a half to four years. All the children from class were able to attend the Tree Lighting and joined the music therapists on microphones to sing “Frosty the Snowman”. The children especially loved singing the “Thumpity Thump Thump” lyrics faster and faster as practiced in class.
All the families of Melrose sang together until the tree was lit like magic! Then the music continued as families made their way down Main Street to greet Santa! It was a Magical Musical Night to remember!
Make sure to have music be a part of your holiday tradition to create special memories to pass on between the generations!