Amy Kalas Buser, MM, MT-BC Clinical Experience

Music Therapist and Director – Wholesome Harmonies, LLC

Private individual and group clients; Miami, FL,  January 2007 – Present

  • Services provided include: individual and group music therapy services, as well as traditional and adapted music lessons on guitar, piano, voice and drum. NMT techniques are used to address the cognitive, communication, social/emotional, and motor/physical needs of children and teens with special needs.
  • Providing consultations to music therapists on business and clinical practice.
  • Creating resources (E-Books, songs and sheet music) for music therapists.
  • Providing services for the following programs and organizations:
    • Friendship Circle Miami – Children’s Circle, Tween Circle and Teen Scene
    • Down Syndrome Association of Miami – Children’s Group and Totally Tween Group
    • Miami-Dade County Public Library System & Brockway Memorial Library – Providing Rockin’ and Readin’ music sessions to children to target early literacy skills and educate parents on the benefits of music therapy; providing Baby & Toddler Rock Mommy & Me music sessions.
    • All Kids Included Festival (2007, 2010, 2014) – Providing a full day of music therapy interventions for children and teens with and without special needs.
    • UM-CARD (University of Miami – Center for Autism and Related Disabilities) – Providing music sessions to children with autism to teach joint attention skills.

Interim Professor of Music Therapy

University of Miami, Frost School of Music; Miami, FL,  2013 – 2014

  • Teaching the upper-level courses “Music and Development” and “Music and Rehabilitation”; supervising clinical practicum students; organizing music therapy forum presentations and guest lectures.

Music Therapist

United Cerebral Palsy of Miami; Miami, FL,  2006 – 2013

  • Early Beginnings Academy (2006-2013) – Providing individual and group music therapy, as well as co-treatment sessions (with speech and occupational therapy) for children (birth – age 7) with special needs. Writing original songs and developing creative music therapy interventions to address the cognitive, social/emotional, motor/physical, and communication needs of the children. Emphasis is placed on the practice of NMT techniques within the music therapy sessions.
  • Adult Day Program (November – December 2009) – Developing and running a part-time music therapy program for the Adult Program at UCP, which led to the hiring of a full-time music therapist. Using original songs and music therapy interventions to work on increasing socialization, self-help skills, and knowledge of academic concepts, and to work on improving gross and fine motor skills.
  • Diamond Minds Program (June – December 2006) – Providing group music therapy sessions for at-risk adolescents in the Diamond Minds program – using African drumming to work on increasing attention span, impulse control, executive function, social skills, and leadership skills.

Clinical Training Director for Internship Program

United Cerebral Palsy of Miami – Early Beginnings Academy; Miami, FL,  January 2008 – December 2013

  • Developing and running all aspects of the internship program, including: recruiting, auditioning, and interviewing interns; maintaining the internship website; supervising interns by observing and providing feedback on music therapy sessions; assigning and grading academic work; collaborating on special projects and musical presentations with the children.

Clinical Practicum Supervisor


United Cerebral Palsy of Miami – Early Beginnings Academy; Miami, FL,  January 2007 – May 2013

  • Supervising music therapy practicum students from University of Miami by observing and providing feedback on music therapy sessions; and reviewing and correcting Weekly Session Plans.

Music Therapy Teaching Assistant


University of Miami; Coral Gables, FL, August 2008 – May 2010

  • Teaching Introduction to Music Therapy – including the preparation and presentation of lectures, power points, and exams.
  • Providing Academic Supervision for practicum students by grading their academic work – including Assessment Reports, Weekly Session Plans, CARE Notes, and Final Reports.
  • Assisting in the running of the Music Therapy program by organizing the instrument resource room and other duties.

Music Teacher


Immaculate Conception School (Grades K-8); New Oxford, PA,  January 2006 – May 2006

  • Teaching classroom music to students; directing choir and facilitating choir performances; and teaching private piano and guitar lessons.

Research Assistant


Music Therapy Program at University of Miami; Coral Gables, FL, August 2004 – January 2005, August 2006

  • Aiding music therapy program director with research studies by coding data.

Matheny Medical and Educational Center; Peapack, NJ, July – December 2005

  • Population: Children, adolescents, and adults with severe and profound intellectual and physical disabilities (Cerebral palsy, spina bifida, Lesch-Nyhan syndrome, and intellectual disability)
  • Responsibilities: Working as part of an interdisciplinary team to develop and implement individual and group music therapy interventions to target communication, cognitive, sensorimotor, relaxation and social/emotional goals; preparing and facilitating various choir performances and field trips with the individuals.

Jackson Memorial Hospital, Holtz Children’s Center; Miami, FL,  Spring 2010

  • Population: Children and adolescents (birth – age 18) on the Pediatric Transplant Surgical Unit (PTSU); children (ages 3-10) in the Outpatient Rehabilitation Center
  • Responsibilities: Assessing client needs and implementing music therapy to provide developmental and sensory stimulation, increase self-expression, and promote relaxation; co-treating with speech therapists and physical therapists to work on treatment goals.

Mailman Center for Childhood Development; Miami, FL,  Spring 2005

  • Population: Children (birth – age 5) with severe and profound intellectual and physical disabilities
  • Responsibilities: Composing original songs and developing creative music therapy interventions to target sensorimotor and cognitive goals in a group and individual setting.

Creative Children Therapy; Kendall, FL,  Fall 2004

  • Population: Children (ages 3-6) with Cerebral palsy, Down syndrome and Autism Spectrum Disorder
  • Responsibilities: Composing original songs and developing creative music therapy interventions to target sensorimotor, social/emotional, communication, and cognitive goals in a group setting while co-treating with other therapies.

Women’s Center at Jackson Memorial Hospital; Miami, FL,  Spring 2004

  • Population: Women undergoing gynecologic and gynecologic oncology surgery
  • Responsibilities: Developing music-assisted progressive muscle relaxation script and administering to patients post-surgery to facilitate relaxation and assist in pain management.

Veteran’s Administration Hospital; Miami, FL, Fall 2003

  • Population: Adult war veterans diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, Schizophrenia, Anxiety Disorder, and Depression
  • Responsibilities: Facilitating songwriting, as well as therapeutic group singing with instrument playing followed by discussion and lyric analysis to target social/emotional goals.

West Lab Elementary School; Coral Gables, FL, Spring 2003

  • Population: Sixth grade children with learning disabilities and Attention Deficit Disorder
  • Responsibilities: Designing interventions to help children express themselves by writing, producing, and recording their own rap song with the positive theme “Think Before You Act.”

Claridge House Nursing Home; North Miami, FL, Fall 2002

  • Population: Elderly adults with Parkinson’s disease, Cerebral palsy, Depression, and Dementia
  • Responsibilities: Planning and coordinating group therapeutic music experiences to address cognitive, motor, social, and communication skills.

Barton G. Kids Hear Now Foundation at University of Miami Department of Otolaryngology – Providing music sessions to children with cochlear implants and educating parents about music therapy during Family Night.

Public Relations Committee
 – American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) National Conference; Jacksonville, FL, 2013

Social Media Committee
 – American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) National Conference; Jacksonville, FL, 2013

Certifications, Memberships, & Awards

cause-for-applause-amy-kalas-musicBoard-Certified Music Therapist (#07866)
Certification Board for Music Therapists (CBMT)
2006 – Present

Professional Member
American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)
2006 – Present

Trained in CPR and First Aid
2006 – Present

Awards
Employee of the Year (2009, 2012) – United Cerebral Palsy
Employee of the Quarter (2007, 2008, 2010) – United Cerebral Palsy
Cause for Applause Award (2013)
Outstanding Senior in Music Therapy Award (2005) – University of Miami
Intern Scholarship Award (2005) – American Music Therapy Association (AMTA)

Music Therapy Presentations

Amy has given presentations on a myriad of topics related to music therapy and its applications to various populations. Click here to contact Amy about setting up a music therapy presentation at your facility.

Music Therapy at United Cerebral Palsy

February 2009, January 2010

This presentation covered the use of music therapy with children with special needs at United Cerebral Palsy. The presentation included live musical demonstrations, as well as a discussion of goals that are addressed with this population and the scientific logic that supports the Neurologic Music Therapy interventions used.

 “Music Therapy with Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder

October 2008

This presentation covered Autism Spectrum Disorder and the use of music therapy with this population.

Life as an Intern at Matheny Medical and Educational Center

February 2007, September 2008

During this presentation Amy discussed her personal internship experience at Matheny Medical and Educational Center, working with individuals with severe physical disabilities. She discussed goals that were addressed with this population and interventions that were used, and showed video clips of musical performances.

Presentation of Master’s Thesis

April 2010, October 2010

During this presentation, Amy discussed her master’s thesis entitled: “Joint Attention Responses of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Simple versus Complex Music.”

“Presentation of Graduate Practicum”

October 2010

During this presentation Amy discussed her graduate practicum at Jackson Memorial Hospital, working with children in the Pediatric Transplant Surgical Unity and Outpatient Rehabilitation Center. The presentation included video clips, as well as discussion of goals and treatment planning for this population.

What is Music Therapy All About?”

October 2010

This presentation answered the following questions: What is music therapy? What do music therapists do? Where do music therapists work? And what populations can benefit from music therapy? The presentation discussed treatment goals and specific interventions for various populations. The presentation also included video clips, live and interactive musical demonstrations, and power point, as well as handouts and various take home information. Additionally, ideas for how parents, caregivers, and professionals can use music with their own children were presented.

“Presentation of Graduate Practicum”

September 2010

During this presentation Amy discussed her graduate practicum at Jackson Memorial Hospital, working with children in the Pediatric Transplant Surgical Unity and Outpatient Rehabilitation Center. The presentation included video clips, as well as discussion of goals and treatment planning for this population.

“How Music Therapy Supports the Academic Curriculum”

August 2011

This presentation covered the following topics: how music therapy supports the academic curriculum and other therapies in a school setting; why music is an effective medium for therapy; and the scientific logic behind the neurologic music therapy techniques that are used during sessions. The presentation also included video clips and live musical demonstrations.

“What is Music Therapy?” on Take Your Child to Work Day

April 2010

During this presentation Amy discussed the profession of music therapy, populations served, goal areas addressed, and techniques used. The presentation included live, interactive musical demonstrations.

“Music Therapy for Thought”

October 2007, December 2009

This presentation on music therapy covered domains addressed and specific interventions used for various populations. Additional information and current research from the National Music Therapy conference was presented.

For more information on setting up a music therapy presentation with Amy please click here.

Portfolio

Kalas, A. (2012). Joint attention responses of children with autism spectrum disorder to simple versus complex music. Journal of Music Therapy49 (4), 430-452.

Directions Magazine “Exploring Music Therapy for Children and Adolescents with Special Needs” June/July 2012

 

Guest post for Music Therapy Annex  Kickstart Your Creativity for Session Planning  September 27, 2012

Music therapy article for Specialneeds.com  Connecting Music Therapy and Autism  April 17, 2012

Guest post for Music Therapy Maven  Show Us What You Got: Tips for Shining Throughout the Internship Application Process  November 16, 2011

Master’s Thesis, University of Miami “Joint Attention Responses of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Simple Versus Complex Music” May 2010

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Autism + Special Need: The FUNdamentals Online Continuing Education Course offered at MusicTherapyEd.com

Click here to find out more information about the course!

In the News

Friendship-Circle

Community Newspapers – Pinecrest Tribune

“Experts Weigh In On the Benefits of The Friendship Circle” May 25, 2012

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Miami Herald

“Music Therapy Soothes Patients Young and Old” March 1, 2012