Music has always been a significant part of my life. I grew up playing piano and clarinet and performing with various wind ensembles and orchestras. In high school, I started a community service program called “Music for Life,” where student musicians visited nursing homes to interact with and perform music for the residents. This program opened my eyes to the many benefits that music can have on the mind, body, and spirit, and 10 years later the program is still going strong!
While researching colleges, I learned about the music therapy program at the University of Miami and found it to be a perfect fit. University of Miami’s program focuses on the study of Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT), which provides insight on the effect music and rhythm can have on motor, cognitive, and speech functions. I received my Bachelor of Music degree in Music Therapy from UM in 2005.
Following graduation, I interned at a residential facility called the Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ. Matheny serves children, adolescents, and adults with severe physical disabilities and medical conditions. During my internship, in addition to leading group and individual music therapy sessions, I had the opportunity to lead vocal choir, MIDI choir, and Open Mic Night, as well as assist with many performances and field trips for the residents.
In 2006, following my internship, I moved back to Miami to start my first job as a music therapist at United Cerebral Palsy (UCP). UCP serves children, adolescents, and adults with a variety of disabilities, including Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down syndrome, Cerebral palsy, intellectual disability, and developmental delay. I serve as the music therapist in UCP’s preschool and charter school, Early Beginnings Academy, working with children birth – age 7 with special needs. I am passionate about my job. I love children and feel music is an ideal medium to work on improvement in many areas, including motor skills, speech and language, social skills, and academic concepts.
In 2008, I began my master’s degree in Music Therapy at University of Miami, while continuing to work full time at UCP. My studies led me to understand more deeply how the brain perceives and responds to music. I have always had a special interest in music’s effect on children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Thus, for my master’s thesis, I investigated “Joint Attention Responses of Children with Autism Spectrum Disorder to Simple versus Complex Music.” Stay tuned because this document is in the process of being submitted for publication!
In addition to pursuing her master’s degree, I also held the position of Teaching Assistant. This position allowed me the opportunity to teach “Introduction to Music Therapy” class and supervise practicum students both clinically and academically. I received her Master’s degree in Music Therapy from UM in 2010. Here I am on graduation day – the HAPPIEST day of my adult life….
Currently, I am continuing to work at UCP, putting into practice everything I have learned from my studies at University of Miami, as well as my practicum and internship experiences. I thoroughly enjoy watching ‘my children’ at UCP grow every day in exciting and surprising ways. In addition to my role as music therapist, I serve as Clinical Training Director for the internship program at UCP and supervise practicum students from University of Miami. I enjoy my supervisory roles and seeing music therapy students improve in the depth of their therapeutic approach. I also serve as a Lecturer for University of Miami and give presentations on various topics related to music therapy.
I started Wholesome Harmonies Music Therapy in 2007, and have been providing music therapy in various settings since then…
* “All Kids Included” Festival at the Miami Children’s Museum
* Early literacy programs through the Miami-Dade County Public Library System
* UCP Diamond Minds working with at-risk teens
* Friendship Circle at the Chabad Center of Kendall
* Down Syndrome Association of Miami
* In-home private music therapy sessions and music lessons
Please contact me if you are interested in learning about the music therapy services I provide.
A significant part of my job in running Wholesome Harmonies is educating the public about what music therapy is and the benefits it can have on many populations. I give various presentations throughout the community about music therapy and very much enjoy spreading the word about its benefits.