My career in the arts and education began at age 8 when I joined a large community chorus in Westerly, Rhode Island. While attending the intensely focused and small conservatory centered Westminster Choir College in Princeton, New Jersey, I was privileged to sing many performances in New York City and Philadelphia with legendary conductors, including Zubin Mehta, Riccardo Muti and Leonard Bernstein.
After completing a bachelor’s in music education, I earned a master’s degree in music therapy at Florida State University. With a strict classical music education background, I found a new world of the arts and broadened my skill set, while becoming a board certified music therapist. From Florida State University, I joined a newly formed music therapy program in Fulton County Schools in Georgia. I was the second music therapist hired and I helped build this program over time, assisting in the development of a music therapy internship program and becoming an internship supervisor.
I started Music Blooms Music Therapy, LLC after moving to Vermont in 2001. As a music therapist, I communicate and collaborate with varied team members throughout a variety of clinical settings. I work with parents, administrators, teachers, specialists and related therapists (physical therapists, occupational therapists, speech and language pathologists, etc.) to create the highest level of music therapy intervention. I am a contributing author to a textbook in the music therapy profession, specifically relating to developing music therapy programs in the educational setting and I have research published in the Journal of Music Therapy.
I have a lifelong passion and dedication to children and music. This has been my life’s work – bringing music, and the benefits of experience with music, to people of all ages, backgrounds and abilities, but in particular to children. My greatest thrills with music have not come as a performer or a consumer, although both have brought me great happiness. My deepest joy has come from witnessing someone moved, touched or inspired by an experience with music — a smile from playing an instrument, a tear shed connecting to the words of a song, or witnessing somebody who can’t help but boogie to a musical beat.
In addition to life as a music therapist, I enjoy reading, hiking and travel. My favorite things are my kids, time by the ocean and long walks with my Golden Retriever, Lola.
I’m originally from Rochester, NY, and I was raised bi-culturally by my parents who are both from Puerto Rico. Music was always an important part of my life growing up. I come from a musical family where sharing music, especially around holidays and celebrations, was always essential. I began my formal musical training when I started taking voice lessons at age 13. I hold a Bachelors of Arts in Communication from SUNY Geneseo and a Bachelors of Music in Music Therapy from Queens University of Charlotte in Charlotte, NC. I discovered music therapy as I was looking for a more rewarding career where I could combine my love for music with my desire to help others.
After completing my coursework at Queens, I completed a professional internship using music therapy to address the end-of-life needs of patients at MJHS Hospice & Palliative Care in New York, NY. My internship gave me the opportunity to hone my therapeutic skills and use my Spanish-speaking skills with a culturally diverse clientele. In addition to my experience working in hospice, I also have experience working with older adults with Alzheimer’s/dementia, bereaved children, and children and adults with special needs.
So far there have been many strong influences in my career. Dr. Rebecca Engen’s on-going support and guidance throughout my academic coursework was invaluable. The work of Russell Hilliard, PhD, MT-BC has also been a significant influence in my career, particularly within my work in end-of-life care. Additionally, Jennifer DeBedout, MM, MT-BC has provided me with invaluable guidance and insight within my current position.
I am thrilled to be a part of Music Blooms Music Therapy, LLC and the growth of music therapy services in Vermont.
A native Vermonter, I left the state at age 18 to study music therapy in Wolfville, Nova Scotia, and Toronto, Ontario subsequently returned in 2012 to seek employment in my field.
I am a violinist primarily by training but have studied piano, voice and guitar. I additionally have training in theatre, theatre tech, and dance. I value the ability to find humor in the creative process. I love playing giant drums, ensemble playing, improvised songs and the incredible healing potential and versatility of music. I am very curious about the neurological underpinnings of music’s effect on the brain and have been actively exploring the applications of John Kabat-Zinn’s work to music therapy.
My therapeutic interests range from trauma, autism and teen mental health to LGBTQ issues and anxiety management. My clinical experience includes work with children ages 0-12 in a rehabilitation hospital in metro Toronto to collaboration with multidisciplinary teams to facilitate social skills and speech in small children with autism in smaller communities.
I come to Music Blooms Music Therapy, LLC from a three year clinical/teaching stint at an alternative school for k-12 children with behavioral issues and I am very excited to be part of the team!
My first musical memories are dancing around to my mother playing piano. This later evolved into participating in band, orchestra, and chorus throughout my childhood and adolescence. My primary instrument and first love is bassoon. I have since learned guitar, ukulele, and piano.
I received my Bachelor’s of Music Education in Music Therapy from the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio and completed my clinical internship at two hospitals with the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. While at Western Psychiatric Institute and Clinic, I worked with children, adolescents, and adults with mood disorders, intellectual/developmental disabilities, substance abuse, trauma history, schizophrenia, and eating disorders. This has sparked my interest in research on how music therapy compliments psycho-educational therapies such as Dialectical Behavior Therapy and Cognitive Behavior Therapy.
At the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, I provided patients and families with procedural support and bedside sessions including work in neo-natal and pediatric intensive care units and in-patient rehabilitation. Co-treating with physical, occupational, and speech therapy helped me to realize my overall interest in the collaboration of music therapist with other health/wellness professionals. Additionally, I have experience working with older adults with Alzheimer’s and Dementia, adults with special needs, palliative and supportive care, and in outpatient counseling settings.
Having been born and raised in Vermont, I am excited to be able to return to the state to join Music Blooms Music Therapy, LLC! I look forward to helping all members of our community grow and flourish.