“I Write the Songs”

“I am music and I write the songs.”
– Barry Manilow

This November, our team had the distinct honor of leading a Music Therapy and Songwriting Retreat for Veterans with PTSD. This program was created by Music Therapy of the Rockies, a 501c3 who leads music therapy retreats nationwide for those healing from trauma.

Each retreat includes a weekend of music therapy, songwriter breakout sessions, and ends with a concert, in which the participants and their songwriters present the original song they wrote together. When the hardest parts of ones story are made into something creative and beautiful, like a song, the participants get to share their story – finally – from a place of control over it. Time and time again, it remains a powerful and beautiful thing.

We have known Music Therapy of the Rockies for four years now, and we remain honored to continue advancing their organizational mission. You can check out all of the great things they are doing here.

2022-11-17T15:07:56+00:00November 17th, 2022|Atlanta, Mental Health, MT Advocacy, Veterans, We Can Help, Wellness|

Welcome, Katherine!

Here at MMT, we have had a busy summer full of group and individual sessions, and many camps! We also brought in a new team member, Katherine Dukes!

Katherine grew up in Clarkesville, GA, and attended the University of Georgia where she received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. She values the intentionality of music experiences to enhance connections and encourage individual growth and expression. Katherine is excited to be back in Georgia as a member of the Metro Music Therapy team and looks forward to working with her clients and their families.

We are so thrilled that Katherine has joined our team! Be sure to say hi if you see her around the office or while she is out in the city providing services!

Welcome, Kiele!

We are so excited to announce that Kiele Kaupe, formerly our music therapy intern, is now here to stay with MMT! Kiele recently passed her board certification exam and is our newest MT-BC on the the team. If you haven’t had a chance to meet Kiele yet, we promise you will want to soon! She is a ray of sunshine and we are all so happy to have her on the the MMT team!

You can read more about Kiele here.

Bailey’s Bell Choir

It has a nice RING to it, doesn’t it? 😉

We know some of you are already dreaming of summer, but we didn’t want to miss the chance to share this awesome Bell Choir performance of Silent Night! Bailey has loved leading this Bell Choir in North Carolina. We hope you enjoy!

Helpful or Harmful?

When our team presents to a room of healthcare professionals, one of our biggest points that we drive home is the simple fact that, if we believe music holds the power to help us, then we must acknowledge that it also holds the power to harm us, if and when it is used incorrectly.

Think about it for a minute – if music can positively influence our heart rate, breathing patterns, feelings, and emotions, then music can also negatively influence our heart rate, breathing patterns, feelings and emotions!

Even though introducing music as a treatment option in the healthcare setting is much less invasive or costly than introducing a drug/medicine, scalpel, or some sort of painful physical exertion, if any element of the music is introduced in an inappropriate way for the moment or environment, then it can cause stress, anxiety, aggravation, and can open the floodgates of emotions. Opening the floodgates can be a great thing – but it is important to do so in a safe, therapeutic setting, which is what Music Therapists do best.

How can music be inappropriate to the moment or environment? A few simple answers include: timing, tempo, volume, instrument selection, genre of music, song selection, history of song, pitch and key of song, placement of sound source, and the overall timbre of the music being played. If some of these elements don’t sound simple, but instead very complicated to you, don’t worry! Music therapists are equal parts trained musician and trained therapist — because the MUSIC and the THERAPY are equally important!

We often hear statements like, “Oh we have music therapy in our facility — we have a harpist who plays in the foyer!” And while we truly love that patients have access to music that they may enjoy, we always want to gently remind our audience that music therapy is a clinical treatment option which is provided by a trained and board-certified Music Therapist (“MT-BC”). So while the harpist may be the best at their craft, if they are not an MT-BC, then the music they are providing is not music therapy. And what if a patient is being subjected to music that they don’t like? What if harp music causes agitation, anxiety, or even triggers an emotion or memory that a patient who is isolated in their room needs assistance processing? When not carefully curated and presented, simply stated, music can be harmful.

If you have questions about how to safely incorporate music into your healthcare setting, we can help! Please consult and hire a Music Therapist; and while we would love for it to be us, we understand if you go elsewhere — just make sure they are a Board-Certified Music Therapist who is credentialed by the Certification Board for Music Therapists — and in states like Georgia, be sure they also have their state license to practice!

All MT-BCs should have the below badge readily available to show to you, and should also have a 5-digit certification number. You can also look up certification status of any music therapist here.

The Impact of Songwriting for Veterans

Metro Music Therapy has the privilege of working with numerous impactful organizations who strive to make a difference in the lives of others. One organization that MMT has a long standing relationship with is Music Therapy of the Rockies located in Colorado. Music Therapy of the Rockies mission is to provide quality services and life-changing opportunities for veterans across the country. As part of this initiative, Music Therapy of the Rockies began songwriting retreats for veterans who suffer from PTSD and other service-related injuries. The retreats originated in Nashville, TN on Amy Grant’s farm where they remain each year. 

Mallory Even, Owner and Founder of MMT, and Laura Lenz, Assistant Director, have been fortunate enough to attend multiple veteran songwriting retreats in both Nashville and Atlanta. Each retreat is a two and a half day experience consisting of music therapy groups and songwriting sessions with a professional songwriter telling the veteran’s original story. Mallory Even shared that “veterans learn to play guitar and receive a guitar to keep” once the retreat finishes. “The entire weekend ends with a concert in which each veteran’s song is showcased” says Even. 

So, how does music therapy play a direct role in each songwriting retreat? “Music therapy is integral to the entire weekend and to the schedule and set up of the retreats” shared Even. Laura Lenz shared that “Board-certified music therapists are trained to recognize and support the veterans’ experiences in such a way that their safety and well-being is always at the forefront.” Music therapists apply their training in recognizing and understanding the neurological aspects of PTSD, anxiety, depression, and Traumatic Brain Injuries to structure the musical experience for the benefit of the veteran. Application of counseling skills and facilitating the veteran’s experience in a comfortable, safe environment ensures a successful songwriting session.  

When asked why this experience is so beneficial to veterans, Mallory stated that “when veterans share their story through song, they own a piece of it that they may never have been able to before, and tell it in a way that is their choice.” Those involved in the weekend activities offer a safe, non-judgmental environment to offer the ability to share some of their darkest and hardest stories to tell. “This process can be very healing not only in the moment, but long-term” says Even. When looking at the long-term benefits, there have been countless accounts from attendees of praise and gratitude for the veterans songwriting retreats. “Music Therapy of the Rockies is engaging in research to take brain images before a retreat and then the same images of the same veteran six months after a retreat…their preliminary results are showing increased blood flow in the brain and Music Therapy of the Rockies truly believes this is the physiological benefit of the retreat experience” Mallory shared. In addition, Laura mentioned that she has spoken to many of the veterans post-retreat and there is a “universal expression of appreciation for the tools they are taught during these retreats such as using their guitars to help them through stressful times and utilizing the techniques of music and relaxation throughout their day.” 

Freely sharing and letting the music write difficult stories is a beautiful, heartfelt process to watch for all involved. It’s hard to pinpoint one specific highlight of each retreat, but Mallory states that “it’s the people, hands down! The music therapists, the veterans, and the songwriters.” While Laura agrees, she adds that “it is one of the highest honors of my life to be allowed the opportunity to be a tiny part of being in the presence of these remarkable people whose stories are told in such a glorious way through the songwriters’ talent and compassion along with the music therapists who are so dedicated to the entirety of the people and process.” 

We are forever grateful to work alongside Music Therapy of the Rockies and be a part of their amazing work for our veterans. Metro is also fortunate to host our own retreats in the Atlanta area which are graciously funded, planned, and led by Music Therapy of the Rockies. We, at Metro Music Therapy, continue to live by our mission statement of, “We Can Help.” Our team members are dedicated to making a positive impact in the lives of those who sacrificed so much. We try to accurately express our thoughts and emotions upon attending veteran songwriting retreats, but as Laura beautifully said, “words truly don’t capture the experience.”

 

Interdisciplinary Care is Key

Music therapists are able to work in a variety of settings. School systems, hospitals, private practice, correctional facilities, nursing homes/assisted living centers, hospice facilities, psychiatric hospitals, and veteran-care centers are some of the most common locations music therapists provide services. Did you know that music therapists co-treat with numerous professionals on a treatment team? This collaboration between professionals allows for the client to receive the best services possible. 

What does co-treating look like for a music therapist? It’s a music therapists job to share their knowledge on the profession for the benefit of the client. This can include sharing client progress at a treatment team meeting or receiving updated patient information to adapt the intended music therapy session to best meet the clients needs. Music therapists understand and respect that each member of the treatment team plays an important role in the delivery of services to the client. 

Music therapists often work alongside other therapists (Speech, Occupational, Physical, Activity, etc.), nurses, social workers, chaplains, counselors, and doctors to ensure the client’s care is at the forefront. In collaborating with these professionals, music therapists are able to remain up to date with the proper documentation and notes necessary to provide high-quality services. A treatment team is a necessity for excellent patient care and provides well-rounded expertise from multiple domains. 

Songs of Hope Funding Update

It is with heavy hearts that we share the news that Wellspring International, the sole funding source for our Songs of Hope program, has been closed by their parent organization. With this news comes the harsh reality that we have to suspend the music therapy services provided through our Songs of Hope program beginning October 1, 2021.

While we grieve the closing of this chapter, please know that our team remains committed and dedicated to the calling which we have and will always follow: to leverage the transformative power of music to bring healing during life’s most trying seasons, and to do so with professionalism, excellence, warmth and compassion.

Who does this Impact?
For the last six years, Songs of Hope has provided music therapy services to:

  • Refugees who have resettled in the Atlanta area
  • Children experiencing Grief & Loss
  • Elderly shut-ins
  • Veterans with PTSD
  • Hospice & Palliative Care patients

Do you want to see these services continue?
If you or someone you know would like to financially contribute to the continuation of the Songs of Hope program, please contact us to find out how to give a tax-deductible donation to one of our partner organizations who will ensure your donation goes to Songs of Hope, or ask us about our ability to receive scholarship donations directly through Zelle (these are not tax-deductible as Metro Music Therapy is not a 501c3).

Thank you for your belief in our work, and for your continued support of Metro Music Therapy and the Songs of Hope program.

MMT Intern Introduction!

Metro Music Therapy is pleased to introduce our newest music therapy intern, Kiele Kaupe! 

Kiele, a Georgia native, is currently finishing up her Music Therapy degree from Georgia College and State University. Her primary instruments are the euphonium and trombone, but she enjoys playing the guitar and ukulele as well! Kiele has experience working with a variety of populations throughout her schooling including older adults in assisted living and memory care, adults with intellectual disabilities, and children with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).  

When asked what she is most excited for during her MMT internship, Kiele stated that she is looking forward to working with the numerous populations MMT has the privilege of serving weekly! The ability to share music therapy with the metro Atlanta area and surrounding communities drew Kiele to MMT. Kiele said that she “loves the overall energy, excitement, and caring nature the MMT company has” which solidified her choice in becoming part of our team.

In her free time, Kiele enjoys reading books, watching movies, and practicing yoga. She loves road trips and discovering new places with friends. One fun fact about Kiele…she loves watching Bob Ross videos even though she doesn’t know how to paint! 

We are so happy to have Kiele with us the next six months! Stay tuned for updates!

Creativity Creates Continuity

It’s no secret that the Covid-19 pandemic caused a drastic shift in our everyday living. Zoom calls, working remotely, and social distancing quickly became part of our lives. The music therapy profession was also in constant flux. Music therapists were required to think outside of the box if clients were going to continue to be served. Music therapist’s creativity was tested like never before!

While the pandemic was and still is a challenge, the field of music therapy has continued to grow. Metro was able to reach new clients that were not possible pre-pandemic. Thanks to the addition of telehealth via Zoom, clients throughout the U.S. and internationally have the ability to receive music therapy services from our Metro team! The Covid-19 pandemic showed us that there are no boundaries for music therapy, and for that we are grateful. 

So, how do music therapists use technology? The options are endless! Whether sessions be in person or via telehealth, iPads, cell phones, computers, speakers, and instrumental tuners are commonly used technology resources. Such technology aids in session continuity. Chord charts, metronomes, and music streaming apps are easily accessible to a music therapist and help us focus the session on the client’s needs. iPad apps are easily downloaded to aid in therapy sessions. Depending on the client’s preferences, apps like music beat makers, visual aids, song creators, virtual instruments, and music game-based activities create a fun and goal-centered session. While the world of technology keeps evolving, so does our field! The music therapists at Metro continue to find innovative ways to provide the best services possible in an ever-changing world. 

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