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Hi! I’m Andie, the music therapy intern at BKCM for the 23’-24’ school year. I am a music centered and community based music therapist, but as I am a new therapist, I am exploring what that means for me and my community! I have been playing violin since I was six, and have been learning guitar and piano since high school. When not practicing, I love to ride my bike around the city and explore my neighborhood.
Name: Anthony J. Riscica Jr.
I’m from… Long Island City, NY
I became a music therapist in… 2018
I started practicing music therapy at the Conservatory in… 2018
The populations I’ve worked with include… Children on the Autism Spectrum, At-Risk Youth, Adults and Children with Developmental Disabilities, Adult/Adolescent Inpatient Psychiatry, Adolescents with Trauma, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit
The primary population I work with is… At-Risk Youth, Children with Developmental Disabilities
My other clinical specialties: Adaptive Music Lessons
My inspiration: John Bonham, Tony Williams, Stevie Wonder, Albert Einstein, Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Leonardo DaVinci
Few people know that I… Have played trombone since I was 8 years old.
Education: SUNY – Purchase College (Bachelors Degree in Jazz Performance – Drum Set)New York University
I play: Drums, guitar, piano, voice, bass, guitar, vocals (singing and rapping), recording software
My other artistic/musical endeavors: I play drums for the Blue Man Group. I teach private music lessons. I record, engineer, and produce in studios.
Anthony Riscica, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
My parents always say that I have been singing since I was small, that it just seemed natural. I would sit and watch Disney movies, singing along at the foot of their bed. I sang in choirs throughout my childhood and ended up going to high school for music at Edward R. Murrow. I also started taking guitar lessons in high school so that I could accompany myself when performing. Every performance pushed me towards my love for music, but it wasn’t until I was looking into colleges that I realized music therapy was the career I wanted. The idea that I could use something I loved to help and work with others just seemed like a no brainer. My schooling encouraged me to develop a humanistic approach that focuses on meeting clients where they are and taking their lead through our musical journey. I have been a board certified music therapist since 2015 and have mainly worked with preschool age children with developmental and intellectual disabilities. Through my time at the conservatory, I have also started to work with older children, ranging from 2.5 to 10 years of age. Something I am passionate about is helping children communicate in ways that are completely comfortable to them, so I work closely with the speech therapists at my preschool job to learn about new ways to encourage all forms of communication. Everyone deserves to be heard!
Brianna Jones, MA, MT-BC
Name: Caroline Violante
I’m from… Clover, SC
I became a music therapist in… I am currently completing my clinical internship at the Brooklyn Conservatory in order to fulfill my Master’s requirement, so sometime in the next year I will be able to take my board-certification to become a licensed music therapist.
I started practicing music therapy at the Conservatory in… This is my first year.
The populations I’ve worked with include… Children with autism spectrum disorders and geriatric patients
The primary population I work with is… Children with developmental or physical disabilities
My other clinical specialties: Medical, Dementia
My inspiration: Toby Williams, my supervisor and the music therapy program director at BKCM (and I’m definitely not just saying this to get an A in class). Otherwise, my family continues to be an amazing support system, constantly filling me with compassion and teaching me patience
Few people know that I… have two different sized feet. And I am a professional harpist.
Education: Furman University: BM in Harp PerformanceNew York University: MA Music Therapy
I play: The piano, guitar, kazoo, and harp.
Caroline Violante MA, MT-BC
Music Therapy Program Evaluation Coordinator
Chrissy Bernard is a dedicated board-certified music therapist and a songwriter from Massachusetts. During her studies at Berklee College of Music, Chrissy discovered the transformative power of music therapy. While at Berklee, she was fortunate to provide music for a varied clientele, ranging from children with disabilities and older adults to veterans. She is excited to join the team at Brooklyn Conservatory and to create music with the community. In her free time, Chrissy loves to write songs and visit local jazz clubs. She also is an avid portrait photographer, and often takes photos of local musicians.
Chrissy Bernard, BA, MT-BC
I’ve been exploring ways to connect with the world through music since before I can remember. In my childhood that looked like going to singalongs with my family, playing in garage bands with classmates and trading mixtapes with friends. In recent years that has included touring with various bands, teaching music in elementary schools. producing a music podcast for kids called Noodle Loaf, and most recently studying to become a music therapist.
Education: MT Post-Bacc at Slippery Rock University. BA from New School (Music major with Sound Recording Certification) Orff-Schulwerk Levels 1&2.
Few people know that: I moonlight as a children’s book author.
Clinical Intern: Slippery Rock University
Name: Dannyele Crawford
From: Brooklyn, New York
Education: Piano since the age of 3, violin and voice since 10, guitar for 6 years. I have a BA in Music Education from Kean University and an MS in Music Therapy from Molloy College.
I play and teach: Piano, guitar, voice, violin
Biography: Dannyele Crawford is a board certified music therapist at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Being a Brooklyn native, Dannyele holds a passion for serving under-resourced communities within NYC and amplifying the voices of those who need it. She believes that music can be used as a tool to improve overall wellbeing, health, promote diversity/inclusion/community and expressivity across populations.
Dannyele’s interests lie in incorporating the use of music technology and overlooked music genres, such as hip-hop, pop, and R&B, in her work to diversify and continue expanding music therapy care. She is passionate about catering to the individual(s) and using the music that they are interested in to cater to their individualized needs and to make their experience of music as enjoyable and beneficial as possible.
Dannyele Crawford, MS, MT-BC, LCAT-LP
Music Therapy Outreach Program Coordinator
Destiny is a board-certified music therapist from Chesapeake, Virginia. She holds a bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Howard University and is currently pursuing her master’s degree in music therapy at New York University. Throughout her training, Destiny has had the opportunity to apply her expertise in various settings, including working with children and adolescents experiencing developmental delays. Her dedication to utilizing music as a therapeutic tool has enabled her to foster meaningful connections and facilitate growth in individuals facing diverse challenges. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and watching movies!
Destiny Williams, BM, MT-BC
Clinical Intern: New York University
Dori’s love of music began to develop in her family, where she was surrounded by singing, playing instruments, and listening to CD’s, concert recordings, and the radio. She played string bass in high school orchestra while slowly teaching herself how to play guitar, starting at 14. In undergrad, she started songleading and singing in groups and after graduating with a degree in psychology, gained work experience leading music groups with neurodiverse children.
After 6 years working as an ABA therapist and assistant teacher in special education settings, Dori left to begin graduate school in music therapy at NYU. During her time in grad school and the years prior to starting at BKCM, she gained experience working with neurodiverse children, children at underserved schools, people in psychiatric hospitals, elderly folks in nursing homes and senior centers, and people doing long-term rehabilitation from illnesses and serious injuries. Dori has a passion for working with neurodiverse children, playing guitar, and learning about new music from friends, colleagues, and clients.
Personal Teaching Statement: Music can move people in body, mind, and soul. Due to its dynamic, enlivening nature as well as its evolution over time, it is the perfect medium for exploration, growth, and connection.
Musical Inspiration: My mom for her creativity, my dad for his natural musicality, Brandi Carlile, Jacob Collier, anything soulful, Peter, Paul, and Mary, Alicia Keys
Dori Stern, MA, MT-BC, LCAT-LP
Name: Fakoya Jack-Vilmar
My inspiration: Maya Angelou, Will Smith and my parents. My dad for his quick wit and tranquil vibes, and my mom for her grace, focus and self-determination 🙂
Few people know that I… have been to eleven countries outside of the U.S. #travelisthebesteducation
Education: BM in Music Therapy, Baldwin Wallace University; MS in Music Therapy, Molloy College
I play and teach: Piano, saxophone, bassoon, guitar, voice
Personal Teaching Statement: Everyone has the ability to be reached through music.
Biography: Music has always played a significant role in my life. The songs, sounds, leaps and bounds program at the Brooklyn Conservatory instilled my musical foundation from age one and led me to subconsciously develop my passion for music. From learning piano, to wind instruments at a neighborhood music studio ran by a woman that looked like me, I learned the importance of role models and giving back to the community and was inspired to work towards making the arts accessible to everyone. These two experiences in addition to my interest in science led me to completing my Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy at Baldwin Wallace University, becoming a Board Certified Music Therapist, and pursuing my Master’s of Science in Music Therapy at Molloy College. Being a part of the Conservatory staff, has always been a dream of mine, because of its impact on my music therapy journey (from taking bassoon lessons from the phenomenal Sara Schoenbeck, to observing a music therapist while in undergrad) and am so excited to be a part of this team!
I’ve been a board certified music therapist for three years and have worked with children and adults diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder, developmental, emotional, social or intellectual needs, and older adults with various disabilities in a hospice setting.
Fakoya Jack-Vilmar, MA, MT-BC, LCAT-LP
Music Therapist, Early Childhood
Hannah is a board-certified music therapist and licensed creative arts therapist specializing in working within the autism community. She holds a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy from Berklee College of Music and a Master’s in Music Therapy from New York University, where her passion for using music as a therapeutic tool flourished. Dedicated to a client-centered approach, Hannah tailors her interventions to meet the unique needs and preferences of each individual she works with. Her philosophy centers around creating an inclusive and empowering therapeutic environment that fosters meaningful connections through music. Within her work at the conservatory since 2013, Hannah has found an immense passion in organizing community performances and events aimed at celebrating neurodiversity on a broader scale. By creating and fostering inclusive musical gatherings, Hannah’s goal is to create a space where everyone can come together, share their voice, and collectively celebrate through the transformative power of music.
Hannah Hershman, MA, LCAT, MT-BC
Name: Havovi Desai
From: Cincinnati, Ohio
My inspiration: Ella Fitzgerald, Louis Armstrong, Art Blakey & the Jazz Messengers, Thelonious Monk, Stevie Wonder, Queen, Miles Davis
Education: BA in Music and Psychology, Ohio State University; MA in Music Therapy, New York University
I play and teach: Piano, flute, saxophone, trumpet, guitar, ukulele, voice
My other artistic/musical endeavors: None in New York, but I played a few gigs with my own group in Ohio. My boyfriend is a professional jazz trombonist and we’re hoping to start some duo gigs here soon!
Personal Teaching Statement: As a new music therapist, I am still navigating the different approaches in our field and figuring out the path I want to take in this profession. However, I do already have a strong pull toward Nordoff-Robbins and music centered music therapy. I value music as the core of our work, and I see myself as a musician practicing therapy rather than a therapist who uses music. I operate from a humanistic framework and am influenced by Carl Rogers. I am focused on a client centered approach and working with an individual as a whole being. I believe in the inner music child and the idea that there is music in all of us just waiting to be discovered. I find the music in everything my clients do, and I strive to keep it at the center of our work.
Biography: My name is Havovi and I moved from Ohio to Brooklyn two years ago to pursue music. I received my BA in Music and Psychology from Ohio State University where I spent most of my time in the marching band (C row!) and the jazz department. I got my MA in Music Therapy from NYU. In addition to studying music therapy, I am an aspiring jazz flutist and vocalist.
I have also recently started studying Indian classical music to better understand and connect with my cultural identity. I volunteer for World Wildlife Fund as an environmental activist and I love being outdoors! I also enjoy reading, practicing yoga + meditation, and spending lots of time with my dog, Koa. I am very interested in astronomy and I love stargazing and learning about the constellations.
Professionally, I am about to start my Level 1 training in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy, and I teach music lessons online each week as well. I am passionate about balancing a career in music therapy, music education and jazz studies. I value music so much and am grateful to be able to follow so many different paths that bring me joy.
Havovi Desai, MA, MT-BC, LCAT-LP
Name: Heather Sweeney
From: Montclair, New Jersey
My inspiration: Coldplay, Sufjan Stevens, Big Thief, Simon & Garfunkel, The Beatles, and so many more!
Education: Studied music therapy with a minor in psychology at Berklee College of Music
I play and teach: Piano, Guitar, Percussion, Voice
Biography: Music therapy has been in my life long before I even knew what it was. Music has undeniably served as a vessel for human connection and emotion, whether it was for myself or others. When I went to college, I finally learned about the profession that encompassed all of what music had given me growing up, showing me the tools I needed to pursue music therapy for real. I feel grateful to be a part of the community that BKCM has created so I can continue using music to make a difference in the lives of others.
Since moving to New York City, I have spent my free time going birding in Central Park, which is a hobby that makes me feel grounded and connected to nature! In addition, I love songwriting and the process of searching for the right words to express the myriad of feelings that people experience throughout their lives. I also consider people-watching one of my favorite activities because NYC is full of unique and creative individuals who express themselves in endlessly fascinating ways. If you see me around, please don’t hesitate to say hello!
Heather Sweeney, BA, MT-BC
Jake Rosenberg, BA, MT-BC
Name: Lloyd Miller
From: Odessa, Florida
My inspiration: All the clients, patients, and students I’ve worked with over the years
Education: MA, Music Therapy, New York University
I play and teach: Guitar, Ukulele, Bass, Electric Bass, Voice
My other artistic/musical endeavors: The Deedle Deedle Dees (an educational rock band that performs for family audiences), The Swayze Lift (early jazz + 80s covers), Lloyd H. Miller & His All-Star Band (jazz, pop, R&B, country), Chris Johnson and the Coney Island Players (early jazz, surf, 50s, 60s, blues and early rock-n-roll) + too many more to list.
Personal Teaching Statement: I believe that everyone can make music. My job as a therapist and musician is to find the music inherent in all people.
Biography: Lloyd H. Miller (MT-BC) came to music therapy after many years as a performing musician, teaching artist, and writer. He’s the founder and frontman of the Deedle Deedle Dees, a long-running band that performs original songs inspired by history, science, and folklore. He is also a regularly-gigging musician performing early jazz, R&B, klezmer, bluegrass, pop songs, and other genres as a bassist, guitarist, and singer.
In NYC, Lloyd is known by families for his weekly community sing-a-longs at a variety of venues. Online, he’s known as the creator of an extensive catalog of videos featuring interactive educational music. He has music-directed many theatrical productions and has co-written many original musicals with children of all ages. He graduated from NYU’s graduate program in music therapy and also holds an MFA in film from Columbia. He has lived in Brooklyn for many years and is thrilled to be part of the Conservatory community.
Lloyd Miller, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Name: Marie Lewis
I’m from: Queens, New York
I became a music therapist in… 2017
I started practicing music therapy at the Conservatory in… 2013. I’ve been affiliated with the conservatory’s music therapy program since 2013, first as a volunteer, then as an intern, and now as a music therapist.
The populations I’ve worked with include… I’ve worked with clients aged 3-21.
The primary population I work with is… Children and adolescents with developmental delays
My inspiration: Stevie Wonder, Joni Mitchell and Sarah Vaughn
Few people know that I… have a twin brother.
Education: University of Massachusetts, Amherst – BA, EnglishNew York University – MA, Music Therapy
I you play: Guitar, piano, and my voice
Marie Lewis, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Onsite Clinical Coordinator
Name: Melissa Harris
I’m from… Lancaster county, PA
I became a music therapist in… 2013
I started practicing music therapy at the Conservatory in… 2011
The populations I’ve worked with include… children, young adults, and seniors with a wide range of developmental, social and emotional needs
The primary population I work with is… children with developmental needs
My other clinical specialties: I am experienced in helping people discover their own abilities and grow those abilities.
My inspiration: My clients inspire me with their joy and determination. My own children inspire me with their boundless creative energy. My colleagues and friends inspire me with their passion and commitment to growth and nurturance. Jack White inspires my own creative music making.
Few people know that I… love backcountry hiking.
Education: Penn State University – B.S. in Music EducationNew York University – M.A. in Music TherapyTeachers College, Columbia University – M.A. in Curriculum and Teaching
I play: Flute, guitar, and piano
My other artistic/musical endeavors: I write my own music and play with friends. I also play chamber music occasionally.
Melissa Harris, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Name: Nicolette Schoen
I’m from: Tarrytown, NY
I started practicing music therapy at the Conservatory in… 2013
The populations I’ve worked with include… Geriatrics, psychiatric, early childhood, autism-spectrum disorders, developmental disorders
The primary population I work with is… Early childhood/pre-school
My other clinical specialties: incorporating songwriting into music therapy
My inspiration: Joni Mitchell & Oliver Sacks
Few people know that I… am a hardcore Yankee fan
Education: Berklee College of Music – BM in Music Therapy
I play: Voice, guitar, piano, and percussion
My other artistic/musical endeavors: My father is a musician (keyboard/organ) and songwriter so we have always shared a special musical bond. Whenever I am home in Tarrytown we will write music and perform together.
Nicolette (Nikki) Schoen BA, MT-BC
I’m from: Israel
I became a music therapist in… 2016
I started practicing music therapy at the Conservatory in… 2017
The populations I’ve worked with include… Inpatient psychiatry, Outpatient psychiatry, Youth at risk, toddlers with developmental disabilities, neurotypical adults
The primary population I work with is… Adults with special needs
My other clinical specialties: Songwriting, improvising
My inspiration: So many! but here are just a few: Bill Frisell, Nina Simone, Meredith Monk, Thelonious Monk, Norma Winstone
Few people know that I… participated in the Israeli Sesame Street as a child singer!
Education: Hebrew University – Bachelor of Science, Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance – Bachelor of Music Performance,NYU – Master of Arts, Music Therapy
I play: Piano, voice, and guitar
My other artistic/musical endeavors: The bands that I lead and projects I am a part of: Noa Fort Quartet, Green Thumb trio, KYN trio and more.
Noa Fort, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Name: Rafael Stepto
I’m from… Brooklyn, NY
I became a music therapist in… 2015
I started practicing music therapy at the Conservatory in… 2015
The populations I’ve worked with include… Children, the medically fragile, people living with dementia
The primary population I work with is… Children
My inspiration: Anyone who is immersed in what they are doing.
Few people know that I… love to build and look at furniture.
Education: The New SchoolNew York University – Masters in Music Therapy
I play: Guitar, piano, and voice
Rafael Stepto, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
I’m from… Santa Cruz, California
I became a music therapist in… 2003
My inspiration: Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Ella Fitzgerald, Nancy Wilson and all of my students and clients!
Few people know that I… can juggle, do a triple time step, and can recite most any line from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (The first one)
Education: University of California at Irvine – BA in Psychology, Minor in Music; New York University – MA in Music Therapy, post master’s certification in Vocal Psychotherapy
I play: Voice, guitar and piano
My other artistic/musical endeavors: Sometimes I sing some of the jazz with jazz type people
Personal Teaching Statement: We learn and grow through new experiences, breaking old patterns and improvising.
Biography: I have happily led the music therapy program at BKCM since 2011. As a music therapist, I have worked with neurodiverse children and adults, in inpatient and outpatient psychiatry and with adults in hospital settings. I teach in the music therapy program at New York University: Introduction to Music Therapy and Clinical Vocal Improvisation and work with adults in my clinical practice.
Toby Williams, MA, MT-BC, LCAT, AVPT
Music Therapy Director
Victoria Druziako, MA, MT-BC, LCAT
Name: Wolf (Eric) Feldman
From: Edwards, Colorado
Education: Master’s in Music Therapy, Colorado State University
I play and teach: Guitar
My other artistic/musical endeavors: Wolf van Elfmand (both solo and full band)
Biography: Wolf completed his undergraduate degree in Guitar Performance from Berklee College of Music in 2008 and his Masters in Music focusing on Music Therapy from Colorado State University in 2013. For his graduate degree, he studied Neurologic Music Therapy techniques as well as the fundamentals of neuroanatomy and research design. While interning at the Center for Neuro-Rehabilitation in Fort Collins, Wolf worked with clients suffering from stroke, Parkinson’s, and traumatic brain injuries and co-treated with other professionals including Speech, Physical and Occupational Therapists.
Throughout the years, Wolf has served many populations such as Early Childhood Education, Children with Special Needs, Trauma, Veterans, Memory Care, Pediatric Oncology, Adult Oncology, and People Experiencing Homelessness. Beyond music therapy, Wolf is a performer and touring songwriter who has played his original material all across these United States.
Wolf (Eric) Feldman, MM, MT-BC
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