The developmental, emotional, psychological and social needs of children and adults are addressed through active music-making in a relationship with a music therapist. The Conservatory offers the services of master’s degree level, certified music therapists with New York State creative arts licenses.
These professionals are trained multi-instrumentalists with specialties that include psychology, special education and other related fields.
Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. (American Music Therapy Association)
American Music Therapy Association: http://www.musictherapy.org/
The New York State Early Intervention Program (EIP) is part of the national Early Intervention Program for infants and toddlers with disabilities and their families. First created by Congress in 1986 under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA), the EIP is administered by the New York State Department of Health through the Bureau of Early Intervention. In New York State, the Early Intervention Program is established in Article 25 of the Public Health Law and has been in effect since July 1, 1993.
To be eligible for services, children must be under 3 years of age and have a confirmed disability or established developmental delay, as defined by the State, in one or more of the following areas of development: physical, cognitive, communication, social-emotional, and/or adaptive.
New York State Early Intervention Program: https://www.health.ny.gov/community/infants_children/early_intervention/
Music therapy is not currently covered by early intervention, but is a wonderful addition to any early intervention services your child may already be receiving.
Music naturally inspires connection, communication, and play. A trained music therapist is able to use the dynamic elements of music to address a young child’s developmental goals in a playful, multi-sensory, holistic way. More information about music therapy and young children can be found here:
Our music therapists hold Masters degrees in Music Therapy, national board-certification from the Certification Board for Music Therapists, and are also New York State licensed creative arts therapists.
Certification Board for Music Therapists: http://cbmt.org/
Licensed creative arts therapists: http://www.op.nysed.gov/prof/mhp/catbroch.htm
Music therapy sessions may look similar to an early childhood music education class, but the goals are different. While music education classes focus on musical goals, music therapy interventions are specifically designed and facilitated with your child’s developmental goals in mind, and the therapist is constantly assessing, adjusting, and reacting to your child’s needs in every moment. Music therapists are trained to incorporate your child’s goals from other therapies (or your own goals for them) into the interactive music-making experience.
Sessions may include playing instruments, moving to music, and singing/vocalizing. The therapist will carefully assess your child’s goals and needs, and provide experiences based off that assessment. Some typical interventions may include: singing familiar and improvised songs to improve expressive skills, an engaging drum song that involves turning from side to side to address trunk rotation and gross motor skills, exploring instruments that encourage fine motor skills and finger separation.
We encourage parents and caregivers to participate in sessions. This allows for carryover into the home environment, and allows for a unique shared play experience between child and parent/caregiver.
The Music Therapy Outreach Program is available to provide music therapy services to public and private schools, social service agencies, youth and foster care programs, and adult and senior programs in Brooklyn and Queens. Our programs are for children and adolescents with special needs or who are at-risk, and adults and seniors with special needs. Programs are designed to meet the specific needs of each school or organization, and can be held at your program location, or on-site at the Brooklyn Campus.
For more information, contact Toby Williams, Music Therapy Director, at 718-622-3300 x16.
My son Nicholas is 12 years old and has autism. He has always had a passion for music, whether it is classical or pop latino. He also loves playing the piano. Being a part of the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music (which he actually asks to go to), has improved his focus and his attention span. It is one of the few things he actually stays focused on for more than 15 minutes at a time. I am thankful to Christina, his music therapist for being so patient and caring as well as giving Nicholas the opportunity to try other instruments. Now he likes the piano as well as the guitar. I am so proud of his progress.
The music brought him back to a familiar place and helped motivate him to participate in therapy and heal.
My son, Gerry was diagnosed with a learning disability at age 2. He spoke very little with the exception of singing songs. Like many other parents with special needs children, my spare moments were spent searching for ways to promote language and other ways to reach my son. I was searching for music classes in Brooklyn one day and came across the Conservatory’s Music Therapy program. Its staff was so kind and approachable. They immediately assessed my son and found a perfect group therapy setting for him where he has developed a special camaraderie that he has not had in his life. His therapist Christina has allowed Gerry to enjoy music in his own way and he has grown and responds to music more appropriately. And now, in part due to his involvement in the program, he is developing more and more pragmatic speech. Most surprising to me has been the friendship and bond I share with the other parents. I am so grateful to the Conservatory for creating the very special environment for Gerry and me.
The music therapy program at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music has provided a great service for our consumers. They really enjoy the abilities and talent that the music therapists bring to each session. Our consumers have been able to grow exponentially in their artistic endeavors, as well as in their interaction skills. Some of our consumers, whose disabilities range from mild to severe, came to the Conservatory with certain skills on their respective instruments. However, no matter what their skill or level, all of our individuals have benefited in one way or another. In addition to improving their musical skills, the music therapists have also taught our consumers social interaction and creative exploration. We greatly value our partnership with the Conservatory, for not every Day Habilitation Program has the opportunity to take advantage of the services that they offer.