Toby Williams

Music Therapy Director

Toby Willams (M.A, MT-BC, LCAT) is a music therapist and is the Director of Music Therapy at the Brooklyn Conservatory of Music. Toby received her master’s degree in music therapy from New York University and is a graduate of Dr. Diane Austin’s certificate program in Advanced Training in Vocal Psychotherapy, a music therapy technique focused on dealing with trauma recovery. In 2005, Toby founded the music therapy program at Reach for the Stars Learning Center, a private school for children diagnosed with autism spectrum idisorders. For the past ten years, Toby has offered workshops on how to use the voice and body to promote emotional and physical healing at such institutions as The Kessler Institute, Robert Wood Johnson Medical Center and through partnerships with Friends Health Connection, Citicorp and Carnegie Hall. Previously, Toby developed and ran music therapy programs at New York Presbyterian Hospital on the cardio-thoracic unit and at the Herbert Irving Cancer Center’s Infusion unit. Toby has also conducted educational presentations on jazz singing through Carnegie Hall’s Education Outreach program and has taught early childhood music classes for Music Together of Park Slope, Brooklyn. Toby’s professional experience as a jazz vocalist led her to perform across the country and record two CDs. Her extensive background both as a music therapy clinician, administrator, music instructor and jazz performer has led to speaking engagements, teaching opportunities and panel discussions.

Receiving her Master’s degree in Music Therapy in 2004, Toby wrote her thesis on the use of humor and vocal improvisation while working with adult psychiatric consumers at an outpatient psychotherapy clinic in Brooklyn. Toby has also worked in inpatient psychiatry at Interfaith Medical Center in the Bedford Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. As a supervisor for students from NYU’s masters of music therapy program, Toby also assists in the audition process and selection for incoming music therapy masters degree candidates. Toby’s work at Reach for the Star’s Learning Center is on-going and includes working with individuals and running groups with students with autism spectrum disorders between the ages of three and twelve years old. Toby’s work at New York Presbyterian hospital resulted in inroads being made to hire more music therapists at the hospital and introduced the power of song writing as a part of therapeutically processing the experience of cancer treatment.

A working jazz vocalist since the age of fifteen, Toby has worked primarily in Los Angeles and New York with her trio, various big bands and with her now disbanded group, Cocktail Angst. She has performed at Birdland, Joe’s Pub, Midsummer Night’s Swing at Lincoln Center and had a residency at Windows on the World in the World Trade Center from 1998 to 2000. Toby has provided music and vocals for many documentaries and movie soundtracks including Wishful Thinking starring Drew Barrymore and Jon Stewart. As a voice teacher, Toby studied with Deb Silver and went on to teach Deb’s Natural Voice technique of singing. As a teaching professional in jazz singing through Carnegie Hall’s Education Outreach program, Toby went into public high schools to educate students about vocal jazz history and singing.