The Power of Music Therapy

In the past 24 hours, ABC news has run several stories on Gabrielle Giffords, congresswoman from Arizona, who was shot earlier this year. Her recovery has been tracked by her husband and by millions of well-wishers, but probably not as diligently as it has been tracked by the music therapy world. From the beginning of her rehabilitation process, music therapy has been a featured part of her recovery effort.

Representative Giffords has been an example of the rehabilitation process at its best. Her tenacity and courage has been trumpeted from coast to coast, and it is truly inspiring to hear her story and watch her progress. Her dedicated therapists (music as well as other professions) have helped her in this process from the beginning through to her present levels of functioning and will continue to challenge her to regain skills.

The amount of attention that the profession of music therapy has received this year around this woman's rehabilitation has been amazing. All of a sudden, the things that we, as music therapists, see everyday are big news. We have an excellent example of how music can offer alternate neurological processing centers as well as provide motivation and encourage practicing skills. All of a sudden, music therapy is starting to be seen and heard.

This week, American music therapists will be descending upon Atlanta, Georgia for our national conference. I expect that we will hear lots about Meaghan Morrow, the music therapist who has been featured in the news reports about Representative Giffords. I expect that we will be asked to continue the trend of this national attention to the benefits of music as a therapeutic modality. I expect that we will talk about the news articles on quite a bit as we gather together. We will continue to spread the power of music therapy one client at a time as we work, day after day, with all kinds of people in all areas of the world.

Sing out, music therapists, the world is starting to notice.


  1. It's so exciting, isn't it Mary Jane! Today as I was checking in the office at one of my schools, one of the secretaries (who I didn't even know she knew who I was, let alone knew what I did (although I guess it's obvious with a guitar on my back)), said "I saw the story on ABC last night and it was great press for your profession!". Awesome!!!! I'll see you at conference.

  2. Caylyn - it is amazing how much is going on right now. I think that this will be a time that all of us will remember as the time that the world really did start to understand us and what we do. Thanks for commenting.

    Mary Jane


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