Saturday, December 19, 2009

December 19, 2009 - Sherri Ross and Bilingual Education

Sherri Ross is currently a music therapist with the Denton Independent School District. She received a bachelor of science and masters of arts both in music therapy from Texas Woman's University. She is also certified to teach music education in the state of Texas. She works with students with developmental, cognitive, physical, emotional, and behavioral disabilities in special education classrooms using music therapy strategies to facilitate progress on students' individual educational goals and objectives. Quite a few of her students are also bilingual, where English is their second language, and another language (mostly Spanish) is spoken in the home. These second language learners were the catalyst for the writing of the first book, "La Salsa", which has now given Sherri ideas for more books, making it into a series. The second book, "La Salsa and the Texas Two-Step" just came out and a third book will be coming soon.

Listen here. This is the website where you can see the book and actually order it too! :)

You can also order directly from Sherri Ross:

Saturday, December 12, 2009

December 12, 2009 - Dr. Petra Kern and the World Federation of Music Therapy

This week I'm talking with Dr. Petra Kern, President of the World Federation of Music Therapy. Founded in 1985 in Genoa Italy, the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) is the only worldwide professional organization representing music therapy in many areas of the world. The WFMT is led by an international body, with officers,commissioners, and regional liaisons in Africa, Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, India, Ireland, Korea, Spain, U.A.E., and the USA. Listen here. The World Congress of Music Therapy will be in Seoul, Korea in 2011.

Also, The Beck Center has generously donated CDs to give away. Call into the show, sign into chat, or leave a comment here to win the CD! This CD is their second release of their Kids-n-Tunes collection, the first is titled Kids-n-Tunes: A Music Collection for Kids.

A Kids-n-Tunes Christmas features their Kids-n-Tunes Singers, members of the Beck's Youth Choirs, Creative Arts Therapies Staff and other great musicians and friends. The CD includes crayons to color the CD cover's artwork.

The songs include: We Wish You a Merry Christmas, Up On the Housetop, Joy to the World, Jolly Old Saint Nicholas, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, O Christmas Tree, Jingle Bells, Deck the Halls, Silent Night, 'Twas the Night Before Christmas, and Let There Be Peace On Earth. Between each song the children are interviewed about various topics centered around the holidays.

More information can be found about the Beck Center and it's various programs at

The CDs are $12 for the Xmas and $10 for the Music Collection for Kids, plus shipping. OR get them FREE by calling into the show, leaving a comment here, or participating in the chat room!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

December 5, 2009 - Selecting the Right Music

Music can be a powerful tool in our lives and it's important to select music that will promote the action, behavior, or response that you are looking for. Listen now for some tips for selecting the right music.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Novmber 22, 2009 - Conference recap take 2

Last week I introduced the show and then played a song from Rachel Rambauch's new CD and song book, Listen and Learn. During the song, I muted my phone so I could cough or make noise without broadcasting. And then I proceeded to talk for 15 minutes with my phone muted. So here's what I said while my phone was muted about the conference!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

November 14, 2009 - Live from San Diego

I'm broadcasting live today from the American Music Therapy Association Conference in San Diego. This is a short show highlighting moments from my experience at conference this year.

Listen here.

Friday, November 6, 2009

November 7, 2009 - Listen & Learn Music

Listen & Learn Music is a large resource of original songs and activities for children created by Rachel Rambach. Rachel is a music therapist at the Hope Institute for Children & Families and wrote Listen and Learn: Educational songs for school, home, and play.

Michelle Erfurt is the owner of Erfurt Music Therapy, a private company devoted to improving the quality of life and personal growth of others through the promotion of quality products and services for music therapists. She has partnered with Rachel to publish and promote the Listen and Learn songbook.

Listen to The Music Therapy Show at 5:00 EST/4:00 CST/3:00 MST/2:00 PST as we talk to Rachel Rambach, MM, MT-BC, and Michelle Erfurt, MT-BC, NMT about Listen and Learn Music.

You can find more information about Listen and Learn Music at

Rachel is also a guest blogger and music contributor at Songs For Teaching.

Learn more about Michelle Erfurt at

Saturday, October 31, 2009

October 31, 2009 - We're Back!

This week is the beginning of regularly scheduled shows, each Saturday at 5:00 Eastern. Except this show is at 4:30 Eastern. I'm going to share some tips for using music to teach concepts of time management. Listen here.

Friday, September 25, 2009

October 3, 2009 - Anita Louise Steele

I've been out sick for two weeks, but now I'm back and ready to speak with you all again!

My guest this week is Anita Louise Steele, Director of Music Therapy at Ohio University. Professor Steele was the creator and Director of Music Therapy as well as a practicing clinician at The Cleveland Music School Settlement from 1966 until 2003. In that position she managed a large department of music therapists and developed service contracts with schools, hospitals, treatment centers and nursing homes. She designed the community-based model for delivery of music therapy services and a community based training model for music therapy interns. In addition, Professor Steele was instrumental in the development of a music therapy degree program in the greater Cleveland area and was its first instructor.

Join me Live at 5:00 EDT/4:00 CDT/3:00 MDT/2:00 PDT. Call in with questions or comments about music therapy 646-652-2850. Missed the live show? Listen to the archives by clicking on the player at the right or subscribe to the show in iTunes!

Monday, August 31, 2009

September 5, 2009 - Remembering Barry Bernstein

"Bongo" Barry Bernstein, 55, passed away unexpectedly in his home on Wednesday, August 26, 2009. He graduated from the University of Kansas with a degree in Music Therapy. While a music therapy consultant for the Blue Valley School District he performed at libraries and schools around the region. Barry will be greatly missed.

In lieu of flowers, please make donations on behalf of Barry to the Barry Bernstein Education Fund, c/o Healthy Sounds, P.O. Box 40304, Overland Park, KS 66204.

Barry, you were my first introduction to drumming that was accessible to "non-percussionists" at a music therapy conference. I have used the techniques I learned in that course you taught for all 15 years Ive been in practice as a music therapist and will continue to do so. Thank you for all that you have done for the profession. You have made the world a better place.

This week's show is dedicated to Barry Bernstein and will feature some of the percussion techniques I learned from him.

The Music Therapy Show will air on Saturday, September 5, 5:00 EDT/4:00
CDT/3:00 MDT/2:00 PDT at The call in number is
646-652-2850. Please share your memories of Barry and your favorite percussion techniques.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

August 29, 2009 - No show today

I'm trying to squeeze the last bit of relaxation out of the summer, so I'm taking the day off today. I would love to hear from you about what you like and what topics you would like to hear about.

Enjoy one of the archived shows this weekend.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

August 22, 2009 - Secondary Trauma

Secondary trauma or Vicarious Trauma can occur when you see or hear a traumatic event. The trauma does not affect you directly, but you feel its effects. This is NOT a sign of weakness--it is normal to be affected by graphic descriptions of victimization or suffering when you really care about others. People who work directly with trauma can also experience secondary trauma. Nurses, physicians, emergency workers, therapists are all at risk for secondary trauma.

This week, Kimberly Sena Moore will return to talk about secondary trauma and how to take care of yourself.

I'd love to know what you think about this topic or about the show. Please leave a comment and let me know!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

August 15, 2009 - No Show

I am hosting the Board of Directors for the Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association as President this Saturday. Check in next week, when Kimberly Sena Moore returns as my guest to talk about secondary trauma and self care.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

August 8, 2009 -- Chip Music

Scott F is my guest today to talk about 8-bit, or chip, music. I am very excited to learn about this method of music-making and composing. Scott sent over a sample of his work that I am going to play so you can hear what this type of music sounds like.

Listen here.

What do you think of chip music? Leave a comment and let me know!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

August 1, 2009 - No Show again

Sorry. I'm just not feeling up to it today. But next week I have a very interesting guest. Scott F will be my guest to talk about Chip Music-music made using 8-bit devices. Please listen to an archived show this week and I'll talk to you live next week.

Thanks for listening!

Friday, July 24, 2009

July 25, 2009 - No Show This Week

I am taking a week off to take care of some personal business, so please enjoy a show from the archives. I would love to hear from you. What do you think about the show? What is your favorite episode? What would you like to hear in the future?

Upcoming topics:
August 8 - Scott will tell us about Chip Music
August 22 - Kimberly Sena Moore returns to talk about secondary trauma and self-care

Would you like to share information about music therapy? Contact me for a guest packet and to schedule an interview!

Friday, July 17, 2009

July 18, 2009 - Drumming up Health!

Kalani is an internationally acclaimed percussionist, educator, and presenter. With over 30 years of professional experience in a variety of fields, Kalani’s work honors past traditions while expanding the fields of music education, music therapy, and wellness.

Kalani continues to develop programs and resources for teachers, therapists, and the general public. His Living in Rhythm program offers effective and accessible music-based strategies for improving quality of life through the practice of Organic Holistic and Nurturing Arts. As a longtime student of psychology, fitness, and music, Kalani believes that a healthful lifestyle includes an integrative approach, incorporating music, movement, diet, and mind/body practices. He is currently a Music Therapy student at California State University Northridge.

I am honored to have Kalani as my guest this week to talk about his current work in the area of wellness as related to the Living in Rhythm program and the concept of OHANA (Organic, Holistic, and Nurturing Arts) as a way to help bring healthful, accessible, and supportive practices to the general public, and how drumming is used in music therapy.

Listen live at 5 PM EDT/4 PM CDT/3 PM MDT/2 PM PDT and call in to join the discussion: 646-652-2850.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 11, 2009 - Strength-Based Improvisation

In this week's show, I'll be talking with Lisa Jackert and Robin Rio about Strength-Based Improvisation.

Strength-Based Improvisation is a new approach that is geared for participants with any amount of improvisation experience. Participants may use the instrument of their choice, which can include percussion or voice. Non-threatening experiential opportunities are aimed at personal exploration while simultaneously learning approaches to engage clients.

Lisa Jackert, MA, MT-BC has 20 years of experience in adult/geriatric psychiatry, substance abuse, eating disorders, and wellness. Currently employed by Community Hospital of Long Beach and operates a private practice. She has been a clinical training director and past professor of Music Therapy at Chapman University. She received the award for Professional Practice at the 2005 Western Regional Conference. She is also a FAMI-candidate of the Association of Music and Imagery and has been focusing on the use of The Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music with infertility and pregnancy. Currently, Lisa is on the Board of Directors for the American Music Therapy Association.

Robin Rio, MA, MT-BC is professor of music therapy at Arizona State University. She also has many years of experience working with a variety of populations, including the geriatric population and the homeless. She is also is on the Editorial Board for Music Therapy Perspectives and has recently written the book: Connecting through Music: Music Therapy in Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care. Currently, Robin is serving as a member of the Ethics Board for the American Music Therapy Association and has past served the Western Region of AMTA as Vice President.

For more information on Strength-Based Improvisation, click here.

Friday, July 3, 2009

July 4, 2009 - No show today.

I intended to do a special Holiday Edition of the show this week, but I am working on a new product that I hope to share with you all next week and I don't want to lose that momentum! So here is the information I was going to share on the show:

Music is essential for life. Otherwise, why would people bother making music after traumatic experiences, like the Oklahoma City Bombing, when a music therapist was asked to sing Amazing Grace over and over again to provide some comfort for the people in her building a few blocks from the Federal Building? Or why would quartets be written in Nazi concentration camps by Messiaen?

So making music for yourself or with others is important and each week I will share with you information about how music will affect your life and how to make music a part of your healthy living. Since this weekend is Independence Day, let's look at patriotic music and incorporate some ways to use it this weekend.

How many patriotic songs do you know? There are four primary patriotic songs that most people know: America (My Country 'Tis of Thee), America the Beautiful, The Star-Spangled Banner, and God Bless America. (I also like to include Take Me Out to the Ballgame as a patriotic song!) Singing these songs with your family can help bring the family together, and can help teach your children some patriotic concepts (not to mention vocabulary). Whenever you attend a sporting event where the National Anthem is sung, be sure to sing out with pride, whether you can sing in the key that the performer selects or not! This is our song and we should sing it with pride.

Here are five tips for using patriotic music this weekend:
• Play some Sousa marches as background music for your 4th of July cookout
• Sing God Bless America with your family before heading out to see the fireworks
• Attend a parade and see how many patriotic songs you can identify
• Play name-that-tune with songs of each branch of the military
• Listen to America the Beautiful (or play it on your favorite instrument) and reflect on what makes this nation great, remembering that what you think about, you bring about

Thanks for listening! Let me know what you think.


Thursday, June 25, 2009

June 27, 2009 - No show this week

There's no show this week because I'm traveling to Baltimore to attend meetings for the American Music Therapy Association. I think I'm actually giving a report during my showtime! I'll be back next week, July 4, for a special holiday edition of the show.

Take a moment to listen to an archived show and leave a comment on my blog to let me know what you think!

Thanks for listening.

Friday, June 19, 2009

June 20, 2009 - Music Therapy with Trauma/Attachment Disorders

Join me this week with my guest, Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, NMT, MT-BC, the Director of Neurosong Music Therapy Services, Inc. (Join me this week with Kimberly Sena Moore, MM, NMT, MT-BC, the Director of Neurosong Music Therapy Services, Inc. ( She founded Neurosong (formerly KMS Music Therapy) in 2005, which now treats clients with trauma and attachment issues, neurologic disorders, and special needs. Kimberly has advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy and uses a neuro-based approach in her clinical work. She founded Neurosong (formerly KMS Music Therapy) in 2005, which now treats clients with trauma and attachment issues, neurologic disorders, and special needs. Kimberly has advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy and uses a neuro-based approach in her clinical work.

Listen live Saturday, June 20, at 5:00 Eastern/4:00 Central/3:00 Mountain/2:00 Pacific by clicking or calling 646-652-2850.

Friday, June 12, 2009

June 13, 2009 - Pastoral Music Therapy

My guest this week is Dr. Charles Gourgey. Charles (Carlos) Gourgey is a Board Certified Music Therapist and New York State Licensed Creative Arts Therapist with two decades of hospice experience. He has also worked in various nursing homes and published articles on psychology, disability, and religion, and is the author of the articles on his web site,

His approach is called Pastoral Music Therapy. This approach addresses the emotional and spiritual needs of patients and their families. Drawing upon the music of different cultures and traditions to tailor the therapy to the individual, Pastoral Music Therapy can create a link between the impaired person and family members even when verbal communication is no longer possible. Music can help mobilize the person's inner resources, building resistance to fear and depression. Music can also create shared experiences between these people and their families, maintaining communication and relationship even until the very last moment of life.

Click here to listen.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

May 23, 2009 - Here's a quick way to adjust your attitude!

We can influence the music we hear and the messages we hear in our heads. Take a minute to pay attention to your soundscape. Do you hear traffic, or computer-buzzing? Are you listening to the news? Is it positive or negative? Are you listening to music? What are the messages in the music? Do they help you to feel good and stay positive or are they negative messages?

Choose music and messages that help create the life you want for yourself. Take a music bath-surrounding your senses with music that makes you feel wonderful! Create the attitude you want to have for yourself by listening to music that reinforces that attitude.

I would love to talk to YOU on my show this weekend!

Call in to talk to me about the music influencing your life at 646-652-2850 on Saturday, May 23, 2009, at 5 EDT/4 CDT/3 MDT/2 PDT.

Have a great Memorial Day Weekend!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

May 16, 2009 - Cardiovascular health

We all know that music makes us feel good and that it can help us relax. We also know that chronic stress causes blood vessels to become rigid and the risk for arteriosclerosis (hardening of the arteries) increases as we age. But did you know that music can affect our cardiovascular system?

CNN posted an article recently about some research a cardiologist did with music. The story concludes that
- Music, like laughter, opens up blood vessels and produces protective chemicals
- Constricted vessels can lead to high blood pressure, increase heart attack risk
- Hospitals across the country use music therapy to help patients heal

This week I'll be discussing that article and talking about music therapy and cardiovascular health.

Check out the article here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

May 9, 2009 - The Just Desserts

Lisa Shawley, MT-BC, will be here representing the group The Just Desserts, an internationally traveling performance and educational ensemble spearheaded by (herself) accordionist, flautist, pianist, vocalist and music therapist Lisa Shawley, and cellist, guitarist, bassist, vocalist and music educator Michael Shay. The Just Desserts performs as a duo or as an expanded ensemble (trio, quartet, or larger) that can include percussion, piano, winds, violin, guitar, piano, bass and/or drums.

Their mission is to encourage exploration, expression, and inclusion through music and culture in the global community.

Join us Saturday, May 9, 2009 at 5 ET/4 CT/3 MT/2 PT. Call in live 646-652-2850.

Friday, May 1, 2009

May 2, 2009 - Happy Anniversary!

One year ago, I decided to start a show about music therapy on Blog Talk Radio. I've done 43 shows which have been downloaded 5,811 times. Each show averages around 100 listeners, but the most listened-to shows were Referrals (5/1/08-260 downloads), Performance Wellness (5/17/08-249 downloads), and Autism (6/14/08-243 downloads).

Over the year, I've been trying to select topics that interest my listeners, so please leave a comment to let me know what topics you'd like me to cover. My goal is to educate everyone on the importance of music for our survival and how we can best use it. I would also like to explain how music therapy can help with speech/language, cognition, and motor rehabilitation, or with personal wellness.

Come celebrate the anniversary of the show with me this Saturday, 5:00 pm Eastern, 4:00 pm Central, 3:00 pm Mountain, 2:00 pm Pacific here or by calling 646-652-2850.

Thank you for listening!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Dr. Karl Paulnack's Welcome Address

This is an excerpt from a welcome address given to parents of incoming students at The Boston Conservatory on September 1, 2004, by Dr. Karl Paulnack, Director of the Music Division.


One of my parents' deepest fears, I suspect, is that society would not properly value me as a musician, that I wouldn't be appreciated. I had very good grades in high school, I was good in science and math, and they imagined that as a doctor or a research chemist or an engineer, I might be more appreciated than I would be as a musician. I still remember my mother's remark when I announced my decision to apply to music school-she said, "you're wasting your SAT scores!" On some level, I think, my parents were not sure themselves what the value of music was, what its purpose was. And they loved music: they listened to classical music all the time. They just weren't really clear about its function. So let me talk about that a little bit, because we live in a society that puts music in the "arts and entertainment" section of the newspaper, and serious music, the kind your kids are about to engage in, has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with entertainment, in fact it's the opposite of entertainment. Let me talk a little bit about music, and how it works.

One of the first cultures to articulate how music really works were the ancient Greeks. And this is going to fascinate you: the Greeks said that music and astronomy were two sides of the same coin. Astronomy was seen as the study of relationships between observable, permanent, external objects, and music was seen as the study of relationships between invisible, internal, hidden objects. Music has a way of finding the big, invisible moving pieces inside our hearts and souls and helping us figure out the position of things inside us. Let me give you some examples of how this works.

One of the most profound musical compositions of all time is the Quartet for the End of Time written by French composer Olivier Messiaen in 1940. Messiaen was 31 years old when France entered the war against Nazi Germany. He was captured by the Germans in June of 1940 and imprisoned in a prisoner-of-war camp.

He was fortunate to find a sympathetic prison guard who gave him paper and a place to compose, and fortunate to have musician colleagues in the camp, a cellist, a violinist, and a clarinetist. Messiaen wrote his quartet with these specific players in mind. It was performed in January 1941 for four thousand prisoners and guards in the prison camp. Today it is one of the most famous masterworks in the repertoire.

Given what we have since learned about life in the Nazi camps, why would anyone in his right mind waste time and energy writing or playing music? There was barely enough energy on a good day to find food and water, to avoid a beating, to stay warm, to escape torture-why would anyone bother with music? And yet-even from the concentration camps, we have poetry, we have music, we have visual art; it wasn't just this one fanatic Messiaen; many, many people created art. Why? Well, in a place where people are only focused on survival, on the bare necessities, the obvious conclusion is that art must be, somehow, essential for life. The camps were without money, without hope, without commerce, without recreation, without basic respect, but they were not without art. Art is part of survival; art is part of the human spirit, an unquenchable expression of who we are. Art is one of the ways in which we say, "I am alive, and my life has meaning."

In September of 2001 I was a resident of Manhattan. On the morning of September 12, 2001 I reached a new understanding of my art and its relationship to the world. I sat down at the piano that morning at 10 AM to practice as was my daily routine; I did it by force of habit, without thinking about it. I lifted the cover on the keyboard, and opened my music, and put my hands on the keys and took my hands off the keys. And I sat there and thought, does this even matter? Isn't this completely irrelevant? Playing the piano right now, given what happened in this city yesterday, seems silly, absurd, irreverent, pointless. Why am I here? What place has a musician in this moment in time? Who needs a piano player right now? I was completely lost.

And then I, along with the rest of New York, went through the journey of getting through that week. I did not play the piano that day, and in fact I contemplated briefly whether I would ever want to play the piano again. And then I observed how we got through the day.

At least in my neighborhood, we didn't shoot hoops or play Scrabble. We didn't play cards to pass the time, we didn't watch TV, we didn't shop, we most certainly did not go to the mall. The first organized activity that I saw in New York, on the very evening of September 11th, was singing. People sang. People sang around fire houses, people sang "We Shall Overcome". Lots of people sang America the Beautiful. The first organized public event that I remember was the Brahms Requiem, later that week, at Lincoln Center, with the New York Philharmonic. The first organized public expression of grief, our first communal response to that historic event, was a concert. That was the beginning of a sense that life might go on. The US Military secured the airspace, but recovery was led by the arts, and by music in particular, that very night.

From these two experiences, I have come to understand that music is not part of "arts and entertainment" as the newspaper section would have us believe. It's not a luxury, a lavish thing that we fund from leftovers of our budgets, not a plaything or an amusement or a pass time. Music is a basic need of human survival. Music is one of the ways we make sense of our lives, one of the ways in which we express feelings when we have no words, a way for us to understand things with our hearts when we can't with our minds.

Some of you may know Samuel Barber's heart wrenchingly beautiful piece Adagio for Strings. If you don't know it by that name, then some of you may know it as the background music which accompanied the Oliver Stone movie Platoon, a film about the Vietnam War. If you know that piece of music either way, you know it has the ability to crack your heart open like a walnut; it can make you cry over sadness you didn't know you had. Music can slip beneath our conscious reality to get at what's really going on inside us the way a good therapist does.

Very few of you have ever been to a wedding where there was absolutely no music. There might have been only a little music, there might have been some really bad music, but with few exceptions there is some music. And something very predictable happens at weddings-people get all pent up with all kinds of emotions, and then there's some musical moment where the action of the wedding stops and someone sings or plays the flute or something. And even if the music is lame, even if the quality isn't good, predictably 30 or 40 percent of the people who are going to cry at a wedding cry a couple of moments after the music starts. Why? The Greeks. Music allows us to move around those big invisible pieces of ourselves and rearrange our insides so that we can express what we feel even when we can't talk about it. Can you imagine watching Indiana Jones or Superman or Star Wars with the dialogue but no music? What is it about the music swelling up at just the right moment in ET so that all the softies in the audience start crying at exactly the same moment? I guarantee you if you showed the movie with the music stripped out, it wouldn't happen that way. The Greeks. Music is the understanding of the relationship between invisible internal objects.

I'll give you one more example, the story of the most important concert of my life. I must tell you I have played a little less than a thousand concerts in my life so far. I have played in places that I thought were important. I like playing in Carnegie Hall; I enjoyed playing in Paris; it made me very happy to please the critics in St. Petersburg. I have played for people I thought were important; music critics of major newspapers, foreign heads of state. The most important concert of my entire life took place in a nursing home in a small Midwestern town a few years ago.

I was playing with a very dear friend of mine who is a violinist. We began, as we often do, with Aaron Copland's Sonata, which was written during World War II and dedicated to a young friend of Copland's, a young pilot who was shot down during the war. Now we often talk to our audiences about the pieces we are going to play rather than providing them with written program notes. But in this case, because we began the concert with this piece, we decided to talk about the piece later in the program and to just come out and play the music without explanation.

Midway through the piece, an elderly man seated in a wheelchair near the front of the concert hall began to weep. This man, whom I later met, was clearly a soldier-even in his 70's, it was clear from his buzz-cut hair, square jaw and general demeanor that he had spent a good deal of his life in the military. I thought it a little bit odd that someone would be moved to tears by that particular movement of that particular piece, but it wasn't the first time I've heard crying in a concert and we went on with the concert and finished the piece.

When we came out to play the next piece on the program, we decided to talk about both the first and second pieces, and we described the circumstances in which the Copland was written and mentioned its dedication to a downed pilot. The man in the front of the audience became so disturbed that he had to leave the auditorium. I honestly figured that we would not see him again, but he did come backstage afterwards, tears and all, to explain himself.

What he told us was this: "During World War II, I was a pilot, and I was in an aerial combat situation where one of my team's planes was hit. I watched my friend bail out, and watched his parachute open, but the Japanese planes which had engaged us returned and machine gunned across the parachute cords so as to separate the parachute from the pilot, and I watched my friend drop away into the ocean, realizing that he was lost. I have not thought about this for many years, but during that first piece of music you played, this memory returned to me so vividly that it was as though I was reliving it. I didn't understand why this was happening, why now, but then when you came out to explain that this piece of music was written to commemorate a lost pilot, it was a little more than I could handle. How does the music do that? How did it find those feelings and those memories in me?"

Remember the Greeks: music is the study of invisible relationships between internal objects. The concert in the nursing home was the most important work I have ever done. For me to play for this old soldier and help him connect, somehow, with Aaron Copland, and to connect their memories of their lost friends, to help him remember and mourn his friend, this is my work. This is why music matters.

What follows is part of the talk I will give to this year's freshman class when I welcome them a few days from now. The responsibility I will charge your sons and daughters with is this:

"If we were a medical school, and you were here as a med student practicing appendectomies, you'd take your work very seriously because you would imagine that some night at two AM someone is going to waltz into your emergency room and you're going to have to save their life. Well, my friends, someday at 8 PM someone is going to walk into your concert hall and bring you a mind that is confused, a heart that is overwhelmed, a soul that is weary. Whether they go out whole again will depend partly on how well you do your craft.

You're not here to become an entertainer, and you don't have to sell yourself. The truth is you don't have anything to sell; being a musician isn't about dispensing a product, like selling used cars. I'm not an entertainer; I'm a lot closer to a paramedic, a firefighter, a rescue worker. You're here to become a sort of therapist for the human soul, a spiritual version of a chiropractor, physical therapist, someone who works with our insides to see if they get things to line up, to see if we can come into harmony with ourselves and be healthy and happy and well.

Frankly, ladies and gentlemen, I expect you not only to master music; I expect you to save the planet. If there is a future wave of wellness on this planet, of harmony, of peace, of an end to war, of mutual understanding, of equality, of fairness, I don't expect it will come from a government, a military force or a corporation. I no longer even expect it to come from the religions of the world, which together seem to have brought us as much war as they have peace. If there is a future of peace for humankind, if there is to be an understanding of how these invisible, internal things should fit together, I expect it will come from the artists, because that's what we do. As in the concentration camp and the evening of 9/11, the artists are the ones who might be able to help us with our internal, invisible lives."


Karl Paulnack, Director
Music Division
The Boston Conservatory
8 The Fenway, Boston, MA 02215

Tel: 617.912.9124
Fax: 617.912.9101

April 25, 2009 - The Use of Music to Establish Peace and Wellness

I am honored to have Karl Paulnack as my guest this week.

Hailed by the Boston Globe as "a firecracker of a pianist" and "master of his instrument," Karl Paulnack has partnered vocal and instrumental soloists, chamber groups, orchestras, conductors and opera companies in nearly a thousand concerts throughout North America, Bulgaria, Estonia, France, Macedonia, Norway, Romania, and Russia. Engagements of recent and current seasons include the festivals of Bard College, Madeline Island, Round Top, Royaumont, Sonic Boom and Tanglewood, as well as the Bridge, Noe Valley, Stillwater, Walker Museum, Williams College, UC Davis, UT Austin and University of Oregon concert series. He has appeared in concert at Alice Tully, CAMI, Carnegie, Merkin and Weil recital halls; Tanglewood's Ozawa Hall, the Library of Congress and the Hollywood Bowl. His regular recital partners include violinist Jorja Fleezanis, soprano Lucy Shelton, and numerous chamber ensembles.

A frequent performer of new music, Dr. Paulnack has been privileged to work closely with many of the important composers of our time including John Adams, Elliott Carter, George Crumb, Karel Husa, Steve Reich and Joan Tower in preparing performances of their works. In describing the Tanglewood premiere of Elliott Carter's "Of Challenge and of Love" with Lucy Shelton, the Boston Globe's Richard Dyer cited Paulnack's "commanding" performance as "a standard to aspire to." Dr. Paulnack has appeared as a featured guest on such public radio programs as St. Paul Sunday, Performance Today, and Morning Pro Musica, as well as on Minnesota Public Radio and BBC television. Recordings of his performances may be found on the Koch, Seamus, Innova and Capstone Labels.

Early in his career, Dr. Paulnack served as rehearsal pianist and musical assistant to conductors Sir Charles Groves, Christopher Hogwood, Kurt Masur, Seiji Ozawa, Otto Werner Mueller and Michael Tilson Thomas. With the Los Angeles Opera Theater, he was assistant/cover conductor for his mentor Henry Holt, and served on the opera coaching and conducting staff of USC and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Institute. His work in opera includes conducting and coaching positions at several universities as well as the Tanglewood Music Center, where he was a member of the team responsible for the historic 50th anniversary performance of Peter Grimes, an event marking Tanglewood's renewed commitment to opera in its Fellowship programs.

Committed to a diverse, comprehensive practice of collaborative musicianship as an artist/teacher for more than two decades, Karl Paulnack has served as Director of the Boston Conservatory's Music Division since 2002. He also serves as music director and conductor of the Contemporary Opera Lab of Winnipeg, and chef de chant of the Orchestra de Picardie in Amiens, France. He co-chaired the highly acclaimed accompanying and coaching department of the University of Minnesota, and served on the faculties of the Tanglewood Music Center, University of Southern California, Ithaca College and Music Academy of the West. He holds an undergraduate degree in solo piano from Eastman, and completed the MM and DMA degrees at USC, where his teachers included Gwendolyn Koldofsky and Brooks Smith.

He has a free podcast called "How Music Works".

Listen live at 5:00 Eastern, 4:00 Central, 3:00 Mountain, 2:00 Pacific.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

April 18, 2009 - SWAMTA Conference Recap & Music for Healing

We've been a bit sporadic in posting and hosting this month due to my computer breaking down and the subsequent replacement and a nasty cold that hit me last week. I'm much better now and will be broadcasting this afternoon at 4:00 pm Central to recap the SWAMTA conference experiences and to talk about how I may have been able to prevent the nasty cold by using some Performance Wellness techniques.

Performance Wellness is a proven, creative approach that uses the curative power of music along with cutting edge tools from the creative arts, behavioral medicine, and yoga science, to meet the mind-body health needs of performers and professionals from all walks of life. Find out more about Performance Wellness:

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

March 28, 2009 - Therapeutic Arts

Wade Richards is the Chair and Internship Director at the Hochstein School of Music & Dance in Rochester, New York. Hochstein is a community music school established in 1920 and the music therapy department was created in 1975 to service those with special needs in the community. Over the years the department has grown to serve up to 1,000 clients annually in both private and group therapy settings. Wade is a licenced creative arts therapist with additional training in neurologic music therapy and Performance Wellness. Wade also chaired the Orff-Schulwerk program at Hochstein for a number of years and completed his level training at Eastman School of Music, University of Kentucky, and Arizona State University.

Recently Wade is the founder and executive director of the Therapeutic Arts Program at Hochstein. This transitional day program for ages 21-30 combines the creative art therapies and vocational skill training into one comprehensive program for students with special needs. Join us Saturday as we talk about the Therapeutic Arts Program with Wade Richards.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

March 21, 2009 - SWAMTA Conference

This week, call 646-652-2850 to talk with Stephanie Shehan, Vice President of the Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association. We'll give a preview of the conference happening in Austin next week. For more information about the conference, click here. To listen to the show, go here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Saturday, March 14, 2009 - Musicophilia

We're continuing our celebration of Music Therapy Month by discussing this year's Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association's Book Club Selection, Musicophilia, by Dr. Oliver Sacks. Please call in to join the discussion! 646-652-2850 at 4:00 Central, 5:00 Eastern this Saturday, March 14, 2009.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009 - Sing with Your Child Month

We're continuing our celebration of Music Therapy Month with our guest: Carol Ann Blank. Carol is a music therapist who works with Music Together (r), an internationally recognized early childhood music program for babies, toddlers, preschoolers, kindergarteners, and the adults who love them. First offered to the public in 1987, it pioneered the concept of a research-based, developmentally appropriate early childhood music curriculum that strongly emphasizes and facilitates adult involvement. Join us to learn about the benefits of singing with your child--or your inner child! Call in to participate in the discussion: 646-652-2850 on Saturday, March 7, 2009 at 5:00 Eastern, 4:00 Central, 3:00 Mountain, 2:00 Pacific.

Find out more about Music Together and Sing With Your Child Month at:

Friday, February 27, 2009

Saturday, February 28, 2009 - March is Music Therapy Month!

Music therapy is the planned use of music to affect brain functioning for the rehabilitation of cognition, speech/language, or sensorimotor skills. The minimum requirement for a music therapist is a bachelor’s degree in music therapy at an accredited university program, a 1,040-hour internship, and satisfactory completion of the board certification exam. Board certified music therapists follow a code of ethics and a standard of practice, and complete continuing education requirements.
To celebrate Music Therapy Month, listen to your favorite music every day, play an instrument or sing a song, thank your local music therapist, or call in to my show!

Saturdays at 4 pm Central, 5 pm Eastern 646-652-2850

Friday, February 20, 2009

February 21, 2009 - Using Music to Care for Yourself

This week, I've had a lot of emails about how to use music to care for yourself. I gave out tips for using music to change your mindset, change your mood, nurture your soul & spirit, and more.

Listen here to hear me sing you a lullaby!

February 14, 2009 - How to Become a Music Therapist

This week I answered a question from my blog. Rick posted, "I am interested in learning more about music therapy and hope that you will have a show that discusses the profession and your experience with it." This show is my answer to him. Thanks, Rick!

If you have questions about music therapy that you would like answered, leave a comment on this blog or call into the show on Saturday 4:00 Central/5:00 Eastern. 646-652-2850

February 7, 2009 - Live your Dream Disabilities EXPO

This week, I was broadcasting from my car after exhibiting at the Live Your Dream Disabilities EXPO in Garland, TX. Listen here to learn about my experiences there.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

New Shows Resume in February

I have not fallen off the face of the earth or given up on the show--I promise! Blog Talk Radio has changed their format some, so I'm taking January to schedule guests and topics and to get up to speed on the new BTR site. Live shows will continue on Saturdays in February. Thanks for listening and leave me a comment or send me an email about show ideas, music therapy websites, topics you're interested in, or any other feedback.