GUEST POST…from contributor Jennifer Robinson
“(Music therapy) can make the difference between withdrawal and awareness, between isolation and interaction, between chronic pain and comfort — between demoralization and dignity.” Barbara Crowe (past president of the National Association for Music Therapy)
I had a near death accident in 2008 and had to undergo extensive rehabilitation. There were times when my therapists used music to help counter the effects of my traumatic brain injury and looking back, it really helped me. Fast forward to meeting Lori O’Leary, Executive Director of MusicWorks through the Main Line Chamber of Commerce in 2011. Lori’s passion and intellect demand your attention. When I asked about her employment and first heard about MusicWorks, it made an impact on me both because of my own personal experience and because of the dedication that Lori has to this cause. Lori and her husband Jerry both left corporate careers to begin and run this nonprofit in our area. Lori was recently honored as one of the KYW Women of Achievement of 2013 for her work and I had the privilege of being there to watch her accept this prestigious award. I wanted to get involved with MusicWorks and I was recently appointed to their Board. I am very excited to share their story with you, as well as highlight the work they do, upcoming events, and ways you can help.
MusicWorks is a 12 year old Delaware County, Pennsylvania based non-profit organization that provides music therapy. It was established in 2002 by Jerry O¹Leary. Jerry began facilitating individual sessions for seniors in their homes through COSA and working one-on-one with children. In 2004, at the request of parent advocacy groups, and due to the lack of coverage by traditional insurance companies and the expense of individual, in-home sessions, MusicWorks began small group sessions in a Havertown community center. Fast forward totwo years ago when MusicWorks opened their current treatment center in Havertown.
So what is music therapy exactly? Simply put, music therapy is the use of music to achieve a desired outcome within a therapeutic relationship. A board-certified music therapist identifies a client¹s needs through an initial assessment and plans a series ofmusic therapy sessions to address identified goals and objectives. A music therapy plan is then set forth which can be one on one or group based. Through the use of music, Board Certified Music Therapists work on learning and communication, focus and attention, fine and gross motor skills and socialization in a group setting. These therapists service over 200 individuals weekly through MusicWorks.
Some of the people that can benefit from music therapy include children, adolescents, adults, and the elderly with mental health needs, developmental and learning disabilities, Alzheimer¹s disease and other age related conditions, substance abuse problems, brain injuries, physical disabilities, and acute and chronic pain, including mothers in labor. In the treatment center MusicWorks staff work with children and young adults ages 1 40. 76% of the individuals treated are on the autism spectrum. Individuals with ADD, ADHD, mood disorders, bipolar disorder and other behavioral health challenges are also treated. In the last year, MusicWorks JAMS was created, a music education / music appreciation program for preschoolers. The program encourages hands-on music making, dance and movement activities for young children and their parents.
As a nonprofit agency, MusicWorks raises funds through individual donations, corporate sponsorship, grant funding and special events to provide financial assistance to families that might not otherwise be able to participate in our program. MusicWorks is the only music therapy agency to provide services through Medical Assistance under Pennsylvania HealthChoices for residents of Delaware and Montgomery Counties to the age of 21. They also offer financial assistance for those who qualify and might not have coverage. So how can you help? People can help by donating to the cause, attending events and volunteering in fundraising efforts. You can always check out what is coming up and how you can help at musicworkswonders.org or by calling 610-449-9669.
Here are some upcoming events. Please sign up for these events or any other upcoming events at www.MusicWorksWonders.org/
October 20th MusicWorks is hosting the comeback tour for the high-octane, kid-rock band The Cat¹s PajamasŠ.a beloved Main Line family band. The concert will be held at Rosemont College