Doing “Good” With Music

March 31st, 2014 in Event/News with 2 COMMENTS

CMCB’s Music Therapy Department Expands Partnership with Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries.

Community Music Center of Boston (CMCB) and Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries have partnered for nearly 20 years through a program that inspires individuals with various limitations to share their experiences and emotions through music. Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries runs a Day Habilitation program that enables individuals with behavioral, emotional, intellectual and physical limitations to transfer their work and social skills to the outside world. Community Music Center of Boston’s Music Therapy Department hosts four groups of participants from the Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries in a bi-weekly program, which encourages the art of expression through music.

The partnership between Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries and Community Music Center of Boston began in 1995 and has been valuable to both organizations. For the first year, participants from the Goodwill have their sessions at the Music Center in the South End; a positive evolvement which has encouraged community integration, relationship building and program expansion. “The group from Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries is a great population to learn from,” explains Claudia Eliaza, Director of Music Therapy at Community Music Center of Boston. “The participants have a wide range of needs and abilities and the program offers an inclusive environment where they can use the music to fully express themselves.”

Community Music Center of Boston’s Music Therapy program thrives and depends on understanding the preferences of those with whom they work. Activities in songwriting, lyrical analysis, creative movement, engaging dialogue, exploring world music and listening help participants to express who they are, while supporting the ongoing learning that is taking place. Music Therapy does more than work with emotional and cognitive limitations” Eliaza continues, “a concerted effort is made to work with those with physical limitations as well. The act of striking a drum can help a participant’s fine and gross motor skills by crossing mid line, facilitating limb coordination, and finger dexterity while also addressing issues of endurance, and spatial awareness.” Eliaza explains the strong and positive impact on having the participants physically come to The Music Center for programming. “Our goal is to create a safe and non-threatening space for participants to express themselves freely and provide positive support in a group setting. The music in turn serves as an important and effective outlet for both verbal and non-verbal individuals. Whether singing meaningful lyrics, exploring personal feelings, or playing an instrument to evoke emotions – success often comes when communication is made through the expressivity that music offers.”

Each year, participants in the Day Habilitation program choose the recreational activity they wish to join – that can be anything from bowling to jewelry making to cooking to music. Music continues to be a popular choice for participants. Now that the program is being held at The Music Center, all those who wish to participate can due to the larger space. “Music is a transcendent form of communication, something that is particularly evident among the program participants of Goodwill Boston’s Day Habilitation Program. Individuals with a wide variety of abilities, communication styles, and developmental barriers come together and come out of their shells during music groups at the Community Music Center of Boston. CMCB’s Music Therapy instructors do a great job empowering our program participants to engage with and express themselves through music.” – Jay Hayston, Manager of Day Habilitation.

2 Responses to “Doing “Good” With Music”

  1. June 07, 2014 at 11:17 am, Donna Bristol said:

    This is an awesome music program. So glad to read about it.


  2. June 09, 2014 at 1:46 am, Andy said:

    This is a very well written article. It is good to see people being passionate about helping people especially those with limitations. I like the way the director explained how music helps with the brain. Kudos to you!!!


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