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Welcome to Music Therapy Associates!

Our mission: To use music to help our clients attain goals, cope with hardship, overcome physical and mental challenges, and improve their quality of life.

What's New:


With the recent news about COVID-19 diagnoses in our service area, I am writing to reassure you that the Music Therapy Associates team is following these developments closely. Nothing is more important to us than the safety of the clients we serve, and we are giving extra attention to the infection control and prevention procedures we have always had in place. 

We have reviewed our infection control and prevention policies and procedures as a team, following a review of recommendations from the CDC and the American Music Therapy Association, and we will continue working 
with our clients in a manner that minimizes infection risk. In addition to adhering to any site specific requirements, (masks/gloves/cleaning procedures), our therapists and teachers clean their hands and music instruments and supplies by washing hands, using hand sanitizer and/or cleaning with a Norwex Envirocloth before and after contact with clients/students. We have reviewed proper hand washing procedures and the use of hand sanitizer and Norwex Envirocloths. 

During this period of heightened risk, we have also minimized the number of instruments we use that are 
difficult to clean, and we have reviewed ways to minimize physical touch during greetings and sessions without 
compromising the quality of our music therapy services and music lessons. 

In addition to the infection control and prevention procedures above, in an effort to minimize the spread 
of the Coronavirus (COVID-19) and to protect our clients, therapists and staff from increased risk of exposure, 
we ask that all responsible parties notify MTA immediately if you have recently returned from travel outside of the U.S., been exposed to COVID-19, and/or are experiencing flu-like symptoms 

(including coughing, sneezing, congestion, and fever). 
Please contact our office at 610-740-9890 

with concerns or questions about whether or not to reschedule sessions. 

The U.S. Center for Disease Control has issued the following recommendations for controlling and 

minimizing the spread of the Coronavirus: 

1. Frequently wash your hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. When soap and running water are unavailable, use an alcohol-based hand rub with at least 60% alcohol. 
2 Always wash hands that are visibly soiled. 
3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. 
4. Avoid close contact with people who are sick. 

When you hired board-certified music therapists, you hired folks who know what to do to reduce the spread of infection. Infection control is one of the competencies covered in music therapy education and training, and is tested on our board-certification exam. We have trained in medical settings with strict infection control protocols. We also consider it an ethical obligation to stay home when sick. 
We value having you as a partner in care for the clients and students we all serve and in navigating this public health concern. As always, thank you for the opportunity to serve your individual through music therapy and/or music lessons! 

We appreciate your attention to this important information. 

In Harmony, 
Kathy Purcell, MT-BC 
Kathy Purcell, MT-BC 
Director, Music Therapy Associates, LLC

Music as a Healing Tool After Brain Injury 

After a brain injury many of us have an assortment of issues with sounds and music. For some of us, sound becomes intolerable. Even the sound of water splashing when a car drives over wet pavement or the sound of birds tweeting can be overwhelming. Music may be unbearable. Others have no problem with this and can listen to just about anything. I could not tolerate most sounds or most music. I did find, however, that there was certain music or sounds that worked like “brain massage” for me. Since then I have learned that there is actually a recognized health profession that provides music therapy for that purpose or to treat cognitive, sensory, and motor dysfunctions. 

It seems that music as therapy is still in its early stages in the traditional medical world. According to Michael H. Thaut, Ph.D., and Gerald C. McIntosh, M.D., “The role of music in therapy has gone through some dramatic shifts in the past 15 years, driven by new insights from research into music and brain function. These shifts have not been reflected in public awareness, though, or even among some professionals.” Their entire article is available (as a PDF download) in the March 2010 article, “How Music Helps to Heal the Injured Brain”, that appeared in the Dana Foundation’s publication, Cerebrum. 

I’ve spent more time recently learning about music as therapy for brain injuries and for brain wellness in general. Gabriella Giffords participated in music therapy as part of...(READ MORE)


Guitar Lessons! 

We're thrilled to announce that professional guitarist Todd Patnaude has joined the MTA family as a guitar, ukulele, and bass guitar instructor!

If you, or anyone you know is interested in learning one of these instruments from an incredibly experienced instructor in the comfort of your own home, give us a call (610-740-9890) or shoot us an email ( for more info!

Music Calls Patients Back From Darkness 

An audience of patients with Alzheimer’s disease listens in rapt attention as a young woman sings the French song “Beau Soir.” Despite his failing mind, one of the men in the crowd, Les Dean, translates the words into English for a friend. 

“See how the setting sun paints a river with roses,” he whispers. “Tremulous vision floats over fields of grain.” 

And when the audience joins in a singalong on another tune, Dean’s voice rumbles in a resonant baritone, “Take my hand, I’m a stranger in paradise. All lost in a wonderland, a stranger in paradise.” 

Dean, 76, once taught music at Senn High School, invented and sold his own music education system and sang with the Chicago Symphony Chorus. Now, like many patients with Alzheimer’s, he is to some extent lost in the past, a stranger to the present. He asks a visitor, “How are the children?” Five minutes later, he asks again, and again, unable to recall the question or the answer. But when the music plays, he smiles, and is transported to a place of beauty, where everything still makes sense. 

In recent years, music therapy has grown in popularity for its seeming ability to help calm people with dementia and reconnect them with their memories. Now a Northwestern University researcher is testing whether music played for residents of a suburban nursing home can be therapeutic and can improve cognition, conversation and relationships. 

As the number of dementia patients grows — to nearly 1 in 3 seniors by the time of death — advocates hope to get insurance and Medicare to extend music therapy to everyone who could benefit from it. 

In the process, caregivers whose parents or partners have grown distant, confused and agitated are finding new ways to share meaningful moments with the ones they love. 

Is there anybody in there? 

A person with dementia can recede so far that he or she is no longer responsive, suggesting personality and consciousness have been lost. But in his book “Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain,” the renowned late neurologist Dr. Oliver Sacks wrote that he’d seen such patients shiver or weep while listening to music. 

“Once one has seen such responses,” he wrote, “one knows that there is still a self to be called upon, even if music, and only music, can do the calling.” 

Research has suggested benefits from music therapy for people with autism, depression, schizophrenia, brain injuries and cancer. Newborns in intensive care have been found to gain weight faster when exposed to music. 

For people recovering from a stroke, the rhythm of music can help them...(READ MORE)

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