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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:

Apps for Learning Disabilities 

Common Sense is the leading independent nonprofit organization dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. We empower parents, teachers, and policymakers by providing unbiased information, trusted advice, and innovative tools to help them harness the power of media and technology as a positive force in all kids’ lives. 

Media and technology are at the very center of all our lives today -- especially our children’s.  Kids today spend over 50 hours of screen time every week. The media content they consume and create has a profound impact on their social, emotional, cognitive, and physical development.  Learning how to use media and technology wisely is an essential skill for life and learning in the 21st century. But parents, teachers, and policymakers struggle to...(READ MORE)

Music can summon old memories in Alzheimer’s patients, but they aren’t always happy ones 

Music flowed from Marian like a waterfall. She sang all day, every day. The people around her couldn't stand it. 

To the nurses and to the other residents of the unit, Marian's singing sounded like shouting, a frequent reality among people who have Alzheimer's-type dementia. When I went to pick her up for our first music therapy session together, I had been given some idea of what to expect, but I didn't anticipate the nastiness. Half a dozen older women sat in wheelchairs lined up in front of the nurse's station. Marian, on the far left, was belting at full volume. One of the others shouted back, "Shut up!" 

I'm sure the nurses were hoping I'd return Marian in a calmer state. Traditionally, the goal of music therapy for people with dementia is to reduce agitation. But I soon realized my job wasn't to stop the shouting — just the opposite. Music offered unique access to Marian's self, long after disease had dismantled... (READ MORE)

Music has Powerful (and Visible) Effects on the Brain 

It doesn't matter if it's Bach, the Beatles, Brad Paisley or Bruno Mars. Your favorite music likely triggers a similar type of activity in your brain as other people's favorites do in theirs. 

That's one of the things Jonathan Burdette, M.D., has found in researching music's effects on the brain. 

"Music is primal. It affects all of us, but in very personal, unique ways," said Burdette, a neuroradiologist at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. "Your interaction with music is different than mine, but it's still powerful. 

"Your brain has a reaction when you like or don't like something, including music. We've been able to take some baby steps into seeing that, and 'dislike' looks different than 'like' and much different than 'favorite.'" 

To study how music preferences might affect functional brain connectivity -- the interactions among separate areas of the brain -- Burdette and his fellow investigators used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which depicts brain activity by detecting changes in blood flow. Scans were made of 21 people while they listened to music they said they most liked and disliked from among five genres (classical, country, rap, rock and Chinese opera) and to a song or piece...(READ MORE)

How Music Helps Us Be More Creative 

In today’s world, creative thinking is needed more than ever. Not only do many businesses seek creative minds to fill their ranks, but the kinds of complex social problems we face could also use a good dose of creativity. 

Luckily, creativity is not reserved for artists and geniuses alone. Modern science suggests that we all have the cognitive capacity to come up with original ideas—something researchers call “divergent thinking.” And we can all select from a series of ideas the one most likely to be successful, which researchers call “convergent thinking.”

Though we may not all be equally accomplished at these kinds of thinking, we can all become more skillful in creative problem-solving—whether the problems we face involve figuring out technological challenges at work or the next steps to take in creating a new painting. The question is how. 

One new study explores music as a source of creativity. Since music has been shown to improve cognition and enhance learning and memory in other studies, it makes sense that perhaps it has an impact on creative thinking, too. 

In the experiment, participants tried creativity exercises that measured divergent or convergent thinking while being exposed to either silence (the control scenario) or classical music that evoked four distinct emotional states: happy, calm, sad, or anxious. 

After comparing participant performance on divergent and convergent thinking in the five scenarios, the researchers found that participants who’d listened to happy music had... (READ MORE)

Music can help heal traumatic brain injury 

Past and present service members and dependents suffering from traumatic brain injury can now take part in a Creative Forces music therapy program, a partnership between the National Endowment for the Arts and the DoD, designed to help them recover and rehabilitate at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson. 

According to the American Music Therapy Association website, music therapy is the clinical use of music to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a professional who has completed an approved music therapy program. 

The music therapy program is open to members who receive a referral from the 673d Medical Group TBI clinic at the JBER hospital. 

Creative Forces music therapy began in April 2017 as a resource to support and provide training to community art providers, and invest in... (READ MORE)

Therapist Spotlight

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Mary Cate Carr, MT-BC

Mary Cate first became interested in music therapy after her aunt suggested it as a possible career opportunity due to her love of music and passion for helping others. After looking into it and deciding that it seemed like a perfect fit, Mary Cate attended Temple University, where she graduated with a Bachelor's in Music Therapy, and went on to complete her clinical internship at Rebecca School in New York City, NY working with children and young adults diagnosed with ASD and other neurological disorders. 

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Mary Cate plays piano, guitar, ukulele and sings, and enjoys all genres of music, but especially 60s - 70s rock. In addition to her work with MTA, Mary Cate teaches private lessons on voice, piano and guitar, and some of her favorite passtimes include hiking, traveling, and trying different foods.

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