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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:

Groundbreaking Facial Recognition for People Living with Disabilities 

A WIRRAL based music therapist is hoping to help people living disabilities through groundbreaking facial expression technology. 

Director of Vibe Music Therapy Greg Hanford has created a new facial analysis tool that detects changes in the face which can be translated into the understanding of an emotional expression. 

Using the facial analysis coding system (FACS) Greg has been able to see the impact of music therapy on those who have difficulty expressing themselves. 

Greg told the Globe: “It’s difficult with any therapy to gauge the impact treatment has on a client who had difficulty expressing themselves due to a physical or learning disability. 

“When speech is simply not an option how are you to understand how a person is feeling or whether progression in sessions is occurring? 

“Up to now clinicians relied on their own judgement, measurement scales that have been defined by other people or feedback from relatives and support workers. 

“If a patient was receiving treatment for cancer we would not rely on a Doctor’s opinion alone, we would want hard evidence, scans, toxicology reports etc,. 

"With this new technology we are able to identify the slightest changes in facial expression and compare to previous sessions as well as changes in and out of the therapy room.” 

Marcos, 21, from Chester lives with a severe physical disability has been going to music therapy sessions with Greg. 

Only available to verbalise through certain words, Marcus is now able to paint on a canvas in art sessions due to Vibe Music Therapy. 

Greg added: “We felt Marcos would benefit greatly from one to one time to give more focus and attention on developing his gross and fine motor skills as well as his social interaction. 

“By supplementing music therapy sessions alongside Marcos’ physio and existing group activities we have achieved great results. 

“Due to this new technology we are able to see...(READ MORE)

Singing Improves Voice and Swallow Impairment in Parkinson's Patients 

Singing as a therapeutic strategy may be a viable treatment for voice, respiratory, and swallow impairment in persons with PD. Singing shares many elements in common with voice production and targets the musculature involved in respiratory control and swallow. Both voice and singing use the larynx as the primary sound source with the respiratory system serving as the pressure generator for vocal fold initiation and vibration.19 Singing is generally considered to be a more sustained form of speech where greater emphasis is placed on rhythm, tempo, and pitch modulation, and which requires increased respiratory control requiring greater vocal control and increased respiratory muscle strength.20-22 Moreover, singing enhances QOL and well-being in healthy populations and is perceived by persons with PD to help with self-management of symptoms and social isolation.23-25 

Previous studies investigating singing in persons with PD are limited and equivocal. Some results have demonstrated improvements in speech intelligibility and increased vocal intensity as well as singing quality and vocal range, while others found... (READ MORE)


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)

Therapist Spotlight

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. 

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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