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Spend ten minutes with Maegan Morrow and you will see how much she truly loves helping people. It’s not just in the way her face lights up when she talks about the work she has done over the past 15 years. It’s also evident when patients stop her in the hallway for a hug, or offer updates on their at-home therapy sessions.

Morrow is part of TIRR Memorial Hermann’s team of music therapists—all trained in utilizing neurologic music therapy techniques to help stimulate speech, increase mobility, and generally improve quality of life for patients struggling to overcome stroke or traumatic brain injury.

It’s a lesser-known form of therapy, but growing in popularity thanks to the dedication of those in the field, and high-profile stories like that of Gabrielle (Gabby) Giffords, a former Arizona congresswoman who suffered severe trauma to the left side of her brain after she was shot at a local community event in 2011. Giffords was transferred to Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, then TIRR Memorial Hermann, in the weeks following the shooting, and worked regularly with a team of speech, occupational, physical and music therapists, including Morrow and her colleague Amy Marroquin.

Read the article here:



Persons of the Week: Celebrating All Music Therapists

Here we are again. It was just about 4 years ago when all of this media coverage began. It was the 2012 American Speech and Hearing Association conference week and  I walking the coast of San Diego California watching the world cup for sailboat races when I heard the news. My therapy team and I (from TIRR) had been chosen as Diane Sawyers “persons of the week”. It was so stoked. I had never imagined that so much attention would be given to our little hospital. The spotlight had remained on Music Therapy and this year David Muir decided to show America how important it is in the recovery process. Check out this video in the link. You will see Gabby Giffords and I sing one of her favorite songs form her childhood. We actually never sang it while she was here in therapy. This total impromptu. You will notice that I don’t really remember the words, I am humming, but she steals the show. Thank God my daughter had been watching this movie all throughout last year or I may not have been so confident to initiate the singing. This is beautiful moment. I did not realize that Gabby’s husband, Mark Kelley, was also filming with his smart phone and made this video viral within minutes. This was an amazing reunion and honor.

ABC Breaking US News | US News Videos

02/24/2015 AT 07:00 PM EST

Since Gabby Giffords belted out “Maybe” from Broadway’s Anniein a Facebook video that went viral last week, the former congresswoman wants fellow brain-injury patients to know that music has helped her to recover.

The video of Giffords and her former music therapist at Houston’s TIRR Memorial Hermann Rehabilitation and Research Hospital wasn’t her first stroll through the classic show’s song book, however.

Giffords, 44, shares with PEOPLE a childhood photo of her debut as Annie in a Tucson, Arizona, community theater, and writes via email that the video’s aim was to spread hope.

“I shared the video because I wanted other people who have experienced brain injuries or setbacks to know that while your recovery can be difficult and the rehab can be painstaking, you can get better,” Giffords says.

And she’s also proud to share a recent milestone – getting back on her bicycle. In November, she and her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, completed an 11-mile ride in the annual El Tour de Tucson.

“I’ve worked really hard to get there,” Giffords says of being able to pedal again. “It’s an exciting step.”

It was four years ago – in January 2011 – that Giffords was shot in the head while meeting with constituents. Critically injured, she had to relearn how to walk and talk – speaking is still difficult.

“Music has always been really important to me,” she says. “While my speech is getting better every day, throughout my recovery, I have been able to sing to some extent.”

Giffords was injured on the left side of her brain – the hemisphere that controls speech. It’s the right side that processes music, she explains.

“Music therapy was so important in the early stages of my recovery because it can help retrain different parts of your brain to form language centers in areas where they weren’t before you were injured,” says Giffords.

Next up: mastering Spanish again. Giffords says she spoke “nearly fluent” Spanish before the shooting.

“For some reason, that has been slower to come back,” she says. “But I’m working hard on it.”

I posted the video clip link above so that you can see the story in action. Working with this family brought me great joy daily. I really used a solid protocol and was able to see results quickly. Being that Cathy and Billy were already musicians really helped them to use some of the music therapy techniques with and without me there. It was nice to see Cathy’s gradual improvement over several months of treatment. When I first worked with her she could only mouth a few lyrics, but by the time she left us she was speaking in small phrases. I hope that she continues to make progress.

 As I write to you all today, I am listening to the new album released today SYNESTHESTIC.

You may have heard of the term Synesthesia: it is a neurological phenomenon in which stimulation of one sensory or cognitive pathway leads to automatic, involuntary experiences in a second sensory or cognitive pathway. For instance the sensation of color when a sound is heard. I first learned of this term in the Oliver Sacks book “Musicoplilia” where he describes in venettes people experiencing phenominal things like this with no scientific explanation per se. I realized that I have only about 3 or 4 people that I acutally know operating with this magical gift. All of them are excellent and successful musicians and artists.

This brings me back to the reason I am writing today. Last week I had the honor of meeting and speaking with Nitish Kulkarni. He is the creator/composer of the new SYNESTHETIC album. I enjoyed so much being in his presence. He is young, but an old soul full of knowledge and life giving words. I was invited to speak about Music Therapy along with Nitish by a colleague, Ashley Burriss, directorof the rehabilitation at North Cypress Medical Center.

I enjoyed getting meet Nitish that day and learn about his endeavors in the music business. He is interested in Music Therapy as another career path as well. I can only hope that someone with this much passion and talent for music would join forces with the world of music therapy one day.

This information below is from his website:


SYNESTHETIC – Produced by award-winning composer John Adorney and featuring sounds from over 50 different musical instruments (both electronic and acoustic), SYNESTHETIC is a brand-new collection of 10 original contemporary instrumental pieces. The music has taken over 3 years to compose and was recorded and mixed at John’s private studios in California this summer. John had this to say:

“Nitish Kulkarni is a wonderfully talented young musician, whom I was very excited to work with producing his debut album. His musical gifts are far beyond his age, and he has an avid passion for learning about and delving deep into the wonders of music. One thing that was very satisfying for me personally was that, during the process of working on the CD, Nitish’s music inspired what I think are my two best cello and guitar performances ever. I highly recommend you have a listen.”

I love John’s quote. Not only is he the producer of this album, but he is a music therapist as well.

The album will be available TODAY on January 13, 2015. Pre-orders are now available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Best Buy.

The lead single MERMAID is streaming exclusively on Spotify.


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