Meeting Robert at Sundance with the Americans for the Arts

Meeting Robert at Sundance with the Americans for the Arts


This has been a great year for me and for much attention to the field of Music Therapy. I have posted some of the press that has covered a lot of the big events that have happened this year on this word press, but here is a little recap.

In the spring of 2013 our Music Therapy department was invited to give a week long conference in Montpellier France at one of the oldest Universities in France. It is known as the first medical school in Europe and still has some of its medieval asthetics and antiquity. We were invited to go with some the professors, students and the director from the Sam Houston State University Music Therapy department. My colleague and I also were able to tour around the region and speak at several rehabilitation hospitals to see how they do things in their country as well. More importantly we were able to hang out with our old friend and former intern in the wine country in Anduza France and…taste the wonderful wines and cheeses in the area…OF COURSE! This was a work trip of a lifetime and I am so thankful that I was chosen to go, work and enjoy.

I thought that after that adventure away from my regular life and family that I would take a little break from traveling for work this year….that is until I was invited by Robert Redford and Robert Lynch with the Americans for the Arts to come and speak and be a part of a small thinking tank at a roundtable in Sundance resort this past Fall. Earlier in the year, I had requested of my supervisor to help me say “no” more this year when asked to travel and speak, but when I told her of this opportunity she said, “You can’t say NO to Robert Redford”. I knew that she was right and I took her advice and said YES! I am so happy that I did. On this trip I was able meet with so many other wonderful artists. One being a past time favorite musician, Ben Folds. He has also been a great advocate for the Music Therapy field, so it was a great time talking with him about his ideas for the future of music and a new generation of musicians.
I met some awesome film makers (Fine Films),actors, composers, the the active Surgeon General, several other amazing musicians and last but not least Robert Redford.

It was such an honor to be invited to his home. He has done such outstanding things for the arts and is a true humanitarian. He had wonderful things to say about the work I get to do with music in the medical field. He so down to earth and such a fun person to be around. In my last post there are more details about what I was doing at Sundance in Utah. I just wanted to share this picture and remember the moment.

You never know where life will bring you. The media wave that I got to ride over the past few years has brought me into new beginnings connecting me with many others that are trying to make a difference in this world in their time here. Most importantly, we are now getting to do our own clinical research in the Music Therapy deptartment at TIRR. My colleague and I won grant money with in our hospital system. I have waited many years to do this and it is finally happening. So, look forward to more stories, adventures and hopefully research publications for Neurologic Music Therapy to come.

Happy Holidays everyone,



Earlier this year I was invited by Robert Redford, founder of Sundance Institute and Robert L. Lynch, President and CEO of the Americans for Arts to join the 8th annual convening of the Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable that took place on September 19-21, 2013 in partnership with the Sundance Institute and located in the beautiful Wasatch Mountains of Utah.

This year’s topic for the 2013 Americans for the Arts National Arts Policy Roundtable, Arts and Healing: Body, Mind, and Community, examined how the arts play an important role in the rehabilitation of those who have experienced both mental and physical traumas including our nations wounded warriors. Further, the arts are a proven driver in the healing of communities in need and through that process help foster creative placemaking in communities throughout the world. Through presentations and discussions we discussed best practices, heard from those engaged in the work, and brainstormed how to best further the role of the arts as a rejuvantive tool for our nation, and the world.

As a representative of Music Therapy and TIRR Memorial Hermann, I spoke on a panel during the convening that focused on healing the mind and the body through the arts.

The National Arts Policy Roundtable is the leading arts policy convening in the United States. Since 2006, more than 200 high-level decision makers and thought leaders have gathered to recommend policies and strategies critical to the arts and advancing American society. Participants included corporate CEOs, foundation presidents, philanthropists, government leaders, military heads, artists, and academics. In addition to spirited discussion and debate, the convening has also produced significant and measurable policy achievements at the national, state, and local community levels.

As a member of the 2013 Roundtable, I was able to give my clinical perspective among an influential group of 30 public- and private-sector peers. Being a part of this dialogue will hopefully result in cross-sector policy recommendations—solutions that will ultimately serve as a policy road map for community leaders across the country—helping others move from knowledge to action. The work during the Roundtable is the first step in an ongoing process of engagement in issues critical to the arts and society.

Mainly, I was I honored to be invited to such an event. I met some of the greats that weekend including: Robert Redford, Ben Folds, and our acting Surgeon General. I was able to advocate for Neurological Music Therapy and continue to spread the importance of our techniques being part of evidence based practice. My hope is that there will be more opportunities for research in music therapy and more musicians interested in the field.



Sundance retreat

Gabby Giffords and husband, Mark Kelly, speak on the two-year anniversary of Tucson shooting.

Ever since Sam Houston alumni and therapists Amy Marroquin and Maegan Morrow treated then-Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords following her brain injury due to a shooting incident in 2011, the university’s music therapy program has garnered attention from around the world. Giffords’ recovery of her speech capabilities is still one of the most publicized examples of music therapy, with Sam Houston hanging in the background.

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