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Music Therapy | Overview

Logo: Music Therapy Services

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music-based interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional. Music Therapy Services at Boston Children's Hospital provides direct inpatient care to patients and their families through a family centered model. Our music therapists are members of the treatment team on inpatient units, providing treatment and education through music-based interventions to support a patient during their hospital admission. Our music therapists work to improve each patient’s hospital stay and achieve optimal recovery while supporting the patient's psychosocial needs.

Our board-certified music therapists are trained to assess patients with a variety of medical conditions to support:

  • developmental outcomes related to complex medical diagnosis or prolonged hospitalization
  • rehabilitation and recovery of cognitive, sensorimotor, and communication deficits due to neurologic injury or disease
  • psychological well-being related to short- and long-term effects of a medical diagnosis
  • pain management
  • emotional expression
  • coping with the stress and anxiety of diagnosis and treatment
  • family bonding

For more information, please contact the program manager at arts@childrens.harvard.edu.

The goal of music therapy

The goal of music therapy is to help patients maximize their physical, psychological, cognitive, and social functioning. Music therapists work with patients and their caregivers to improve the neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes that are at risk due to medical diagnosis and prolonged hospitalization.

Receiving music therapy

To access music therapy while your child is admitted to Boston Children’s Hospital, contact your nurse, child life specialist, and/or care team to have a referral placed.

Our team

Joanna Bereaud (she/her)

Joanna Bereaud has been a music therapist at Boston Children’s since 2002. She graduated from Berklee College of Music in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. She had her internship at the Kennedy Day School of the Franciscan Hospital for Children in Brighton. Joanna is a neonatal intensive care unit (NICU)-trained music therapist. Her specializations include the NICU, cardiology, and neurology, and children with special needs. Joanna grew up in Poland, where she studied classical voice and music education.

Brian Costa (he/him)

Brian Costa (he/him), MA, MT-BC, NMT, graduated from Lesley University with a master's in music therapy and has since received advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy. He has served children, adults, and elders with a wide range of needs and diagnoses including TBI, stroke, ASD, Down syndrome, and pulmonary disease. He primarily supports patients and families in the Acute Cardiac Care Unit (ACCU) and Cardiac Intensive Care Unit (CICU).

Alexandra (Alex) Ford (she/her)

Alexandra (Alex) Ford, MT-BC, has been a part of the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s since 2020. After finishing her studies at Berklee College of Music, Alex completed her clinical internship at Boston Children’s Hospital, and later joined the Children’s team as a full-time clinician. Alex is passionate about the need for robust trauma-informed care models within the pediatric medical system. For her capstone internship project, Alex ran a pilot program to provide increased access to music therapy services for behavioral health boarders in the Emergency Department. As a clinician, she now primarily provides music therapy services to our pediatric behavioral health patients in the Emergency Department, inpatient floors, and Children’s inpatient psychiatric unit. Alex is looking forward to continuing to explore and research how music therapy can uniquely address therapeutic stabilization techniques, somatic expressions of trauma, autonomic reactivity, and other symptoms of complex developmental trauma.

Hannah Foxman (she/her)

Hannah Foxman has been a music therapist at Boston Children’s Hospital since 2017. As a graduate of Berklee College of Music, she gained experience as a student working with diverse communities in the Boston area, and completed her internship at Boston Children’s. Hannah primarily supports patients on the oncology/hematology and neurology units, but dedicates time to various inpatient floors and outpatient clinics of the hospital.

Beth Katz, MMT, MT-BC, NMT-F (she/her)

Beth has been a part of Music Therapy Services at Boston Children’s Hospital since 2022. She graduated from Augsburg University with a master’s degree in music therapy and from UMass Amherst with a bachelor’s degree in vocal jazz performance. She also earned the distinction of Neurologic Music Therapy Fellow. Beth’s music therapy practice is centered around the neurological processes involved in experiencing and engaging in music, and how they can be utilized for developmental and rehabilitative change.

Che-Ching Lin (he/him)

Che-Ching Lin joined the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital in January 2023. He graduated from Lesley University with a master in music therapy and had backgrounds in brain science and nursing in Taiwan. Prior to Boston Children’s Hospital, Che-Ching worked with elders with dementia and other neurodegenerative disease as well. Che-Ching is trained and enthusiastic about Neurologic Music Therapy and will primarily be serving the Medicine Patient Services cohort at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Che-Ching Lin joined the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s Hospital in January 2023. He graduated from Lesley University with a master in music therapy and had backgrounds in brain science and nursing in Taiwan. Prior to Boston Children’s Hospital, Che-Ching worked with elders with dementia and other neurodegenerative disease as well. Che-Ching is trained and enthusiastic about Neurologic Music Therapy and will primarily be serving the Medicine Patient Services cohort at Boston Children’s Hospital.

Sophia Paravalos (she/her)

Sophia Paravalos has been a part of the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children's Hospital since 2023. She is a Board-Certified Music Therapist with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from Berklee College of Music. Sophia had her internship at Massachusetts General Hospital working in Pediatric Oncology and Adult Oncology and Psychiatric Care. She is also a Registered Yoga Teacher (RYT-200) and brings many of these mindfulness and relaxation strategies into her music therapy practice.

    Meg Smith (they/them)

    Meg joined the team at Boston Children’s Hospital in 2023. They have previously worked as a music therapist at Huntsman Mental Health Institute (formerly University of Utah Neuropsychiatric Institute), University of Utah Health, and as the director of Activity Therapies program at Fuller Hospital in Attleboro. At HMHI they collaborated with the UofU Transgender Health Program to provide training for staff on best practices with LGBTQ+ youth, as well as creating safe spaces and gender-affirming support for patients. Their advocacy work with queer youth extended into The Cole Project, Utah Pride Center, and Encircle. Meg is a graduate of University of Georgia (Go Dawgs!!) and interned with Expressive Therapies Utah. At ETU they worked with multiple populations; behavioral health, geriatric and memory care, hospice, addiction recovery, and intellectual and developmental disabilities. Meg was a recipient of the 2019 Utah Philanthropy Heart & Hands Award, for their work with Jewish Family Services and The Gleeful Choir.

    Minxue (Mint) Tan (she/her)

    Minxue (Mint) Tan has been a part of the Music therapy Program at Boston Children's Hospital since 2022. She holds a master’s degree in Music therapy at New York University and a Bachelor’s degree with a double major in Music Therapy and Piano Performance. Mint had her internship at the UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital, and had training in Neurologic Music Therapy and Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy.

    Erin Vadala (she/her)

    Erin Vadala has been a part of the Music Therapy Program at Boston Children’s since January 2023. She is a graduate of Berklee College of Music, and she completed her clinical internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. As a clinician, Erin seeks to implement anti-oppressive practices into her work, integrating an awareness of structural and social inequities and their impact on patients’ wellbeing into her music therapy practice. Erin works with patients in the Hematology/Oncology inpatient care areas.

    Ana Villa (she/her)

    Ana Villa, MT-BC, is a music therapist from Bogota, Colombia. She graduated from Berklee College of Music with a bachelor's degree in music therapy after completing her clinical internship at Tufts Children’s Hospital in 2022. Ana has a trauma-informed, cognitive-behavioral-biological approach to her music therapy practice. She primarily supports patients and families in the Department of Surgery and the Orthopedic Center.

    Education

    The music therapy department strives to provide educational in-services, lectures, and advocacy within the field of music therapy including internship supervisor trainings, self-care workshops, study groups for the CBMT exam, music therapy for pain and palliative care, and use of specific genres as clinical music therapy tools.

    Clinical education opportunities

    At this time, we are not currently enrolling music therapy interns as our site is inactive. If you would like to be placed on our mailing list for when we are accepting interns, please email child.life@childrens.harvard.edu will the following information:

    • name
    • university attending
    • preferred email
    • available start date (season and year)

    Research and innovation

    The Department of Music Therapy focuses on providing innovative, cutting-edge research to understand how music therapy can improve the neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes of children during hospitalization. Our music therapists are collaborating and pioneering pediatric music therapy research to expand the understanding of music therapy in the pediatric population.

    There is a growing interest in discovering how music can play a role in the treatment of children with a complex medical diagnosis. It is our goal to contribute to scientific research to optimize the future of music therapy and pediatric medicine.

    For more information on the role of research in pediatric music therapy, or if you are a clinician/researcher interested in collaborating on research, please contact our program manager at arts@childrens.harvard.edu.

    Contact us

    The Department of Music Therapy focuses on providing innovative, cutting-edge research to understand how music therapy can improve the neurodevelopmental and psychosocial outcomes of children during hospitalization. Our music therapists are collaborating and pioneering pediatric music therapy research to expand the understanding of music therapy in the pediatric population.

    There is a growing interest in discovering how music can play a role in the treatment of children with a complex medical diagnosis. It is our goal to contribute to scientific research to optimize the future of music therapy and pediatric medicine.

    For more information on the role of research in pediatric music therapy, or if you are a clinician/researcher interested in collaborating on research, please contact our program manager at arts@childrens.harvard.edu.