According to the American Music Therapy Association, “music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” Essentially, music therapy is the use of music to improve health, especially mental health.
Slippery Rock University’s Music Therapy Club is an organization of students in the music therapy major who are taking advantage of as many opportunities to help people as possible. The club does this through community events like collaborative drum circles, keynote speakers about the therapeutic uses of rap and hip-hop, as well as various conferences where music therapy students from all over the country can collaborate and learn from each other.
“The Music Therapy Club works together all year long helping out in the community and within Swope,” said senior music therapy major Alex Brandt. “We also do a lot of fundraising to help send students to conferences.”
Brandt is the senior chapter representative for the Music Therapy Club.
The Fall 2018 Benefit Concert, which took place in Swope Music Hall on Saturday, Dec. 1, was a fundraiser for music therapy majors to attend the Mid-Atlantic Region American Music Therapy Association Conference in Reston, Virginia.
“The Mid-Atlantic Conference, which is always held in the spring, is when and where all the music therapists, all the schools in the mid-Atlantic region get together,” Brandt said. “At the conference, [the American Music Therapy Association] provides continuing education for people who already have their degrees, and there’s a lot of research that’s presented. It’s just a great opportunity for students to go and meet new people, network and really put themselves out there.”
The concert opened at 7:30 p.m. with a flute quartet arrangement of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” and featured performances of Ricky Nelson’s “Hello, Mary Lou” by the Impromptu Barbershop Quartet, a mash-up of Train’s “Hey, Soul Sister” and Jason Mraz’s “I’m Yours,” and a saxophone-flute rendition of Christina Perri’s “A Thousand Years.”
Among the many music majors who performed during the benefit concert, a number of non-music majors also put acts together including the SRU Winter Guard and Illusions Dance team. The evening concluded with a karaoke raffle; earlier in the night, audience members and performers were encouraged to submit names to be pulled to perform one last song for karaoke. Chase Upchurch, a senior music therapy and music education dual major, had his name pulled, so he performed Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” to the delight of the flashlight-waving crowd.
Brandt said the preparation for the concert was a great way for music therapy majors to get together and have fun.
“Our vice president [Rachael Kovaly] put together the program and we held auditions for the acts, just to make sure that it’s clean and it’s appropriate,” Brandt laughed. “We sell baked goods and our t-shirts that we make at the beginning of the year, everyone just comes together, we decorate and have a good time.”
At the end of the night, the Music Therapy Club raised over $980 for the conference.