Music Therapy Outreach

Engaging with the Community through Music Therapy Outreach

University Hospitals Seidman Cancer Center brings music therapy services to the community and is involved in several outreach programs across Northeast Ohio.

Thomas P. Perciak Family Residential Hospice of Southwest General

One day a week, Kathy Jo Gutgsell, RN, MT-BC and a music therapy intern provide services to patients in hospice care and their families at the Thomas P. Perciak Family Residential Hospice of Southwest General. These services include comfort care for the actively dying, life review, active music-making, and pain management, and may take place in the residential treatment center, extended care facility or private homes.

Toddler Rock

Toddler Rock is a music-based early education program for underserved preschoolers, their caregivers and teachers. It was founded in 1999 at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum by a team of board-certified music therapists under the direction of Deforia Lane, Ph.D, and targets underserved 3- to 5-year-olds. One of Toddler Rock’s primary goals is to increase a child’s academic, music and social skills through the structured use of music. Toddler Rock has been featured in the news media, visited by celebrities including Mary Wilson, Johnny Johnson and Maureen McGovern, and honored in print media by the Cleveland Plain Dealer and Sesame Street Workshop. All children participate in Toddler Rock without cost. The program collaborates with national and local artists and organizations and has served over 8,000 children, parents and teachers in its 16-year history.

Equipping teachers to use music intentionally in the classroom is a second goal of Toddler Rock. The program supports local Head Start centers through collaborative goal setting, mentoring and providing teachers with resources and hands-on workshops. Research suggests that there may be long-term health benefits associated with early music education and therapy interventions. Children exposed to music at a young age may be more likely to learn an instrument in school. Researchers have found that children involved with music education are more likely to graduate from high school, attend college, and are less likely to be involved with unhealthy activities such as gangs and substance abuse. Music study also can help develop critical thinking and self-discipline skills, improve a child’s cognitive development, basic math and reading abilities, SAT scores, the ability to work in teams, spatial reasoning skills and school attendance. Toddler Rock embraces this research in each session to give the preschoolers the best preparation for academic success.

Learn more:

Hope Lodge

Hope Lodge, a service of the American Cancer Society, provides free housing for adults receiving cancer treatment and a family member or caregiver of each patient. The University Hospitals music therapy interns provide a music therapy group biweekly, engaging participants in music in a variety of ways: instrument playing, singing, music listening, song writing and improvising. Areas of focus include socialization, relaxation, communication, group cohesion, self-expression, wellness, coping, and motor and cognitive activities. The music therapy group is not only beneficial in these areas but allows for participants to experience an hour of fun, stress relief and interaction in a relaxed atmosphere.

University Hospitals Mood Disorders Intensive Outpatient Program

The University Hospitals Mood Disorders Intensive Outreach Psychiatric Program is a group-based treatment program for people with mood disorders. Board certified music therapists design and lead interventions that are supportive to patients’ goals in the Intensive Outreach Psychiatric Program, including areas in stress management, socialization and communication. Music therapy supports patients through a variety of interventions, such as music listening, instrument playing, lyric analysis, song writing, to develop coping skills, increase self-awareness, facilitate emotional expression, enhance thought process, and establish self-image in a safe environment to best support the treatment process of our patients.

Learn more: Intensive Outpatient Psychiatric Program

Educational Opportunities

The UH art and music therapy team organizes an annual educational presentation for music therapy students who are interested in learning more about medical music therapy and UH Seidman Cancer Center. Interactive presentations are given by the art and music therapists to learn about art and music therapy in general as well as the unique approaches, techniques and interventions that each therapist presents our patients at UH. This presentation supports the needs of those music therapy students who are required to complete observation assignments for their education program.

Contact Yu-Ching (Ruby) Chen, MT-BC for more information:
Phone: 216-844-7369

Ronald MacDonald House

For over eight years University Hospitals Music Therapy Department has received a grant from Ronald McDonald proprietor Turan Strange to provide music therapy to the pediatric residents and their parents at Ronald McDonald House Cleveland. Once each week for six weeks during the summer, the interns together with Dr. Lane lead a room full of children from around the world, of all ages, ethnicities and developmental levels, plus their unsuspecting parents in an hour of instrument playing, singing, problem-solving games, original stories, dance and movement.

To Learn More

To learn more about how music therapy plays an important role in patient care, please call

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