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Sixty Years and Counting! Loyola University New Orleans Music Therapy Program Celebrates with Two-Day Symposium

Loyola press release - September 18, 2017

New local chapter of Guitars for Vets will provide free guitar instruction and guitars for military veterans

Loyola University New Orleans’ acclaimed Music Therapy Program celebrates its 60th anniversary this year and has several events planned to celebrate. The 1st Annual Charles E. Braswell Music Therapy Symposium honoring the founder of the music therapy program, Charles E. Braswell, runs Friday and Saturday Sept. 22-Sept 23, 2017 at Loyola, 6363 St. Charles Ave. This two-day event, which brings speakers to campus, holds special appeal for students, music therapists, and healthcare experts from around the region. Guests may register for the free event here.

During the event, Loyola – a Yellow Ribbon university named a Top School for Veterans by The Princeton Review and U.S. News and World Report - will announce the establishment of the New Orleans Chapter of Guitars for Vets, a unique and supportive program designed to introduce military veterans to the healing power of music. Representatives from the VA of Southeastern LA will be in attendance. A structured program run by volunteers, primarily through the Department of Veterans Affairs facilities and community-based medical centers, the nationwide nonprofit has already fulfilled more than 25,000 lessons and distributed more than 2,500 free guitars to military veterans with physical injuries, PTSD and other emotional distress.

During the symposium, Loyola will also present a scholarship from the Brett Thomas Doussan Foundation to one of the university’s music graduate students; the foundation aims to increase mental health awareness through advocacy, education, and music. Loyola will also welcome back several Loyola alumni, including renowned industry experts, Dr. Cheryl Dileo and Dr. Darlene Brooks. Guidelines for a songwriting contest will be announced.

“When it comes to therapies that promote wellness, alleviate pain, manage stress, and more, music is one of the best. And when it comes to undergraduate music therapy programs, Loyola’s was one of the first,” said Loyola University President the Rev. Kevin Wm. Wildes, S.J., Ph.D. “The Music Therapy program at Loyola reflects the Jesuit values of cura personalis and preparing students to become ‘men and women with and for others’ in their personal and professional lives. As we celebrate 60 years, we are pleased to introduce cutting-edge tools and techniques and to join with Guitars for Vets in helping to support our students and military veterans from around the region.”

The undergraduate Music Therapy program at Loyola University New Orleans is one of the oldest music therapy programs in the United States. Founded in 1957, Loyola’s music therapy program is an endorsed education program of the American Music Therapy Association, Inc.

As part of Loyola’s award-winning School of Music, the program offers both a bachelor and master degree in music therapy in which more than 100 Loyola students are currently enrolled. In these cutting-edge programs, students are put to work. They not only learn about theory and research, but also gain hands-on experience as therapists-in-training through fieldwork placements that expose them to a wide range of patients. In these experiential learning internships, Loyola students not only observe, but lead music therapy sessions.

Upon completion of a six-month internship and all required coursework, students are eligible to take the state Certification Board for Music Therapy Exam. With a Music Therapist-Board Certified (MT-BC) designation, students can take on the world or graduate school – more than half of Loyola’s music therapy graduates continue their education.

Designed for students who would like to work with the developmentally disabled, autistic and older adults, as well as those with psychiatric issues or needing physical rehabilitation, the service-oriented music therapy program at Loyola allows for field studies with such area facilities such as Lazarus House (HIV/AIDS); Children’s Hospital; Women’s Space; Tulane – Lakeside; Poydras Home; the Jewish Community Center; the Bright School for the Deaf; the John J. Hainkel, Jr. Home and Rehabilitation Center; St. Anna’s Art for Kids, and various other health and education facilities around the region.

One of the most respected music therapy graduate programs in the country, Loyola’s master of music therapy degree program offers two tracks: traditional graduate degree, and graduate and equivalency for those without an undergraduate degree in music therapy.