Community Chords Musical Therapy is an outlet for those with intellectual and developmental needs

CSRA News

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WJBF) – Normally, when you think of music at the Miller Theater, it’s onstage during a performance; but what you may not know is on certain days of the week, music is used for so much more.

The Knox Music Institute calls the Miller its home. That’s where the Augusta Symphony has it’s outreach program called Community Chords Musical Therapy. It provides group music therapy services to adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities on a weekly basis.

“In music therapy we use music experiences to address non-musical goals. So, we work on things like social skills and teamwork and leadership and self-expression and creativity; but we do all that using music,” said Veronica Andreassen-Barker, Music Therapist, Community Chords.

For those with intellectual disabilities, participating in the program gives them an activity that increases quality of life and an outlet to be expressive.

“We see a lot of changes immediately in how folks hold themselves, their affect, their face in how their facial expressions look, how much eye contact I get. We see lots of those immediate changes, but over time we also see changes in relationship building and expression and even in folks who don’t use words to communicate. They become more communicative over time, as well,” said Veronica Andreassen-Barker.

The program doesn’t just help those who are participating; it helps the teachers, too.

“I love it. Music therapy is my passion and I really love that the Augusta Symphony has this community-based program. It’s not at a hospital. It’s here in the community in the heart of Augusta and it really shows the intersection of well-being and music right here at the Miller Theater and the Augusta Symphony. I love it. It’s great,” said Veronica.

For more info on the Community Chords Musical Therapy Program CLICK HERE

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