Intro to Music Therapy

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Dr. Kimberly Sena Moore, assistant professor-in-practice and clinical training director of the Music Therapy program at University of Miami Frost School of Music, explains the role of a music therapist as a musician, a healthcare worker, and a scientist.

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Frost School of Music's new faculty member Kimberly Sena Moore specializes on the health effects of neurologic music therapy. She will launch a new 8-week Introduction to Music Therapy survey course online in 2016.

Mention the name of Dr. Kimberly Sena Moore to any student in the Music Therapy program at the University of Miami Frost School of Music, and their eyes light up with admiration. An assistant professor-in-practice and clinical training director of the program, Sena Moore is talented, accomplished, engaging, enthusiastic, compassionate, and, despite her incredibly demanding schedule, composed and always wearing a welcoming smile on her face.

Sena Moore explains the role of a music therapist as “a musician, a healthcare worker, and a scientist.” Therefore, attributes for a music therapy student are being “an accomplished musician who is academically smart, versatile, imaginative, willing to take risks, and a critical thinker with empathy and interpersonal skills.”

The practice of music therapy is a recognized clinical profession and certified medical practice for the treatment of emotionally and neurologically impaired children and adults. It uses music as a tool to help people regain or develop important life skills, such as communication, physical movement, attention and memory, and emotional growth or social skills.

Dr. Sena Moore joined the Frost faculty in 2014. She teaches four undergraduate music therapy classes, and supervises undergraduate and graduate level practicum placements. Sena Moore earned her Ph.D from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and is a board certified music therapist and online blogger, who also plays flute and piano.

The Frost School of Music offers four Music Therapy (MTY) degree programs including a Bachelor of Music, Master of Music, Master of Music with Undergraduate Equivalency, and Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Music Education with Music Therapy Emphasis. Incoming students must pass Frost’s music audition for admission, and perform in an ensemble as part of the curriculum.

With a 95% employment rate among graduates, the Frost MTY program is focused on providing future practitioners the knowledge and flexibility to be successful in the field. Alumni of the program build careers with schools, hospitals, and healthcare facilities treating autism, dementia, Alzheimer’s, PTSD, substance abuse, traumatic brain injury, depression, developmental and intellectual disabilities, and more.

A 2015 AARP article on brain health and wellness reported, “New research is confirming that music can be very much like medicine, improving the mood of people with neurological disease, boosting cognitive skills, and reducing the need for drugs.”

Sena Moore specializes on the health effects of neurologic music therapy. After completing her master’s degree at Colorado State University, she founded Neurosong Music Therapy Services, Inc., a successful private practice in northern Colorado, where she developed and directed programs for clients housed at medical facilities, residential treatment centers, a domestic violence shelter, and a youth corrections facility.

“Learning how to listen with both your eyes and ears, and having the ability to be musically responsive and reactive to the client’s need, is the key to what we do,” she says.

Esther Hood is a Frost MTY Master’s Equivalency candidate from California. She became interested in the field after her 18-year old friend suffered a traumatic brain injury following a car accident. Esther witnessed the rehabilitative effect that music therapy had on him. “He couldn’t even say his name. Now he teaches at a rock music school.”

Hood praises the Frost program and adds, “Dr. Sena Moore is great at combining both clinical experience and hands-on research, while helping students hone their own perspective. For me, it’s the magic when you get to be responsive and in the moment with clients.”

From classroom simulations to real-world interventions, clinical training for Frost music therapy students meets and exceeds the highest national standards. Under Sena Moore’s supervision, students are provided the opportunity to treat patients in a wide variety of hospital and clinical settings throughout the South Florida community. Some of these facilities include Veterans Affairs Medical Center, United Cerebral Palsy, Nicklaus Children’s Hospital, and WOW Center, a rehabilitation outreach program for developmentally disabled adults.

“The interactive music experience is where the real work happens”, says Sena Moore. “Some of my most humbling, emotionally powerful moments happen clinically.”

Dr. Sena Moore recently authored the first undergraduate music therapy class for Frost Online. It launches in 2016 with contributions from her esteemed colleagues, Dr. Shannon de l’Etoile and Director of Music Therapy, Dr. Teresa Lesiuk. “Introduction to Music Therapy” is an 8-week survey course showcasing Frost’s elite program and faculty. The class is a version of its on-campus counterpart without the audition pre-requisite.
Sena Moore says she feels “privileged to work with the faculty and students at the Frost School of Music.” Beyond the classroom, she is passionate about music therapy advocacy, online blogging, program development, and family.

As a result of her relentless legislative activism with the Certification Board for Music Therapists, five states in the country now grant an official state recognized music therapy license.

She furthers discussion and education for the profession by co-hosting the online podcast Music Therapy Round Table, and blogging for “Your Musical Self” (Psychology Today), and her own site, Music Therapy Maven.

Sena Moore’s research on the subject of emotion regulation is being developed for a music therapy program addressing neuro-developmentally at-risk preschool age children, which she hopes to put into practice soon.

At home, she is deeply committed to her two young children, and husband Dr. Steven Moore who is Associate Dean of the Frost School of Music. The self-proclaimed “career-loving mommy” says she is able to balance her busy work and family life through time management, time-block prioritization, to-do lists, and supportive, marital teamwork.

Click here to learn more about the Music Therapy program at University of Miami Frost School of Music.

This story was written by Wendy Rees, a music industry publicist, writer and editor who currently serves as a communications consultant to the Frost School of Music.

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