| Laura Blancato, BM, Music Therapy, Class of 2011
“When looking into colleges as a high school senior, I knew I wanted to do something in music. I went to an arts high school, and music has always been a part of my life. I was also really interested in medicine and helping others. I knew I didn’t really want to go to medical school, but I wanted to do something in that field. Music therapy fit perfectly. It gives me the opportunity to use music to help others better themselves.
The reason I chose UM was the faculty. When I came to visit, Dr. de l’Etoile and Dr. Lesiuk were so warm and welcoming. I felt I already fit in and there was a comfort zone that was put in place before I even auditioned. Other schools I looked at did not give the genuine interest in me as an applicant like UM did.”
| Lauren Bonavitacola, BM, Music Therapy, Class of 2009
“The Frost School of Music is a distinguished school in all of its specialties. The faculty is second to none in all instruments and majors. Our jazz department along with our music engineering, music business, and music therapy programs, to say the least, are among the best in the nation. There are so many opportunities to showcase your talents within numerous ensembles of all different genres. As a flute performance and music therapy double major, I am able to receive the best education possible within both majors. That was one of the main reasons why I applied to UM.
Deciding to enroll in the music therapy program at the University of Miami was one of the best decisions I have made in my life! The faculty are extremely distinguished within the music therapy community and have shared with us their knowledge. The education we receive is extremely well rounded and definitely prepares you to become an active music therapist. We are expected to complete 6 semesters of practica; this is above the national standard and really ensures the maximum level of exposure to as many populations within the community as possible. I am extremely proud of the progress I have made already in this program and everyday I feel more and more prepared to enter the professional community based on the education that UM has provided me.”
| Patricia Chaviano, BM, Music Therapy, Class of 2010
“I chose music therapy as my major because I was interested in a career dealing with health care and patient care, and I was also interested in pursuing music to a higher level in college.
I decided to attend the University of Miami because I was very impressed by the music therapy department (classes offered, professors, student accomplishments), private voice and ensembles available to participate in, ability to double major in Psychology, campus facilities, and beautiful ambiance.”
| Erika Neff, BM, Music Therapy, Class of 2013
“When I was trying to figure out what I wanted to major in, I had a really hard time deciding what it was that I really wanted to do. I knew I wanted to do something in music, and I wanted to help people, but nothing really felt right. I looked into music education and music business but they just didn’t seem to fit me. When I was about to give up on majoring in music, I heard about music therapy. I visited the University of Miami, asked the admissions office what exactly music therapy was and in turn was directed to talk to Dr. de l’Etoile. As soon as Dr. de l’Etoile told me about the program and all of the wonderful ways it helps people, I knew it was perfect for me. I get to purse my musical career, become a better musician, and help people in ways that are innovative, creative, and, perhaps best of all, proven to work.
I have always wanted to attend the University of Miami, but I looked into other schools as a back up plan. I have, and had, family here at UM so I’ve been around the campus and the people for years, and it felt like home. After talking to a friend in a program at a different university and visiting the campus, I realized that I would be in a richer learning environment at the University of Miami because it is smaller, more hands-on and more well-rounded in the school of music. Not to mention, the professors are more able and eager to help individuals—a vibe I did not get from the other universities I visited.”
| Susan Smiddy, BM, Music Therapy, Class of 2013
“I was very passionate about music but was not too fond of performing in front of people. My greatest desire was to offer healing to people through music the way music has brought healing to me. Overall, I have a huge heart for helping people and absolutely love music, hence when I discovered Music Therapy, it was a perfect fit for me, and I was attached to it immediately.
I chose to attend Miami for the excellent support they offer in every area of the school and the diversity found throughout the campus. In addition, I was attracted to the Neurologic Music Therapy program that University of Miami offers because it is scientifically based.”
| Daryl (Heater) Synowiec, BM, Music Therapy, Class of 2004
“My experience at the University of Miami has been imperative to my ongoing success as a Music Therapist. Classes in music therapy, music and psychology provided me with theory and knowledge, while three years of practicum provided hands-on experience working with a variety of populations in the Miami community. The experienced faculty, specifically the Music Therapy department, provided small interactive classes that prepared me for my internship and the Music Therapy board certification exam. I now have a career working as a Music Therapist with children with developmental disabilities; a job I look forward to everyday.
Besides a beautiful campus, UM offers a variety of collegiate experiences that are usually only offered at large state schools. Attending ‘Canes Football games, as well as concerts and master classes of world-renowned artists are just some of the benefits I experienced while attending UM. In addition, the UM alumni association continues to support their alumni, by providing events for networking and socializing with other UM graduates all the across the country, even in Los Angeles. The friendships and relationships I established while at UM are a constant reminder of the excellence this school requires.”
| Kaitlin Tunney, BM, Music Therapy, Class of 2013
“I chose UM because the NMT program is offered here. NMT is a scientific model of MT that uses evidence to truly get results. I also liked the highly rated Frost School of Music, where I knew my musicianship would improve.”
| Carolyn Dachinger, MM, Music Therapy, Class of 2012
“I chose to become a music therapist because it is the one profession that reflects the two most important aspects of my life: music and helping others. I knew that my career would center around these two values before I knew that music therapy was a field that I could study.
I chose to attend the University of Miami for graduate studies because the program was the best fit for the professional music therapy goals I set for myself as I matured as a clinician: to learn about and engage in research about music, the brain, and evidence-based therapeutic applications of music to clinical populations; to learn and incorporate new and innovative Neurologic Music Therapy interventions into my clinical work; and to continue to improve and nurture my own skills as a musicians.
Choosing a school to study music therapy can be a daunting task. The best piece of advice I can offer to students who are considering different programs is to research the programs that you’re considering applying to so that you understand the program’s philosophy and expectations; this will help you to find a good match for your own educational and professional goals and values. Additionally, I believe that it is important to find a program where your own personal musicianship will continue to be nurtured and encouraged throughout your music therapy training—this will keep you in touch with your ‘musical roots’ and what probably drew you to the profession of music therapy in the first place.”
| Daisaku (Sako) Kamahara, MM, Music Therapy, Class of 2003
“Learning to integrate research with clinical practice was the most valuable experience for me in the UM music therapy graduate program. While the academic expectations were much more challenging than I expected, UM’s faculty provided me with a supportive environment that took me far beyond what I thought I was capable of. The experience and education provided by UM has enabled me to become a confident music therapist in the mental health field. As a member of a multidisciplinary team, I work with psychiatrists, nurses, social workers and other allied therapists. Attending a UM program that focused on an evidenced-based medical approach enabled me to feel secure and comfort in my relationship with other mental health professionals.”
| BriAnne Weaver, MM/Equivalency, Class of 2007
“The music therapy curriculum at the University of Miami provided me with an outstanding basis of knowledge to go out and be successful in my internship and subsequent career. The classes were tough, but I now feel confident when collaborating with occupational therapists, physical therapists, behavioral specialists, and nurses, to best provide for the specific medical conditions and behavioral objectives of my clients. I currently work with adults who have severe to profound disabilities and often have multiple medical diagnoses, so certain aspects of my clients’ care are quite technical and complex. The scientific, evidenced-based curriculum taught at UM was invaluable in preparing me for my current position. Furthermore, I matured as a musician while attending UM. My private lessons, sight-reading, ear training, and music theory classes, all provided me with a musical foundation that impacts my work in a positive way everyday. The University of Miami was definitely the right choice for me.”