Congratulations to the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy!

It was an exciting and emotional night for me as colleagues and friends gathered for a ribbon cutting event at the new Nordoff-Robbins Center at New York University. The dedication and incredible effort of the current staff continues to make it possible to carry this work forward in a welcoming, modernized space. A beautiful, caring community of parents, clients, therapists and students celebrated the event. Bravo!

Copy of RibbonCutting_022.jpg
BW, DM.jpg

Music Therapy Perspectives Editorial Board Appointment

I’ve just joined an incredible group of music therapy colleagues on the Editorial Board of Music Therapy Perspectives led by Editor-in-Chief Dr. Laura Beer.

We all need new, positive challenges and ways to serve the field. I’m looking forward to reading in depth the creative output of contemporary music therapists and anticipate being inspired to write more myself!

Winter Music

I hope you’re finding ways to keep warm and optimistic during this sometimes challenging season. I’m discovering that a snowstorm is a fine time to delve into music, whether playing, singing, listening, writing a new online course or tuning into podcasts on musical subjects familiar and new.

I recently heard “Paul Simon’s Curious Mind” on the podcast series MTC (Meet the Composer). The show features his collaboration with the ensemble yMusic. It’s wonderful to listen to his songs reimagined with the added timbres of strings, flute, clarinet and trumpet—for me, unexpected musical self-care!

2019 Winter.JPG

New Podcast in Imagine Magazine: "Raising the Bar on our Clinical Music"

In the podcast "Raising the Bar on our Clinical Music," I explore the musical legacy of Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins through analysis and demonstration of a few of their wonderful Children's Playsongs as well as those from contemporary therapists. Listen and gain inspiration to create your own music—in styles that are appealing to your particular clients—based on the foundational ideas of Nordoff and Robbins. Thanks Petra Kern and Imagine Magazine!

Celebrating the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy

Before their move to new quarters just around the corner, Nordoff-Robbins staff invited colleagues, friends, and current and former students to be together in that special place, to reminisce, make music, and celebrate the 28 years of music therapy that has taken place. It was wonderful to be with everyone!

With Suzanne Nowikas Sorel, Jacqueline Birnbaum and Alan Turry, members of the original staff of the Center.

With Suzanne Nowikas Sorel, Jacqueline Birnbaum and Alan Turry, members of the original staff of the Center.

With Kenneth Aigen and Barbara Hesser

With Kenneth Aigen and Barbara Hesser

Research On Music Therapy in Singapore

A team of researchers in Singapore have developed and validated a new scale to assess music therapy engagement with older adults in an acute hospital unit for persons with dementia. During the past two years I served as consultant to the project which was based on the clinical work of Jane Tan, an NYU Music Therapy graduate and current Nordoff-Robbins Certification Candidate.

It's important to note that during research observations, Jane was able to work in a natural, person-centered manner, co-creating music based on the overt and latent capacities of her patients. Results showed that the Music Therapy Engagement scale for Dementia (MTED) is a clinically appropriate and psychometrically valid scale to evaluate music therapy engagement in persons with dementia.  Authors include Shiou-Liang Wee, Pei Shi Yeo, Juliet Choo, Dr. Philip Yap, Jane Tan and Michele Ritholz.

For more information, please use link below:

Tan, J., Wee, S., Yeo, P., Choo, J., Ritholz, M., & Yap, P. (2019). A new music therapy engagement scale for persons with dementia. International Psychogeriatrics, 31(1), 49-58. doi: 10.1017/S1041610218000509 

Newly Published Bio in The Lives of Music Therapists: Profiles in Creativity, Vol.3

What an illuminating process!  I was invited to contribute a chapter on my life experiences in music and music therapy for Barcelona Publishers'  third book in their online series. Looking back helped me to relive the many ways I've been drawn to everything musical, and to better grasp the natural way my love of the art led me to becoming a music therapist. The process also brought me greater appreciation of all the people who have touched, taught and encouraged me through the various stages of my life. Thanks to Kenneth Bruscia and Barcelona Publishers for the inclusion of video excerpts and photos to personalize the bio!

Make Therapy Musical-Creative Arts Therapy PLLC Offers Continuing Education to New York Licensed Creative Arts Therapists


 We are pleased to announce that, as of January 10, 2018, Make Therapy Musical – Creative Arts Therapy PLLC is an approved provider of continuing education for Licensed Creative Arts Therapists (LCATs) in New York State. Therapists who hold the LCAT license are permitted to earn up to 12 credits (CE's) through self-study courses during each 36-month registration period.

Currently, LCAT's can earn up to 13 credits by enrolling in the courses Clinical Composition I & II which are also approved by CBMT for MT-BC credits. In the coming months, new self-study courses with a variety of learning opportunities will be added. Stay tuned!


The Lives of Music Therapists: Profiles in Creativity-Volume 2 Barcelona Publishers

I am honored to have contributed the profile on my dear mentor and colleague Carol Anne Matteson Robbins in Barcelona Publishers' in the newly released second volume on the music therapists who have created the platform from which we work.

Carol's work and musical gifts can be experienced in 4 video examples within the chapter. In her own way and with her own voice, she carried carried forward the work of Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins. Carol inspired the next generation of music therapists-- by example and through her presence and work ethic--to explore how deeply music can touch and transform.


Make Therapy Musical Interviewed for Pigeons and Planes Music Site

Music making with a therapist can be looked at as a unique and precious form of companionship,” Ritholz says, explaining the power of music making as a healing tool for depression. “With or without words, clients may be activated to play when usually passive, express feelings, and move toward other emotional states as they feel enlivened and comforted by the music.
— Michele Ritholz quoted in Pigeons and Planes
Pictured above, Isaiah Rashad, whose story you can read about in the  the full article .  

Pictured above, Isaiah Rashad, whose story you can read about in the the full article.  

Recently, I had the unexpected opportunity to speak with a writer from Pigeons and Planes, a website focusing on new music discovery. 

In "Hip-Hop as Therapy: The Healing Qualities of Rap", Donna-Claire Chesman ties together ideas from music therapy with the work being done by Beats Rhymes and Life, an organization that "helps youth tell their authentic stories and narratives, and look at their stories from a place of resilience as opposed to deficit."  A sixteen-week process leads to the production of a group album and performance.

Check out the entire article on Pigeons and Planes!


New Online Self-Study CMTE Courses Launched

Make Therapy Musical (MTM) reflects the vision that music therapists possess a unique means of engagement—music itself—and that our responsive musical/therapeutic skills can be continually refined to support professional growth, treatment implementation and the meeting of therapeutic goals.

In that spirit, MTM is pleased to announce the launch of 2 CBMT-Approved Self-Study Courses on the uses of Composition in Music Therapy. 

The self-study course “Principles of Clinical Composition I: Creative Musical Strategies that Support Therapy Goals” will provide the participant with a clinical understanding of the goal-directed use of musical elements that can be incorporated in instrumental compositions, through 1) Instructor introduction, 2) Reading material, 3) Written musical examples and analysis and 4) Video excerpt with explanatory material.

The self-study course “Principles of Clinical Composition II: Crafting Instrumental Compositions for Music Therapy” will provide an opportunity for the participant to apply the ideas gained in the pre-requisite self-study course “Principles of Clinical Composition I: Creative Musical Strategies that Support Therapy Goals.” Video intro, readings, compositional guidelines, independent work and instructor feedback will culminate in the creation of a piece which is aesthetically pleasing and provides a musical arena in which to work on specific clinical goals and objectives with a client(s).

Ritholz Box Ad.png