Boston Goodwill Engages Individuals with Disabilities Through Music Therapy

guitar 300x200In conjunction with Morgan Memorial Goodwill Industries’ (Boston) Day Habilitation program, the Community Music Center of Boston (CMCB) has been providing music therapy to individuals with disabilities for nearly 20 years. The program provides people with behavioral, emotional, intellectual and physical limitations with individualized skill development for use in everyday life.

A variety of active treatments are designed to increase participants’ community integration and self-efficacy. CMCB’s music therapy department hosts a biweekly program attended by four groups of participants from the Boston Goodwill.

“The group from Goodwill is a great population to learn from,” said Claudia Eliaza, director of music therapy at CMCB. “The participants have a wide range of limitations and the program offers an inclusive environment where they can use music to express themselves.”

Day habilitation participants select the recreational activity of their choice, anything from bowling to jewelry making—and music is a popular choice. Since the program moved to the Music Center in the South End of Boston, all those who wish to participate can due to its larger space. Music therapy group members in particular have the opportunity to study songwriting, lyrical analysis, world music and listening to better express themselves.

“Music therapy does more than work with emotional and cognitive limitations” Eliaza said. “A concerted effort is made to work with those with physical limitations as well. The act of striking a drum can help a participant’s fine and gross motor skills, balance and special awareness.”