CSA launches music therapy program
Community School of the Arts wants people to know about their new music therapy program – especially during COVID-19.
The school has officially started the program, which facilitates therapy sessions that address “cognitive, emotional, social issues all in the realm of music,” said school founder and executive director Rosilee Russell. Russell said music therapy is especially important during COVID-19, when the areas it addresses are often amplified in the lives of children.
“I just want to make sure we’re reaching kids and teens and helping them with whatever skill they need to help them do better in life and do well in school,” she said.
Music therapy has been cited as an effective mechanism in rehabilitation, speech and combating mental disorders. It has even had medical benefits like reducing the side effects of cancer therapy and aiding in pain relief, according to Harvard Medical School.
The music therapy sessions at Community School of the Arts focus on special needs, pre-academic skills, movement and anxiety and depression.
The classes are taught by Rachel Burgos, who previously did music therapy at Oral Roberts University in Tulsa. Russell said children and teens who take music therapy through Community School of the Arts can expect weekly sessions for 10 weeks. Each class is at least 45 minutes, she said.
Russell said Burgos works with children and teenagers on the autism spectrum as well as to improve their focus and motor skills.
“She’s a bundle of energy, and you can just tell she loves children. It’s a great fit,” she said.
Stressors from COVID-19 can be directly addressed through music therapy, Russell said. She said several teenagers are in distress because of social isolation or worrying about their parents losing a job. They may experience these stressors, a mental illness, or both.
And beyond the therapeutic aspect of the sessions, music therapy also gives workers an avenue to identify students with artistic talents, Russell said.
“They may want to start a drum lesson, or a piano lesson, or they may want to get into one of our acting classes, which is really great for children,” she said.
Russell said she feels her school’s music therapy programs are “a great service” they can provide to the community.
For more information about music therapy sessions at Community School for the Arts, visit https://www.csafortsmith.org/music-therapy.