Music Therapy

Imagine you have been asked to present a statement to your local School Board in favor of retaining the high school's performing arts programs, all threatened by budget cuts. What would you tell them? (This was from the Music School Application Essay, which I had to fill out to transfer to the Music School)


Kristina Roelefs was born on Christmas Day to parents who loved the arts - her mother was an actress and singer, and her father was a music professor. As a baby and toddler, not surprisingly, Kristina loved to "sing" along with her mother and would listen intently to her father's cello playing. However, for some reason, Kristina would not talk. Her mother's friend, a developmental pediatrician, made the disheartening diagnosis - autism, a disorder which made Kristina aloof to the world around her and caused her to lack communication skills. Kristina's parents wanted to give her the best chance at a fulfilling life, though, so they reached out to her the only way they knew how - through music. Kristina proved to have a substantial gift for music, quickly picking up the cello and piano, and she also became involved in a local musical theatre group. Her talent attracted people to her, and she became more and more adept at communicating with them and forging friendships. This "therapy" served her so well that she is now a musical theatre major in college - and almost no one would be able to distinguish her as someone who as a child could not communicate.

Such a dramatic transformation at the hands of...

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