CERTIFIED MUSIC PRACITIONER (MHTP): Violin
Jamie Abramson, RN, CMP
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL
For me, being a registered nurse and a musician has given me insight into healing properties from two different caring approaches. I had formal training as a violinist under Roy Malan (Concertmaster of the San Francisco Ballet). I was a member of the Reno Philharmonic, I played for Smokey Robinson accompanying his band, as well as other musical institutions. Then tragedy struck, my husband died of cancer in a five month time period and I found myself not only without any desire to play music but needed to provide for my six year old daughter. I studied and became a Registered Nurse. After eight years, it became very clear that music was missing in my life. Music, playing my violin, began to nurture my soul, like a breath of fresh air.
As I completed my CMP (Certified Music Practitioner) I saw different perspectives of helping people, one from the medical/nursing side and the other from the musical side. I remember being asked to play for an older gentleman who had multiple orthopedic injuries. He was lying in bed, in pain and had such a blank, lost look on his face. But when I started to play my violin he suddenly had tears streaming down his face. I asked if it was ok to continue. He said "Yes, these are good tears." He named not only the title of the piece but the composer. He said that he still had his dads violin from when his dad would play for him as a child. He himself did not expect this 'breath of fresh air.'
I'll share one more. After I had played at the bedside for a patient who I thought seemed disinterested, she called the physical therapist back in the room (this was after I left) and said that she would be willing to participate in therapy now. She had refused for three days in a row, until now. The therapist sought me out to tell me this. The patient said she "just felt better."
Working as an orthopedic nurse in the hospital, I have developed a deep understanding of the many needs of my patients with regard to pain relief, insomnia, relaxation, and so many of the elements that go into healing and wellness. This combination of musical artistry, long term medical/nursing experience and the skillful use of a CMP in working with physicians and staff in order to provide peace at the bedside is what I find most rewarding. To quote my uncle, "song of God, play me now."
Jamie will coordinate and provide oversight of clinical aspects of implementation of Healing Harmonies.
CERTIFIED MUSIC PRACITIONER (MHTP): Harp, Hammered Dulcimer
Catherine S. Gotschall, Sc.D., CMP
Doctorate in Public Health
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL
For me, playing music at the bedside is a vocation – a calling to bring a compassionate musical presence in service to those experiencing physical, emotional or spiritual pain. I have served hospice patients and their families by offering the healing power of music to people in the last stage of life. For five years, I have been privileged to witness the healing power of music bring peace to those who suffer.
My love of music has been a lifetime pursuit. I have played various musical instruments and sung in choirs since childhood. In addition to the harp and hammered dulcimer which I play therapeutically as a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP), I also play the tuba in a Dixieland band and am a member of the Gulf Coast Banjo Society, where I play occasionally at Snook Harbor on Thursdays. I am also a certified end of life doula, a gardener, a beekeeper and conservationist.
As a health scientist for more than 30 years, I have served as the Director of Research at a Level I Trauma Center and as a senior health scientist for the Federal Office of Emergency Medical Services; I have published more than 40 peer-reviewed articles in medical journals and textbooks. I will serve as the evaluation coordinator for Harmonies in Health and provide therapeutic music to residents of nursing homes in Sarasota and Charlotte Counties.
CERTIFIED MUSIC PRACITIONER (MHTP): Guitar & Voice
Kim D. Bennett, B.S., CCME, CMP
Contract Manager- IACCM-Certified Expert
COLLIER COUNTY, FL
I have a special interest in helping comfort individuals who are facing progressive memory loss. I understand the unique challenges and trauma experienced by individuals with dementia, and the challenges of residents in nursing homes, after caring for a parent with a neurodegenerative disease for many years. I feel called to be present for those who have a limited support system. As a teenager, I volunteered in nursing homes playing guitar and singing at bedside. As part of the MHTP practicum, I provided bedside music at Naples Community Hospital.
My professional career is in contract and program management. I have developed strategic teaming of public, corporate and nonprofit entities for various endeavors, including delivery of international medical supplies. My knowledge of grant administration will support Healing Harmonies.
CERTIFIED MUSIC PRACITIONER (MHTP): Mountain Dulcimer
Adele Jacobson, CPCU, CMP
Founder of Music in Medicine, Inc., a Florida non-profit
CITRUS COUNTY, FL
In retirement, I have found the opportunity to help people less fortunate than myself. It all started when I trained as a Certified Music Practitioner and began ministering to patients in our local hospitals, hospices and skilled nursing facilities. I learned I was the only trained therapeutic musician actively practicing and helping patients. I recognized the tremendous need for the music. And there was an equally pressing need for avenues for our many local musicians to use their musical talents in a new and very rewarding manner: therapeutic music. Hence, the idea was born to start a non-profit with the dual mission of introducing therapeutic music to our rural area and to raise funds to provide scholarships to musicians to train in this art and science. We currently have five musicians in training. Most have completed the coursework and are waiting for hospitals and facilities to open to allow them to complete the internship portion of their training. The website for Music in Medicine, Inc. is www.musicinmedicinecitrus.org.
I haven’t always been in music or health arenas. Originally my B.S. degree was intended to guide me into med school, but life intervened. I ended up with a successful career in business, where I managed a large multi-location operation for a Fortune 500 company. I have been able to transfer some of those management and communication skills into my current non-profit endeavor. I look forward to expanding our service to our community, and hope we can move our rural area from being “underserved” to being “well served.”
Although I did not have a career oriented toward music, I was raised in a household where music was an ever-present companion. My mother saw to my musical education which included playing multiple instruments and countless trips to operas and symphonic performances. I owe her so much for instilling in me a love and appreciation of music.
CERTIFIED MUSIC PRACITIONER (MHTP): Guitar, Voice, Flute
Debbie Lewis, M.Sc. (Biology), MDiv, CMP, BCC
Board Certified Chaplain (APC)
ORANGE COUNTY, FL
I have served as a Certified Music Practitioner (CMP) for 5 years at Life Care Center of Orlando and Tuskawilla Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, two skilled nursing facilities in Orlando, Florida. Previously I served as a hospital chaplain and spiritual care manager with Orlando Health for 15 years. Prior to that time, I was an environmental biologist for 15 years, working on the assessment and conservation of natural resources.
I have always been drawn to music and its ability to touch the heart, to heal, and to create connections with others. I grew up singing and playing guitar as a child with my family, creating lasting memories. When I served in spiritual care, I found voice and guitar to have value in my care of hospital medical-surgical and ICU patients, bringing ease to patients, their family members, and to the hospital staff. Nurses, doctors, and therapists often commented on how the music calmed and centered them in the frenzied clinical environment.
I have always had a special rapport with and appreciation of seniors, having grown up in a small community, riding my bike and frequently visiting all our older neighbors. I have found that seniors are very receptive to my soft voice and gentle acoustic guitar. My heart goes out to seniors, recognizing their challenges with age-related health conditions, grieving lost friends, and staying connected with families.
CERTIFIED MUSIC PRACITIONER (MHTP): Alto and Native American Flute
Cheryl ("Chery") Cohen-Kerr, BA Elem. Ed., CMP
Certified REMO Health Rhythyms Drum Facilitator
ORANGE COUNTY, FL
My first memories of music and the power of the arts were my dad's NY connections, his gigs with the “Harmonicats” with Deanna Durbin, his clarinet for Klezmer music, and his head shots for acting. In the background of getting ready for school was the jazz of Duke Ellington's big band, Ella's scat singing and Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue. The stories of my Russian immigrant grandparents lingered like some novel that I could only imagine as they passed long before I had a chance to meet them. They were forced to leave Russia during the Revolution landing in NY., 1906. My comedic uncles doing their “schtick” in the Borscht Belt of the Catskills and my aunt a concert pianist. The beat went on.
Fast forward to my first flute playing experience in 7th grade, 1964, at a Junior high school. The Rock and Jazz of my brothers group was heard through the house as they prepped for another gig and tour. On I played absorbing the ideas of improvisation, through osmosis perhaps. In college, I continued with flute and some piano, but making the decision of staying with the Magic Flute. As a substitute teacher, I knew my true passion wasn't the three R's. I even started my own small business after college in 1981 with healthy green foods. I contracted with On Location Education, teaching child actors behind the scenes, how to use theatre games to destress and get ready for the camera. A few of the contracts I worked on was John Goodman's “Matinee” and Tom Hank's movie , “Big.” My flute music was dubbed in for Melissa Joan Hart on an episode of “Clarissa Explains it All.” I got to be an extra in that show as well. The beat went on.
Fast forward to 1997. In my own recovery from ill health and stress, I discovered the Healing Arts program at a local hospital in Orlando that contracted me to play at the bedside for patients as a performer, at first, then in 1999, I was hired on staff as a pool employee, aka, Healing Arts Specialist. This is where I learned about MHTP, took the training and graduated in 2007 as a CMP. I worked with drama therapists, artists at the bedside and of course, musicians. I met a nurse who hired me to go to Peru playing flute music for a health professionals tour, from Macchu Picchu to the Amazon Rainforest, “Have Flute will Travel!” This is where I met a singing Shaman of the small village and loved their natural medicine. After my return to the U.S., I became a Health Rhythms Facilitator and instructed groups at the Cancer Center Body, Mind and Spirit Program to learn how to use rhythm protocols for stress reduction and immune building. My entrepreneurial spirit was on tap for a total span of 23 years. I was self employed with providing flute music and Health Rhythms for Elder Care, Very Special Arts (VSA) of Florida, Wrap Around Orange, behavioral health facilities and private individuals. Of course, Covid came in and transformed everything...The beat stopped!
CERTIFIED MUSIC PRACITIONER (MHTP): Mountain Dulcimer
PATRICIA A. CLARK, PSY.D., CMP
Retired Clinical Psychologist and Founder of
SEND IN THE MUSIC, LLC
SEMINOLE COUNTY, FL
I have had long and rewarding career in education, and mental health. I also have a long history of volunteer activity. Since my retirement from my latest career as a licensed clinical psychologist, I have developed and used my interest in instrumental music to bring comfort and cheer to others. I became a certified music practitioner and I volunteer as a visiting musician
at a hospital, nursing home, and hospice center.
In response to the COVID crisis, a little company that I formed with musician friends, Send in the Music, LLC quickly went from being a local community based organization looking to increase our ability to provide live music in medical settings, to offering free and public weekly, digital music “jams” on the ZOOM platform. Our main goal shifted from focusing on the patients with whom we no longer had access, to alleviating the social isolation of our predominantly senior citizen musicians who were suddenly left without the social contact provided by their various music groups. From March 2020, we met on ZOOM every Saturday afternoon for 2 hrs. Although we are primarily mountain dulcimer players, all musicians and lovers of music were welcomed at our ZOOM jams.
After two and a half years of being a consistent, predictable, friendly
presence on the internet, we now know our weekly jams have effectively
alleviated isolation, and provided a place for many folks to feel a sense of
belonging. In fact, our community of musicians has grown to encompass
new friends from across the United States, Canada and Europe. As the country has started to open-up, attendance at our weekly jam has
not subsided. Folks continue to come because we continue to meet a need.
I will be available to Healing Harmonies to offer my expertise in psychology, education, music, and remote music interventions.
CERTIFIED CLINICAL MUSICIAN: HARPS FOR HEALING: Harp
MARGARET E. GERMAIN, B. Music Ed., CCM
SARASOTA COUNTY, FL
I have spent my life as a professional musician, working as a music teacher, performer, and, most recently, as a Certified Clinical Musician. I studied piano, organ and voice at Northwestern University and received a Bachelor of Music Education. During my high school and college years I worked at a nursing home playing piano and guitar for the residents, including playing and singing with guitar at the bedside of many of the residents. I found this to be very rewarding and have continued to play in assisted living centers ever since.
Throughout my career I have witnessed the profound effect that music has on people. For eight years, I had the incredible privilege of being the music teacher at Oak Park School in Sarasota, a county wide special education school. I directed a choir of 30 mentally handicapped teenagers and took them around to perform at other schools. They were wonderful! I also worked with children with many severe disabilities, including a young girl who had had a catastrophic brain injury. Although she was blind and confined to a rolling bed, she clapped her hands on the beat whenever I played music for her. Her day was made infinitely more enjoyable when I played her favorite songs. This was the most dramatic example of the power of music that I have ever witnessed.
After my son was born, I took a position as full time Organist, Harpist, and Director of Music at St. Michael the Archangel Church in Sarasota. During the twenty five years that I worked there, I was part of so many people’s lives, playing organ and harp for their celebrations as well as comforting them in their sadness.
A few years ago, I directed the Florida Sun Coast Threshold Choir, which sang for patients in hospice care. In 2018, WBBH, NBC2 in Ft. Myers did a short TV news story about us as we sang for a hospice patient in Sarasota. The reporter said, “If you listen closely, you can hear the voices of heaven on Florida’s coast.” The hospice patient kept thanking us, and said he was so grateful to have received such a wonderful gift. I was deeply touched by that experience. It was such a beautiful way to use music to help people in transition that I decided to become a therapeutic musician. I enrolled in the Healing Harps program and learned about the many scientific studies that demonstrate the effectiveness of music on pain management, stress and anxiety reduction, and the benefit of music in memory care. As a professional musician, it was fascinating to learn how to play in such a way that would help patients with whatever they were dealing with at that time. I have been playing my harp at Tidewell Hospice House in Port Charlotte, as well as in private homes for people in need of therapeutic harp music. I’ve seen patients who were barely conscious move their feet to the beat. Music gets in, when nothing else does! Then my husband had surgery and was struggling with pain, so I brought my therapy harp to play for him. After a few minutes of harp music he started to relax. Then I played one of his favorite songs and he started singing along. He was engaged with the music, smiling, and no longer aware of the pain. How incredible is the power of music!
Being a Certified Clinical Musician has given me the knowledge and ability to bring healing music to those residents who need it the most. I look forward to being part of the Healing Harmonies project and letting the gentle healing power of music touch and uplift the lives of many more people.