Berklee Blogs

First-hand accounts of the Berklee experience

Author: Michael (Page 2 of 4)

The Blind Woods @Bonnaroo – year two!

We were amazed after performing at Bonnaroo 2011. There are no words to describe how we feel to be returning this year, but we will try…

This time around, our names are featured on the lineup with some of the biggest names in music: Radiohead, Phish, The Beach Boys, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. We are going as performers, but can’t hide our excitement as passionate fans of live music.

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Music Therapy in Athens, Greece

Four Berklee students just arrived back from Athens, Greece, where they spent spring break with two students from Lesley University, collectively doing music therapy service work in various hospitals and facilities around the city of Athens. The group was in Greece from March 16 through March 25, and visited five different sites, where they presented to staff with aims of educating professionals about what music therapy is and why it should be integrated into treatment programs.

The first day was spent at Sinouri Psychiatric Facility, located outside of Athens in Kifissia. The team of six split into smaller teams of two, and each twosome lead a morning group and an afternoon group session with approximately five adult psychiatric inpatients. The students worked together as facilitators and used music to try to achieve nonmusical goals, such as communication, socialization, reality orientation, and development of coping skills. In the evening, the team went to Tender Age Preschool, were a large group session was co-lead by all six students. Activities in this setting were geared towards basic educational goals (counting, colors, etc), sharing, turn taking and waiting, and expression and empowerment.

Tuesday and Thursday were at Onaseio Cardiac Hospital, where the team worked with adult patients who were pre or post surgery, had assistive devices, and nonresponsive and/or comatose patients.  Wednesday morning we spent at the Onaseio on their pediatric unit, and Wednesday afternoon we went to Mitera Pediatric Hospital and visited the NICU, where we saw 25+ infants.

On our final day, Friday, we went to a private eating disorders clinic and conducted a group session with adult female outpatients. We did songwriting and lyric adaption exercises, aimed at providing long-term coping skills as well a means of expression and self-actualization.

The week concluded with a presentation of our experiences at Nakas Conservatory, and was attended by friends and family in addition to musicians, medical professionals, Nakas teacher and staff, and conservatory students.

We view the trip as a huge success, as we completed our goals of providing direct music therapy services to in-need clients and also of educating and familiarizing medical professionals of the benefits of using music therapy.

For more detailed reviews of each day, go to


Canary’s Amy Mantis Talks About Her SXSW Experience

A quick introduction – my name is Amy Mantis and I play guitar in and write songs for Canary, a five-piece rock n roll band comprised entirely of Berklee students.  You can download our new EP (for free!) at

Last week, Canary had the chance of a lifetime – to play at South by Southwest (SXSW) through Heavy Rotation Records (HRR) at Berklee’s 7th Annual SXSW Party.

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2012 American Music Therapy Association

Mid-March every year, music therapists in the New England area start to get excited: the annual regional conference for the American Music Therapy Association is almost here. 2012 will be my and my peers first year attending, and not only attending- but also presenting.

For the past nine months, we have been diligently working to collect data that supports our hypothesis that music can be used to treat feelings of isolation in seniors. We have gone to senior centers and collected this data using a self-created questionnaire that assesses whether or not there is a significant rise in self-rated feelings of inclusion, commitment, attention, and accomplishment. The questionnaire is given both before and after a group music therapy session, in hopes that the post scores will show raised levels of the dependent variables.

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Potemkin on the Potomac

“…And when you nailed that high Bb,” I said to Amparo, our horn player. “Do you remember, I turned to you and smiled?  That was an incredible moment.”  We were giddily talking about last Friday’s show.

“Actually, you smiled maybe a second before the note!  When you smiled, we both knew the note would come out perfectly.  I wasn’t worried about it anymore.”

This is just one anecdote that illustrates how magical Friday’s performance was for everyone involved.  But it’s significant to me because it represents the same feeling that every musician and composer in our team had as the final chord of the finale thundered to a close, and which we felt even as we said our goodbyes at the airport the next day: the exhilaration of having done something impossible.

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