Gifted Music Therapists and Their New Instruments

Good things start with a warm cup of coffee.

In this case, meeting up with Brian Schreck, MA, MT-BC and Kathryn Bruno, MT-BC on Monday at Rookwood Commons Starbucks. Cold morning, icy streets. Kathryn walked over in between sessions at Eating Recovery Center Cincinnati. Brian braved a drive from Louisville, where he now serves adult patients at Norton Cancer Institute (NCI).

Brian Schreck, Kathryn Bruno - Rookwood Starbucks - 2018 01 08

We’ve met up routinely over the past decade. Usually to equip them with more FLEA ukuleles for music therapy at Cincinnati Children’s. And I always learn something new about the realm of music therapy (non-confidential info only!). Helps me help them.

FIFTEEN instruments were presented. Six were honorary donations to these gifted music therapists for personal and professional use. The remaining nine fulfill a special order funded by NCI’s new “Cancer Beats” program. Kathryn is posing with a Mango soprano FLEA ukulele. Brian is holding his new Rainsong graphite A/E guitar thanks to the generosity of Rainsong Graphite Guitars in Woodinville, Washington.

But beyond coffee, conversation and poses, the best is yet to come. Instruments of this caliber – in the hands of gifted music therapists – summon expression, hope and even joy despite a life threatening illness or condition.

The warmth of that coffee moment keeps pouring into the hearts of hundreds of patients, their family members, friends and caregivers.

THANK YOU Kathryn Bruno, MT-BC for brightening lives!

Two brand new FLEA ukuleles with cases are being donated to Kathryn Bruno, MT-BC in honor of her music therapy impact at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, and her present role at Eating Recovery Center Cincinnati.

Our direct instrument donations (supported by sales proceeds) are not traditionally “counted” toward GoFundMe and sponsorship goals. However, we’re stretching beyond limits to recognize Kathryn’s special impact and collaborative relationship.

Seeing is believing. In this video (May 2011), young Milosh is in ICU awaiting a heart transplant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. He responds to a music therapy session led by Kathryn, who engages a guitar-strumming nurse and musical mom in the process.

Fast forward 2 years (August 2013), beyond the heart procedure. Milosh is home, enjoying a FLEA ukulele gifted to him in honor of his beaming smile and spirit.

Beyond asserting positive impact on patients and families, Kathryn has a skill of sharing what Music Therapy is all about with the general public. CLICK our prior post where she visits Cincinnati’s local NBC studio to explain her pediatric hospital role. Along with music therapist Mimi Sinclair, Kathryn enages the host in a lively demo.

Since April 2016, Kathryn expanded beyond pediatrics to lead the music therapy program at Eating Recovery Center in Cincinnati. ERC is the nation’s largest network for treating eating disorders; they also treat mood and anxiety disorders.

Emotional coping is involved with any life-threatening disease or physical impairment. Mental health can also pose a “front and center” challenge. Music therapy adds to other interventions to create successful outcomes. Please CLICK and read a blog co-authored by Kathryn, telling how music therapy responds to this mindset:

‘I’m hopeless,’ I sobbed to my therapist, ‘I’m never going to get better’ … I was convinced that nothing was going to change.

Talking openly, becoming aware and seeking helpful interventions for mental health is often blocked by stigma in our culture. We hope this post and Kathryn’s continued music therapy successes help chip away that stigma.

Please consider making a contribution to our “Ukuleles for Hospital Music Therapy” campaign on GoFundMe. Soaring past the goal will bring more holistic music therapy to those in critical care settings.

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