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Brenda Freed has always been aware of the healing power of music since suffering from a muscle degenerative disease at the age of 9 when singing and playing piano were the few activities she could physically do.   Not only did she miraculously recover completely from the disease (for example, in 1991 she completed a 9,000 mile bicycle ride that led her from Iowa to Texas by way of Canada!) but, the experience inspired her to become a music therapist and a private music instructor - careers which enable her to help others through music.  

Brenda's Definition, Goals and Techniques

Brenda's Music Therapy Experience (Including Master's Thesis)

Brenda's Current Music Therapy Practice

Brenda's Presentation Experience

Brenda's Publications

Brenda's Definition, Goals and Techniques

For Brenda Freed, Music Therapy is about using music as well as other creative arts therapies to achieve non-musical goals.   Depending on the treatment population, some goals of music therapy are to increase self-esteem, increase socialization, encourage specific motor movement, reinforce treatment concepts and encourage appropriate self-expression and behaviors.   In her music therapy work, Brenda has focused on songwriting, improvisation and lyric analysis with her clients.   She has also incorporated puppetry and video feedback into her work as well as other creative art therapies such as poetry, drama, art, and movement therapy. "Music does amazing things for people. I've witnessed a child say his first words following a head injury by singing a familiar song with me during a session.   Carefully chosen songs clients relate to in music therapy sessions serve as a starting point for them to talk honestly about their own lives and problems.   Songs written by terminally ill clients serve as a validation of their lives and some have later been read at their memorial services and are a gift to family and friends.   I've also sung to people as they have passed from this life into another realm.   Families have commented that the music made it easier for them as well as for their loved one."
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Brenda's Music Therapy Experience (Including Master's Thesis)

Brenda graduated from the University of Iowa in 1980 with a BA in Music Education and Music Therapy.  In 1982, she started working as a music therapist in the recreational therapy department at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC).   Over the next 8 years, she worked at a frenzied pace testing her own mental health in the process. ;-)
 
She built the UIHC music therapy program from the ground up, including developing and managing a groundbreaking 6-month music therapy internship that attracted interns from across the country.  Brenda was responsible for planning, organizing and implementing music therapy activities for groups and one-on-one's throughout the hospital system, including the areas of General Hospital, Adult and Child Psychiatry and Chemical Dependency.   She supervised University of Iowa music therapy practicum students, and conducted in-services throughout the UIHC system.    In 1986 she was offered a teaching and research assistantship which allowed her to keep her full time job so she began pursuing her Masters Degree in Music Education and Music Therapy (completed 1992) with an emphasis in counseling.   AND, all the while she was active in the regional and national music therapy organizations, chairing the national Employment Relations Committee.  Gotta love the slow pace of university life!  

Brenda's Master's Thesis - Song Versus Poetry as a Focal Point in Group Therapy Session on Group Cohesion:

After coming to Texas in 1992, Brenda Freed teamed up with an art teacher, two massage therapists and a writer to offer "Right Brain Retreats".  Her workshops provided fun and liberating experiences for participants, while exploring self-expression through breathing techniques, vocal exercises and singing. 

From 2005-2010, Brenda served on the Board and as Program Director for Youth Taking Charge (www.youthtakingcharge.us), a Wimberley based non-profit.   During this time she led the music and movement groups at a 5-day residential summer camp and at an 8-week summer day camp where she was also the program coordinator.
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Brenda's Current Music Therapy Practice

Brenda’s work in music therapy is part of her ongoing private music instruction; a business she started in 1991.   For more information on Brenda's use of music therapy in her teaching go to Music Therapy in Teaching.

Brenda Freed is currently available as a workshop facilitator or speaker for corporations, schools and organizations seeking help with supplementary training in the areas of:

  • Improving group cohesion and teamwork,
  • Breathing and relaxation techniques and
  • Exploring self-expression through the voice. 

Her presentations are fun and experiential for all participants.  Brenda’s therapeutic skills and experience range from music therapy across the spectrum of creative arts therapies: poetry, drama, art, and movement therapy.  

So, within one workshop Brenda can use a variety of creative arts therapies, depending on the focus of the workshop.  For more information, please contact Brenda.
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Brenda's Presentation Experience

Brenda has taught several Continuing Education Units (CEU's) for music therapists and for nurses in the areas of chemical dependency and general hospital including:

  • Music Therapy in the Health Care setting
  • Music Therapy with the Chemically Dependent
  • Music Therapy with the Chronically Ill
  • Music Therapy as an Expressive and Therapeutic Tool

While Brenda was the music therapist at the University of Iowa, she was invited to present her innovative music therapy techniques at conferences across the United States and internationally:

  • 1990 - Songwriting in the Treatment of Alcoholism, International Council on Alcohol and Addictions Conference, Berlin, Germany
  • 1990 - Music Therapy with Substance Abusers, National Coalition of Arts Therapy Associations Joint Conference, Washington, D. C.
  • 1989 - Job Search Symposia: It's Out There Waiting for You, National Association for Music Therapy Conference, Kansas City, Missouri
  • 1988 - Music Therapy Supervisor/Intern Relationship: the Joys and Sorrows, Midwestern Regional Music Therapy Conference, Topeka, Kansas
  • 1988 - Application of Poetry in Music therapy, National Association for Music Therapy Conference, Atlanta, Georgia
  • 1987 - Review of Literature: Effects of Music on Group Interaction, National Association for Music Therapy Conference, San Francisco, California
  • 1987 - Use of Video in Music Therapy (2), National Association for Music Therapy Conference, San Francisco, California and the Midwest Regional Music Therapy Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • 1987 - Application of Poetry Therapy to Music Therapy, Midwest Regional Music Therapy Conference, Little Rock, Arkansas
  • 1986 - Songwriting as an Expressive and Therapeutic Tool (3), National Association for Poetry Therapy Conference, Washington, D. C., Midwest Regional Music Therapy Conference, Winter Park, Colorado, and National Coalition of Arts Therapy Association Joint Conference, New York, New York
  • 1985 - Music Therapy Used to Encourage Recreation, Iowa Parks and Recreation Association Conference, Iowa City, Iowa
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Brenda's Publications

Brenda's music therapy publications are still used today in music therapy curriculum at the University level: