Music Therapy Feted For Involvement


ST. LOUIS — Maryville University’s Music Therapy program has received a professional service award from the Delta Gamma Center for Children with Visual Impairments, in appreciation for the program’s “commitment and support to the children and families served” by the Center. The award was received by Cynthia Briggs, Psy.D., director of Maryville’s music therapy program, and Soo-Jin Kwoun, Ph.D., assistant professor of music therapy (pictured), at a recognition dinner.

“It’s great; it’s very thoughtful of them to acknowledge that we’ve made this connection,” Briggs said. For the past two years, Briggs and Kwoun have each volunteered two hours a month at the Delta Gamma Center, which “provides individualized education and therapy services for infants [with visual impairments] and their parents” as well as “support services for children of all ages, their families and the community.” The Center approached Briggs two years ago with a desire to incorporate music therapy into its already existing physical and occupational therapy programs for the children they serve. The Center initially sought student help for integrating music therapy into its curriculum but Briggs volunteered to do it herself, in order “to develop it to the point where a student can come in [and be of use]” she said.

Several Maryville music therapy students already have completed internships and field placements at the Center, while others help when they can. Briggs said she hopes to somehow integrate the Center’s work into Maryville’s music therapy curriculum.

Briggs works with the Center’s infant-parent program, which serves children ages 0-3 and their parents. She uses song and music to teach the children things they need to know. Parents learn the music as well so they can use it with their children at home. For example, during “Apple Week,” children learned a song about how apples are round, hard and red, Briggs explained. “I help build into the music things the children need, and the parents learn it to sing to their children at home,” she said.

Kwoun, on the other hand, works with preschoolers ages 3 to 6, helping them develop their social skills. “It’s difficult to interact with people when you can’t see them,” she said. Kwoun works with the children in groups without their parents, building the children’s social interaction skills. Both Maryville faculty members plan to continue and increase their involvement with the Delta Gamma Center, reflecting the University’s commitment to forge ongoing partnerships with community, civic and corporate organizations.

Maryville University, founded in 1872, is a private, coeducational institution offering approximately 50 undergraduate, seven master’s and two doctoral degree programs to 3,300 students. Ranked by U.S. News and World Report as one of America’s Best Colleges in the Midwest, Maryville University prepares its students for successful and meaningful careers by offering programs that integrate liberal arts with professional studies.

Among Maryville’s most recent graduates, 94 percent are employed or attending graduate school. Approximately 15,000 alumni work and live in the St. Louis region.

– by May Ashour, student writer, Marketing and Public Relations