The Augusta Symphony is taking its mission “to share the joy of music with our community” beyond the walls of the concert hall by contracting a licensed, board-certified music therapist to provide free group music therapy. Beginning in fall of 2019, the program will serve 60-80 adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities from area group homes and facilities. Because the Symphony owns the space in which Community Chords group music therapy will be provided, there is potential to expand the services to include other groups who can benefit from music therapy, based on funding. Augusta Symphony wishes to grow and use this program as an accessible source for seniors with memory care needs, veterans who cannot be served in local VA Hospitals, people on the autism spectrum, and others in need of this vital service.
Critical to the Community Chords group music therapy program is the desire to make it FREE to participants. While physical and occupational therapy is often covered by medical insurance, music therapy is much less likely to be covered. Research has shown that for adults with developmental disabilities, music therapy can increase reality orientation, improve communication skills, improve range of motion, assist in memory maintenance, provide sensory stimulation, improve social skills, and increase positive leisure skills.
The establishment of the Knox Music Institute as home of the Symphony’s Community Chords group music therapy program comes as a much-needed resource in this area of healthcare. It is the goal of the Symphony that the Community Chords group music therapy program become a widely accessible resource for diverse groups in the area, providing an essential tool in the kit of holistic healthcare.