Berklee Renews Partnership with Ukulele Kids Club to Deliver At-Home Music Therapy
Ukulele Kids Club (UKC) and Berklee’s Center for Music Therapy (CMT) will come together once again to provide at-home music therapy support groups for children and adolescents with chronic health conditions and other challenges. Now in its second year, the initiative is led by a team of Berklee’s clinical music therapy experts and utilizes ukuleles and learning materials courtesy of UKC to offer world-class music therapy to help improve the physical, emotional, and mental health of participants.
The initiative is provided to families at no cost, with Berklee funding all expenses related to the therapy sessions and UKC supplying instruments and other materials. Any child living with a physical, mental, or emotional health condition will be eligible to participate, regardless of admission to an inpatient or outpatient medical facility. Services through this collaboration will specifically target children living with chronic disease, as well as children and adolescents in the Greater Boston area who could benefit from engaging in well-being practices.
“Our organization is ecstatic to be working with Berklee’s Center for Music Therapy as we continue to provide top-level music therapy to some of the most resilient and deserving young people in our community,” said Marlén Rodriguez-Wolfe, CEO of UKC. “The success of last year’s collaboration between UKC and Berklee and the feedback we receive from our partner music therapy programs have reaffirmed our shared belief that clinical music therapy is a much-needed, powerful tool in helping young patients manage their condition and feel empowered as they navigate their wellness journey.”
This initiative is part of the UKC at Home program, which aims to offer a continuum of care for medically fragile children once they are homebound. Children and teens participating in the groups will also have access to additional resources through the other support elements of the program.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 27 percent of children in the U.S. suffer from a chronic health condition, which can have a negative impact on their physical, emotional, and mental well-being and that of their families. To support these children and families, Berklee and UKC will provide board-certified music therapy professionals to manage and facilitate virtual music therapy sessions.
Among these experts is music therapist Natalie Cole, who earned her Master of Arts in music therapy from Berklee. Cole strives to innovate and educate, creating music therapy and mental health programs focused on self-empowerment that are accessible to all ages and backgrounds. She is currently the music therapist for Esperanza Academy in Lawrence, Massachusetts, and is piloting the UKC at Home virtual program.
“This initiative directly aligns with our mission to foster students' passion and skills to work with and advocate for individuals in diverse clinical and community-based settings,” said Joy Allen, chair of Berklee’s Music Therapy Department. “As a department staffed by leading experts in the field, we are committed to providing unique learning experiences while simultaneously serving communities who have limited access to services due to economic, health, or other resource deficits. We are gratified to help UKC in its mission to transform lives through music and assist in the continuum of care that is so needed for chronically ill children once they leave the hospital.”
Because of UKC’s affiliation with over 300 music therapy programs around the world, a significant number of children and adolescents have had access to the groups from the start. The Center for Music Therapy continues to lead recruitment efforts to bring additional children living with conditions who would benefit from clinical music therapy sessions into the program. As organizations committed to increasing equity, access, and participation of all children in music, UKC and the CMT strive to support the well-being of children regardless of socioeconomic status, country of origin, race, sexual identity, or other demographic markers.
About Ukulele Kids Club
The Ukulele Kids Club (UKC) is a nonprofit organization based in Lakeland, Florida. The UKC was founded in 2013 by Corey and Edda Bergman as a tribute to Corey’s son Jared Bergman. Since its founding, the UKC has supported the healthcare of more than 13,000 medically fragile children through music, music therapy, and donations of its signature instrument. The UKC works with more than 300 music therapy programs in the U.S. and around the world. The UKC is a platinum-level GuideStar Seal of Transparency participant. Learn more at theukc.org.
About the Center for Music Therapy
The Center for Music Therapy is an integral part of Berklee's Music Therapy Department and is dedicated to providing innovative music therapy services targeting identified health disparities in the greater Boston community. The center focuses on developing community programs with leading healthcare and community organizations to expand music therapy services, training, education, and advocacy for community connection, social change, and improved quality of life for typically under-resourced populations.