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Patricia (Zarate) Perez graduated with the first generation of music therapy students from Berklee College of Music in 1999. In Boston, she worked as a music therapist for the Boston Institute for Arts Therapies and Arts in Progress. While pursuing her master's degree in jazz studies at New York University, she met Clive Robbins and volunteered at the Nordoff & Robbins Center for Music Therapy. At the turn of the millennium, she was published in the Journal of Medicine and Pediatrics in Chile and Panama. She has worked for over 20 years as an advocate for music therapy in Latin America and the world.
In 2013, Perez founded the Latin American Music Therapy Symposium in Panama City, Panama. In 2014, she founded the Latin American Music Therapy Network in Boston, and she founded the Music Therapy Center of Panama the following year. In 2017, she began the diploma program in music therapy with the University of the Americas (UDELAS) in Panama City, Panama, and in 2018, she founded the Boston Center for Multicultural Music Therapy in Milton, Massachusetts.
As a saxophonist, Perez has performed in North, Central, and South America; Africa; Asia; and Europe in different settings. Her saxophone (and life) mentors include Wayne Shorter, Jackie McLean, and Jerry Bergonzi, among other great jazz musicians. As a professor, she has taught master classes on music and social change, and music and social activism in America and Europe. She currently serves as executive director of the Panama Jazz Festival and homeschools her three children in Quincy, Massachusetts.
"I would like to inspire students to see the multidimensionality of music and show them the latest evidence of music's power for change and therapeutic benefits, underscoring its importance as a tool for societal betterment."
"The continuous practice of music therapy and performance in diverse settings has given me the tools to find the common tones between healing practices, science, community work, and social activism."