MSU Music Therapy Program Faces Cuts

By: Tiffany Teasley Email
By: Tiffany Teasley Email

It's a rhythm of relaxation and recuperation.

"A lot of people in the community get treatment here from children to adults to the elderly," said Associate Professor Roger Smeltekop of MSU's Music School.

MSU's Music Therapy Program trains grads and undergrads through their Music Therapy Clinic serving hundreds in the community for free.

"We serve clients who have autism, ADHD, Attention Deficit Disorder," said Varvara Pasiali a Doctoral Music Therapy Student.

But with a proposed admissions freeze for students entering the program, the vital special needs services are now a victim of the economy.

"To eliminate that potential for services to the greater community is enormous," said Denise Travis, a former student in the program.

"They'll be an immediate loss to the clients that we serve now," Smeltekop said.

While students and faculty are rallying together to save the Music Therapy Program, school officials say with the 40 percent enrollment drop within the program, the cuts are a necessary evil.

"We're preparing for cuts of up to 10 percent, for us that would mean a cut of $800,000, cuts to Music Therapy, if they were to be enacted, would save $.25 million," said Dean James Forger of the School of Music.

Forger says the proposal could be the first step towards the complete eliminate of the program, but he says services for the public could be housed elsewhere.

"If indeed the Music Therapy Program should be phased out in the future, it would be our intention to preserve the services to the community and enhance them through the Community Music School," Forger said.

But clients would have to pay, a plan students and faculty say is out of tune.


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