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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  • by Rebecca Location: Livonia on Feb 18, 2009 at 05:37 AM
    I am also an alumna of the program. Thank you for covering this story. I hope you continue to track it. This program is too important and too needed to quickly throw in the towel without first trying hard to save it. To not allow this program a chance or an opportunity for alternatives to be sought is disgraceful. This program exemplifies the mission of MSU and of the college of music. Please show your support and sign our online petition.
  • by Eve Andrus Location: MSU on Feb 16, 2009 at 08:53 PM
    I want to thank the news team and especially Tiffany for covering our story, I only hope it can lt reach people in time to help support our program during this difficult time. Please check out our webpage on facebook and sign our petition to keep our program alive!
  • by Cindy Location: East Lansing, MI on Feb 16, 2009 at 06:46 PM
    THANK you for covering this story. What a terrible time to stop such a renowned program. New music therapy jobs are being created - even in these difficult economic times! More music therapists will be needed in the near future. Closing the MSU music therapy program would be devastating both locally and nationally.
  • by Mary Location: Chicago, IL on Feb 16, 2009 at 04:31 PM
    As a past alumni of the program, it is good to see the media help support the efforts in spreading the word of the music therapy program's moratorium. It is such an essential service to the population that we serve in the Greater Lansing area that it would drastically effect those who receive the benefits.
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