WCU music therapy students work with clients online

Music therapy student Clark Castle (left), and Rosa Gaines, an aluma of the program, work...
Music therapy student Clark Castle (left), and Rosa Gaines, an aluma of the program, work online with clients to improve their social skills.(William Carey University Media Relations)
Updated: Apr. 3, 2021 at 7:05 PM CDT
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From William Carey University Media Relations

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WDAM) - Music is a language unto itself, and at William Carey University, faculty and students have found a way of using it to fine-tune and amplify the voices of those who often have difficulties expressing themselves,

Carey’s music therapy programs have been rewarded for their efforts, receiving a $57,000 grant from the Mississippi Council Development Disabilities to improve the social skills of adults with intellectual disabilities through online music therapy sessions.

Associate professor Jim Pierce, board-certified music therapist and neurologic music therapist, has coordinated WCU’s music therapy program.

“The grant makes it possible for William Carey students to teach social skills to people with intellectual disabilities by engaging them in live music-making,” Pierce said in a release announcing the grant.

“This is a rewarding creative opportunity, both for us and our clients, that would not be possible without the grant funds.”

A number of WCU faculty and students take part in the online sessions, including: Tony Lee, assistant professor of psychology; board-certified music therapist Rosa Gaines, an alum of the music therapy program; and senior Clark Castle of Hattiesburg, a current music therapy student.

“I’ve been working on the project funded by this grant for a year and it has been one of the most fulfilling experiences of my undergraduate career,” Castle said. “Before then, I had no idea the impact online music therapy sessions could have on improving social skills.

“Despite the distance, everyone smiles, laughs and learns – just like being in-person. It has allowed me to learn a new facet in my future career, and I look forward to working with the participants every week.”

This project also was supported, in part, by a grant from the United States Administration for Community Living, Department of Health and Human Services.

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