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ECA announces new music therapy class

Music Therapy is the subject of a new class, which begins next Monday, Aug. 24, 6:30-8 p.m. The class is sponsored by Elation Center for the Arts.

Taking an experiential approach, the focus of the music therapy class is on learning how to harness the power of music for personal growth.

Participation through listening to live music, exercises, games and discussion is intended to discover life skills music can provide as a self-help tool, such as nurturing individual creativity, reducing stress and improving relationships.

Paul Roberts, facilitator of the music therapy class, believes that musical experience can be a powerful medium for self-transformation. Roberts draws on his personal background working as a music therapist in the mental health field.

Roberts began working as a music therapist in 1967, at McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. Roberts’ mentor was Morrie Schwartz, title character of the book/movie/play “Tuesdays With Morrie.” Schwartz took a keen interest in Roberts and his use of music with psychiatric patients. Their relationship and Roberts’ work at McLean is described in “Gracefully Insane: Life and Death Inside America’s Premier Mental Hospital,” in a chapter entitled, “Hippiephrenia.”

Working as a music therapist at McLean Hospital and, later, with the California State Dept. of Mental Health, Roberts gained an appreciation for the profound potential music has to help people.

Roberts and his wife, Carla, now perform on their collection of instruments from around the world at fine arts concerts and schools throughout the Western States. The Roberts co-founded ECA, which sponsors a variety of cultural arts enrichment programs in Pagosa.

Why are today’s media trumpeting the many beneficial effects of music? Why has music been used for thousands of years to help create balance and health in people’s lives? How was David able to get through King Saul’s depression by the use of music?

Experience the language of music and explore music as a pathway to self- development. The music therapy class takes place at a private residence in Pagosa Lakes. Call 731-3117 to register and for directions. Cost is $15 per class. For more information log on to the ECA Web site: