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Music Therapy

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program (American Music Therapy Association).

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Music therapy is an effective therapy modality for all persons, regardless of age, musical background, or level of ability.  Sessions take place in group and individual settings.  Group sessions are regularly scheduled each week, and every resident has access to at least one music therapy group.  Music therapy referrals may be made by staff, families, and residents.

Our music therapist is board-certified and clinically trained to work with a variety of clients in addressing a multitude of goals.  

Clinical Training Site

Villa St. Joseph provides valuable learning experiences for music therapy students and interns as they complete clinical requirements under the supervision of our music therapist.  Internship applications are accepted through January 1st (for a July start date) or July 1st (for a January start date) and may be submitted up to a year in advance at the address below.  The internship packet may be downloaded HERE (PDF).

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Musician Volunteers

Musician Volunteers bring live music to the residents of the Villa within the general milieu of community life.  Finding a comfortable spot in a common area, such as a living room or sunroom, Musician Volunteers quietly impact the environment of the neighborhood as their music travels down the halls to any listening ears.  Music is presented informally, reminiscent of someone practicing their instrument in the next room at home or singing to oneself while completing house chores.  It is not meant to be a performance that requires a specific audience, prepared playlist, program notes, or other formality.  You are invited to do your practicing or noodling in our living room!

Musician Volunteers commit to playing/singing music in time slots of 30-60 minutes as scheduled at least a week in advance with the Director of Music Therapy.  For more information, please see the Musician Volunteer Handbook or contact Brigette K. Sutton, MA, MT-BC, Director of Music Therapy, at

The Musician Volunteer Handbook

Music and Memory

Music and Memory emphasizes the use of personalized music with the use of iPods for residents, especially those with dementia.  Listening to preferred music, or music that evokes personal associations, can help engage, stimulate, or calm residents.  Family members are encouraged to participate in this program by helping identify music that is personally significant for their loved one and/or joining your loved one when they are using their iPod.  Families are welcome to provide their own iPod with personalized playlists, or the music therapy department will coordinate these resources.

Donated iPods allow more residents to participate in this program.  To donate an iPod for the Music and Memory program, contact David Dix, Director of Development, at 724.869.6321 or

For more information on the relationship between music therapy and the Music and Memory program, please refer to this quick guide provided by the American Music Therapy Association.

Clinical Music Therapy and the Music and Memory Program

Supporting Music Therapy

The Music Therapy Program strives to support the Villa community through excellence in compassionate care that meets individual needs.  The Music Therapy Program is supported, in turn, by our community.  The Music Therapy Program was initiated through grant funding and benefactors, and now relies on our generous donors for support.  If you would like to make a contribution to the Music Therapy Program, you may do so by clicking on the DONATE NOW button (above).

For more information, please contact Brigette K. Sutton, MA, MT-BC, Director of Music Therapy, at