Ms. Birnbaum graduated from Cornell University with a degree in Human Development and Family Studies and went on to earn a Masters Degree in Early Childhood Education. After several years as a teacher, she began graduate work in music therapy, completing her degree at NYU in 1981. Her work experience has been quite varied. At the Detroit Community Music School she led group and individual sessions with children and developmentally-delayed adults, and carried out a grant project with geriatric clients in area nursing homes. She returned to her native New York City in 1985 to establish a music therapy program for children ages three to eight at the School for Language and Communication Development on Long Island.
In 1990 Jacqueline joined the first advanced training course in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy to be offered in the United States and received her certification in 1991. In 1993 she developed a music therapy program at the Parkside School, a special education program for children with speech and language, learning, and emotional difficulties. her particular area of interest is early childhood and she has presented on the use of Creative Music Therapy in early intervention at several music therapy conferences. She has been a member and Chairperson of the Credentialing Committee of the American Association for Music Therapy. In 1996, she assumed her current position at the Nordoff-Robbins Center where her responsibilities include clinical work, supervision of fieldwork students and certification candidates, programming and the day-to-day operations of the Center.
Professor Barbara Hesser is Director of the Music Therapy program at New York University. In this capacity, she coordinates the Masters of Arts Program, is the Director of the Nordoff Robbins Music Therapy Center, and is the program liaison for the Guided Imagery and Music (GIM) Training. She has given courses, workshops and lectures in many countries throughout the world. Professionally, Professor Hesser served the American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT) as President, Vice President, Co Chairman of the Education and Training Committee, Editor of the first AAMT Journal Music Therapy and as a member of the Editorial Board of that journal for 15 years. She was also a member of the Commission on Education and Training for the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). She is one of nine international founders of the World Federation of Music Therapy (WFMT) and has served as its Publicity Chairman. Among her publications, she has co authored the "Essential Competencies for the Practice of Music Therapy", which have been used by the American Association for Music Therapy (AAMT), the Canadian Association of Music Therapy (CAMT) and now the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) as a document for standards of certification, education and training in the profession. Professor Hesser maintains a music therapy private practice, and is a Fellow and Trainer in Guided Imagery and Music (GIM).
Nina Guerrero, M.A., MT-BC, LCAT, NRMT, is Research Coordinator at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy. She currently oversees projects investigating effects of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy on the development of communication, social interaction, and creative expression in young children with autism spectrum disorders; music perception and speech perception in children with cochlear implants; and physical, psychological, and social well-being in stroke patients. In pursuing research with different populations, she has sought to build multidisciplinary collaborations between the Center and other institutions, including Rusk Rehabilitation Institute at NYU Medical Center, New York Eye and Ear Institute, and special education settings in the community. She is working to develop models for systematically describing the therapeutic process and measuring effects of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy in a manner appropriate to its complex, dynamic qualities of musical and interpersonal exchange. Her previous research experience includes assisting in longitudinal studies of speech perception and language development in children with hearing loss. She has had clinical experience at therapeutic preschools and community health centers, and is completing a doctorate at NYU.
Carole Kolb-King, MA, NRMT, Music Therapist
Ms. Kolb-King began studying classical piano at age 7, and received her Bachelor of Arts degree, major in music, from Brooklyn College. She has been an accompanist for singers, instrumentalists, ballet and modern dance classes, participated in amateur productions of Broadway shows, and taught classical piano. Seeking a career which would incorporate her musical skills in a professional/therapeutic capacity, she immersed herself in the world of special education, working in the NYC Board of Education with autistic and severely emotionally disturbed children and adolescents. At the same time, she began to study clinical music therapy at New York University, completing her masters' degree in 1984.
In 1983, Ms. Kolb-King was invited to develop a program at Brooklyn Services for Autistic Citizens (BSAC) in their Saturday and summer programs, providing individual and group music therapy for autistic children and adolescents. Her clinical experience broadened at the Kennedy Child Study Center, Bronx Division, a pre-school setting for developmentally disabled and at-risk children, also serving as a fieldwork supervisor for NYU music therapy students. When the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center at NYU opened in 1990, she was chosen as a member of the original training group, and she received her NRMT Certificate in 1992. The influence of Drs. Clive and Carol Robbins and their inspirational guidance greatly enhanced her clinical music technique as well as her appreciation of the power of music as a healing medium.
After over ten years of clinical work with children, Ms. Kolb-King decided to explore the challenge of working with adults in music therapy. She instituted a music therapy program at FEGS Day Treatment Center, using music and movement modalities with MICA and developmentally disabled adults. Since 1994, she has been affiliated with Coney Island Hospital, serving as Senior Activity Therapist/Music Therapist in their Psychiatric Inpatient Program. Also, she is once again a part-time clinician/supervisor at Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy Center, working in concert with esteemed colleagues and the music children who inspire us.
David began the practice of music therapy in 1984 after several years as a professional musician. For the next 15 years he worked with psychiatric patients at units of the New York State Office of Mental Health: Manhattan Psychiatric Center and Bronx Psychiatric Center. He supervised fieldwork students and interns at these facilities. He has presented on music therapy in psychiatric treatment in these and other psychiatric facilities around the state. He has practiced music therapy at the Nordoff-Robbins Center since receiving his certification in the Nordoff-Robbins approach in 1997. He helped to found the Creative Music Therapy Studio, a private music therapy practice in Manhattan, where he continues to serve as Co-director.
David served as Editor-in-Chief of Music Therapy, the scholarly journal of the American Association for Music Therapy, for five years. He is also the author of the chapter "Entering the World of Tones”, in Listening, Playing, Creating: Essays on the Power of Sound, edited by Carolyn Kenny and published by the State University of New York Press. He has recently assumed the title of Coordinator of Special Projects and Publishing at the Nordoff-Robbins Center. In addition to his clinical duties, he will be working with Center staff to prepare clinical and instructional materials for dissemination.
Ms. Ritholz graduated with Bachelors Degree in Psychology from Queens College. While renewing her study of music, and piano in particular, Michele began to learn about the field of music therapy. After attending a workshop with Vera Moretti at the State University of New York New Paltz, in which the work of Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins was taught and then experienced in the clinical setting, Ms. Ritholz was inspired to pursue a career in music therapy. First gaining further competency by completing a second major in music at Queens College, she then undertook graduate work in Music Therapy at New York University, completing a Masters Degree in 1981. Michele has worked with children ages 5–12 in the Latency Unit at Kings County Psychiatric hospital, Brooklyn, New York and in special education settings for the Westchester Conservatory of Music Outreach Program (COMIT).
In 1990, Michele undertook the first Nordoff-Robbins training at the NYU Center, joining the clinical staff at that time. She has been at the Center since then and is currently a full-time therapist, Coordinator of Training, instructor in the Center's training programs and supervisor of graduate interns and certification candidates.She is the second certified Instructor of the Nordoff-Robbins approach in the United States.Her publications include music written for Snow White: A Guide to Child-Centered Musical Theater (1997), Themes for Therapy: New Songs and Instrumental Pieces from the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy (Carl Fisher, Inc.), More Themes for Therapy: 45 New Songs and Instrumental Pieces (Carl Fisher, Inc.), and the journal article "The Journey by Train: Creative Music Therapy with a 17-Year-Old Boy", co-authored with Alan Turry and published in Music Therapy. Her professional activities have included being a member of the AAMT Credentialing Committee, transition Representative on the Clinical Training Committee of the American Music Therapy Association, and past member of the Board of Directors of the Certification Board for Music Therapy (CBMT) and Autism Task Force of the American Music Therapy Association.
Dr. Clive Robbins, CMT/RMT, DHL, DMM, one of the world's pre-eminent music therapists, passed away on December 7, 2011. He was 84 years old and a resident of Jersey City. Dr. Robbins was a co-originator of the approach known as Creative Music Therapy and the Founding Director of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University's Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development. He worked with developmentally and multiply- disabled children for over fifty years.
Dr. Robbins was internationally recognized for his teaching of clinical resources, his research into processes of music therapy, and for his commitment to higher standards of clinical practice, creativity and musicianship in music therapy. Until this year he maintained an active world-wide teaching schedule that included Europe, Asia, and South America as well as the United States.
After training as a special educator, Dr. Robbins began a sixteen-year collaboration with Paul Nordoff, D.Mus.,an American composer and professor of music at Bard College. They began their work in England, where they pioneered the application of improvisational and compositional techniques in music therapy. They worked with children presenting a wide range of disabling conditions: mild to profound developmental disabilities, autism, emotional disturbance, schizophrenia, aphasia, learning disabilities, visual and auditory impairments, physical and multiple handicaps.
Returning to the United States after their pioneering work in Europe, Nordoff and Robbins were awarded two major grants funded by the National Institute of Mental Health, the first such grants to be awarded music therapists. During these years they developed both long- and short-term training courses for music therapists, music educators, and musicians.
Following Nordoff's death in 1977, Dr. Robbins formed a new team with his wife Carol, also a music therapist, to continue the development and dissemination of his life's work. From 1975-1981 the Robbinses worked at the New York State School for the Deaf at Rome, New York. There they developed a comprehensive music program and curriculum guide to open the world of music to children with severe and profound hearing loss. This work attracted much attention and served as a demonstration program for innumerable visiting professionals and students.
In 1982, after a year at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas, where he was a Meadows Distinguished Professor of music therapy, he relocated to Australia. He established music therapy programs at Warrah Village, and Inala School in Sydney. During these years Dr. Robbins was closely involved in establishing and developing treatment, training, and research centers for the practice of Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in London, Germany, and Australia.
In 1989, with Carol Robbins, he established The Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University where he worked for the rest of his life.
Robbins held honorary doctorates from Combs College of Music, Philadelphia; Universitat Witten/Herdecke, Germany, and the State University of New York. He co-authored many books about the Nordoff-Robbins approach, as well as books of musical activities, songs, and musical plays for children. He was the recipient of the American Music Therapy Association’s Presidential Award, and he was named a Superior Honoured Guest by the Norwegian Academy of Music at the 30-year anniversary of its music therapy program.
Robbins’ influence on the profession of music therapy was profound. Dr. Barbara Wheeler, retired Professor and Director of Music Therapy, University of Louisville and Professor Emerita, Montclair State University states simply, “He was probably the most beloved music therapist in the world.” Dr Kenneth Bruscia, Professor Emeritus of Music Therapy at Temple University, states, “Clive was a living example of the “music child.” Though he may not have had the formal musical training that many music therapists have had, he was the one who continually demonstrated to us that we all have an innate musicality, and that this musicality can be of core significance in our lives. He was the quintessential musician---in mind, body, and spirit. He literally “lived” his entire life “in the music,” and then devoted his entire life to helping others do the same. The profession will always be indebted to him, not only for tirelessly offering us his musicality and clinical wisdom, but also for sharing his person and life with us.”
Clive Robbins is survived by his wife, Kaoru Robbins, a Nordoff-Robbins music therapist, his children Toby and Jenny, 7 grandchildren, and 2 great-grandchildren.
Having studied flute and piano privately as a child, Kaoru majored in flute at Kunitachi Conservatory of Music, Tokyo, 1980. She was the first Japanese music therapist to graduate from the New York University Music Therapy Program, gaining her Masters degree in 1988. She took her advanced training at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy in 1991-92. She has worked with both English speaking and Japanese speaking children at the Center. Since 1991, she has divided her work between the Center and an extensive private practice serving the children of Japanese speaking families in New Jersey and Westchester, New York. Her program in New Jersey also functions as a clinical training site for Japanese music therapy students.
Kaoru has presented her work internationally in Japan, Lithuania, Russia, and Estonia. Her bilingual capabilities and her familiarity with Japanese culture enable her to serve the Center's continually growing connections with the emerging field of music therapy in Japan. She is the Center's Coordinator of Japanese-American Communications, maintaining active liaison with the Organization for Studying Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Japan (OSNRMT) and also with the Japanese community in the New York City area. In collaboration with Clive Robbins, Alan Turry and Kana Okazaki, she also coordinates a collaborative NRCMT/OSNRMT Clinical Supervision Program for music therapists in Japan. She has collaborated in the translation of the Nordoff-Robbins text Music Therapy in Special Education published by Ningen to Rekishi-sha, Tokyo, and has translated the monograph Here We Are in Music: One Year with an Adolescent, Creative Music Therapy Group by Kenneth Aigen.
Dr. Alan Turry is a research scientist at NYU Steinhardt and the Managing Director of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for music therapy.
Dr Turry is the Principal Investigator on key research projects being conducted at Nordoff-Robbins. In 2012 he was the recipient of the Arthur Flagler Fultz Research Award, given by the American Music Therapy Association to support the collaboration being undertaken by the Center with Rusk Rehabilitation Institute at NYU Medical Center to develop and research an integrated music therapy/occupational therapy stroke rehabilitation program. This grant augments support originally provided by the Steinhardt Office of Research Faculty challenge grants awarded to Dr. Turry in 2011.
Dr. Turry is leading the NYU arm of a collaboration with researchers from the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary to study the effects of music therapy on perception of the various elements of music perception in pre-lingually deafened children with cochlear implants. Speech gains related to musical development are a key outcome of this funded study.
In collaboration with These Our Treasures School (TOTS) in the southeast Bronx, Dr Turry is conducting ongoing research of the effects of Nordoff-Robbins music therapy on the development of communication and social interaction skills in young children with developmental disabilities. Promising preliminary results were recently published in a chapter co-authored by Dr. Turry in Early Childhood Music Therapy and Autism Spectrum Disorders. Dr Turry received an Arts and Culture challenge Grant award to support this research.
Dr. Turry joined the NR clinical staff in 1990, became Clinical Director in1997, and assumed the position of Managing Director in 2006. Dr. Turry directs the post masters advanced training in Nordoff-Robbins music therapy and the Graduate Internship and fieldwork Program at the Center. He also designs curriculum and teaches clinical improvisation in the NYU Graduate Music Therapy Program.
Dr. Turry is committed to interdisciplinary collaboration. In addition to his Rusk-NYU research partnership, he has developed an interdisciplinary team at the NR Center. Students from Steinhardt’s Drama Therapy program, Applied Psychology program, and interns from the NYU Silver School of Social Work participate in the Centers clinical, training and research program.
Dr. Turry is recognized nationally and internationally as a leader in music therapy clinical technique. He taught and presented his work throughout Asia and Europe. He is visiting lecturer at the Nordoff-Robbins Centre in London, and a visiting professor at Lesley University in Boston, Saint-Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana, the University of Lisbon in Portugal and Senzoku College, Japan. He led the development of Nordoff-Robbins supervision programs in Japan, the Nordoff-Robbins clinical program in Korea, and has led workshops on clinical improvisation in Denmark, Greece, Poland, Ireland and Italy. He was also a keynote speaker at the 8th World Congress of Music Therapy in Hamburg in 1996, and the 13th World Congress in Seoul, Korea in 2011.
He has been a guest lecturer at many university training programs, including Anna Maria College and the Berklee College of Music. Aspects of his approach are detailed in a number of publications including Transference and Countertransference in Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy from The Dynamics of Music Psychotherapy (Kenneth E. Bruscia, Ed.) and The Use of Improvised Song for Children and Adults with Cancer in the text Music Therapy and Medicine (Cheryl Dileo, Ed.).
Dr. Turry was recently named to the editorial board of Music and Medicine, a new interdisciplinary journal that will be an integrative forum for clinical practice and research related to music interventions and applications of clinical music strategies in medicine. Dr. Turry's published research in this journal has focused on the psychological effects of musical elements. Specifically, he examined the music and lyric content in the improvised expressions of a woman with cancer receiving music therapy treatment. He has authored and co-authored several publications in this journal including The Role of Music and Music Therapy in Aphasia Rehabilitation.
Dr. Turry is on the editorial board of several leading music therapy journals including the Journal of Music Therapy published by the American Music Therapy association, Music Therapy Perspectives, also published by the American Music Therapy association, and the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy
Dr. Turry has a wide range of professional experience as a music therapist. He was a member of the clinical staff at Metropolitan Hospital New York City. He served as Supervising Music Therapist and Coordinator of Student Training, Activity Therapies Department at Bellevue Hospital. He has treated adolescent and adult patients in psychiatric and forensic settings.
Dr. Turry earned his Bachelor's, Masters and Doctoral degrees in Music Therapy from New York University.