Selected Student Bios
Gabriela Pelosi is a singer and guitarist. Born and raised in Sao Paulo, Brazil, she earned her BA in Music Therapy in 2009. In her undergraduate studies she began studying the role of music in neuroscience. During this period, she worked with patients suffering from multiple degenerative neurological disorders in the Center for Cerebral Aging of the Federal Medicine University of São Paulo. While this was a positive and enlightening two-year experience, her interest in the Nordoff-Robbins approach to creative music therapy began to blossom. In the summer of 2011, Gabriela attended a course at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at New York University.
Gabriela has worked as a music therapist and art educator in hospitals and non-profit organizations, as well as in the aid of mothers and children in centers for motherhood. Additionally, Gabriela has implemented team-building programs through drum circles and lectured on music therapy in undergraduate and technical training programs in Sao Paulo.
As a graduate student in the NYU music therapy program, she is conducting her practical work under the supervision of Dr. Alan Turry at the Nordoff-Robbins Center. Gabriela is proud and excited to be part of NYU Music Therapy community, which continues to prove both stimulating and enriching in experience. She looks forward to the years ahead.
Tess Power is a drummer/percussionist who began her musical journey when she started taking piano lessons at age 8 after nagging her parents for several years. However, it wasn’t until she joined band in 6th grade and chose to play the drums that she discovered her true musical calling. She spent high school being as involved as humanly possible in her school’s music programs and annoying her family with her drumset which sat in the middle of the living room. In 2007, she began a program in Jazz Studies at Roosevelt University’s Chicago College of Performing Arts, Music Conservatory. It was during her time in undergraduate school that she discovered a budding interest in psychology and decided to pursue a B.A. as well.
After graduating with both degrees in 2011, she spent a year waiting tables and playing music in Chicago. She then found work at a preschool teaching two and three year olds for the next couple years. It was there that she discovered how a simple song could capture the attention of a room of wonderful but frequently screaming toddlers. She volunteered at the Music Institute of Chicago’s Institute for Therapy through the Arts, where she was able to sit in on group music therapy sessions for young adults with developmental delays and eventually help facilitate these groups. Tess began NYU’s Music Therapy M.A. program in the fall of 2014. She participated in a pre-internship experience at Mount Sinai Roosevelt Hospital’s Inpatient Psychiatric Unit and plans to continue to work in a mental health setting for her internship. She is very interested in the way music therapy can be a force in helping to transform the way mental illness is treated and possibly effect change in the state of our country’s mental health system.
Reissa Ress is an actor, singer, and teacher who attended Nazareth College Music Theatre. In addition to performing, Reissa has been teaching children singing and acting while putting on musicals with Random Farms Kids Theater in Elmsford, New York. She loves helping the children to find self confidence as they learn how to put on a show with others as a team. Reissa also spent a year with Americorps working in geriatric care. She helped form a choir for seniors and pioneered the development of a creative aging program. She continues to work as an arts coordinator, keeping programs running and the seniors thinking creatively.
Reissa started acting and singing as a way to help others to find new ways of thinking about themselves, so going into music therapy was a natural transition. In her first semester of clinical experience, Reissa worked with children in palliative care at the Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center in Yonkers, New York. After that placement she worked in outpatient mental health care the Partial Hospital Program at North Central Bronx Hospital. Reissa hopes to continue on to bring drama and music together and work as a medical music psychotherapist.
Pepe Benavides is a Chilean psychologist and a professional percussionist. He worked for five years in several centers for rehabilitation with special needs children who are on the autism spectrum and those with Down syndrome and other types of cognitive deficits. Through these experiences he was able to gain a deeper understanding of how music can have a major influence on their wellness and enhance cognitive growth and development.
As the drummer in the Valparaíso Big Band and in MOLO, Pepe toured extensively in Europe and South America performing everywhere from public open spaces and festivals to historical monuments throughout Uruguay, Argentina, Spain, Russia, France, Italy, Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium.
In 2013 he was awarded a Fulbright scholarship and a Chilean government scholarship, which gave him the chance to start this new adventure with the NYU music therapy program in the fall of 2014. Pepe is especially appreciative of how much the program has allowed him to fully embrace his own music, which plays a key role in guiding his future career as a music therapist
Josh Millrod is a electro-acoustic trumpet player and composer from Brooklyn, NY. He studied music and journalism at Indiana University and has toured internationally as an ensemble member and soloist. Josh has released albums which have been recognized in album of the year lists by NPR, Magnet Magazine, Baltimore City Paper and Foxy Digitalis. Josh has also scored short films by Margaret Rorison which have been included in film festivals internationally. From 2007 to 2014, Josh worked on award-winning advertising campaigns and was included in Business Insider's list of "The 30 Most Creative People in Advertising Under 30."
In 2014, unaware of the music therapy profession, he left advertising to find a way to combine his love of music and desire to help people live more full and meaningful lives. He found his way to the NYU community and began volunteering at the Nordoff-Robbins Center and Brooklyn Conservatory's music therapy program. As a graduate student in NYU’s Music Therapy program Josh is focusing on working with adults in psychiatric settings and the intersection of music and meditative states.
Erik Gundel is a musician and producer from Charlotte, Vermont. He started piano lessons at the age of 7, and was soon seduced by the power of the guitar at age 10. The communal power of music carried him through the awkward years of high school into the arms of Skidmore College. There he majored in music with concentrations in composition and jazz guitar. Ever the art-lover, he spent his senior year creating a film score to the Luis Bunuel and Salvador Dali collaboration Un Chien Andalou (the one with the infamous eyeball slicing). This project received the Periclean Scholar Award.
In moving to New York, Erik was met with the typical challenges of the struggling artist. Suffice it to say, he is now able to make a world class cappuccino. Yet his myriad musical projects took him on tours far and wide, bisecting the USA repeatesdly, and skipping across the pond to the United Kingdom. In 2009, the US Department of State sent his band Motel Motel on a cultural exchange program to Egypt. There they performed in multiple cities, as well as giving workshops for the youth on how to play rock music. It was also a rare opportunity to feel the uneven pulse of a country at the precipice of a world-changing revolution.
Erik was brought to the world of music therapy through a series of volunteering opportunities. First, as a visiting performer at NY Methodist Hospital, Erik was able to witness the calming power of music on inpatients. Intrigued, he sought out an environment in which he could observe what actual music therapy sessions are like. The Nordoff-Robbins center at NYU offered the immensely educational opportunity to film sessions led by world class music therapists, including the center's managing director, Dr. Alan Turry. Erik hopes to bring his eclectic music experiences to his own clinical work, with a focus on improvisation and adolescents.
Jasmine Edwards is a vocalist from South Florida. After majoring in voice at Dreyfoos School for the Arts in West Palm Beach, she went on to major in Music Therapy at Florida State University. At FSU, Jasmine sang in a number of choral ensembles, and was the music director for the all-female a cappella group, AcaBelles. While in the group, she participated in competitions, campus and community performances, arranged music, and produced an album. In her music therapy training, she completed practicum experience in a preschool setting and earned her NICU MT certification at Tallahassee Memorial Hospital. She completed her undergraduate internship at Matheny Medical and Educational Center in Peapack, NJ, where she worked with children and adults with cerebral palsy, spina bifida, and Lesch-Nyhan.
After graduation, she returned to South Florida and worked in private practice that focused on children with autism and other developmental delays. However, she had become increasingly interested in NYU's focus on music psychotherapy, and was eager to learn more. Jasmine feels incredibly lucky to be a part of NYU's program, where she is given the opportunity to compare, contrast, and combine her previous experiences with NYU's philosophy of music therapy. Jasmine is completing her advanced fieldwork training at the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy. Jasmine has a particular interest the role of improvisation when working with children with autism and trauma, with hopes of continuing this work when she enters the professional world again. She is also interested in the role of psychological theory in music therapy education and has hopes of conducting research.