Skip to main content

Search NYU Steinhardt

Director of Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy Alan Turry, Discusses Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy and Improvisation as a Landscape of Hope


Dr. Alan Turry, the Director of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy, was recently the special guest on episode three of The Disastershock Arts & Recovery Team Reporter's Notebook, a compelling interview series exploring voices of innovative Expressive Arts Advocates speaking to the power of the arts in healing and integrating the mind-body-spirit in trauma recovery, and the restorative impact of community-based arts practices. Watch the full video as Turry and narratologist Dr. Reji Mathew, LCSW, REAT, dive deep into discussion of the history of the Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy approach, current practices and the powerful nature of musical engagement. 

Mathew, in addition to working tirelessly to promote and support the arts therapies, is a senior Clinical Social Worker, Counseling & Wellness, NYU Student Health Center and an Adjunct Assistant Professor in NYU’s School of Social Work. Turry and Mathew both embrace the Neurodiversity movement, with Mathew making the point that therapists have to be careful not to fall prey to ableism in their approach.

"Improvisation is a landscape of hope." - Alan Turry, DA, LCAT, MT-BC

The issue of supporting creative arts therapists is particularly relevant now, as the struggle to pass legislation for insurance coverage continues. Bill A1171A passed the State Legislature in 2022 with widespread support. The bill “requires blanket health insurance policies to provide coverage for outpatient treatment by mental health practitioners”. Disappointingly, despite Licensed Creative Arts Therapists representing 14% of all licensed mental health practitioners included on this bill, they were eliminated from the bill by the Governor at the very last moment.

Turry shares excerpts from sessions and revisits the contributions made by the pioneers, Paul Nordoff and Clive Robbins. As they talk about the intricacies of music therapy work, the viewer is allowed to observe the impact which clients actually experience in music therapy.

At the end of the recording, a photo montage of work from the Center is featured while Dr. Turry plays his piano composition sounding their conclusion that “improvisation is a landscape of hope.”

Related Articles

Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy Celebrates 30 Years and a New Home

In September, the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy celebrated its 30th anniversary at NYU Steinhardt. The event brought together center supporters, clients, members of the NYU community, and the actor Robert De Niro.

Director of Music Therapy Kenneth Aigen Discusses Music Therapy and His Approach to Education 

Kenneth Aigen is a music therapist and the Director of NYU Steinhardt's Music Therapy Program. He specializes in working with children and adolescents with emotional and developmental delays. Here he speaks about his history with the program, current projects, and his path to becoming an expert in the field.

Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in a Virtual World

This documentary film illustrates how the staff and students of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy adapted their services to provide an essential connection with clients during the Covid-19 lockdown. It was created by NYU alumnae Natalie Rule.

Related Programs

Music Therapy

Music Therapy at NYU Steinhardt helps you combine your love of music and your commitment to helping others for a rewarding professional career.

Read More

Related Departments

Music and Performing Arts Professions

Discover programs in education, composition, technology, business, theatre, administration, therapy, performance, and dance.

Read More

Related Centers and Institutes

Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy

The Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy is committed to the belief that everyone possesses a sensitivity to music that can be utilized for personal growth and development.

Read More

Music and Audio Research Laboratory

Music and Audio Research Laboratory brings together scholars from music theory, technology and composition, computer and information science, interactive media and media studies, to explore the intersection between music, computation and science.

Read More