In a first-time collaboration, Steinhardt's Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy joined with The Angel Band Project for a musical performance at Chelsea Table + Stage in NYC. The Angel Band Project promotes awareness, the power of music to help heal, and advocating for positive societal change for survivors of sexual and intimate partner violence. Music therapy as a modality is grounded in its status as an evidence-based health profession in the United States. This therapeutic avenue acts as a virtual bridge, aiding survivors in addressing emotions that are often challenging to articulate.
Katie Down, a music therapist with training from NYU, explained that participants in the group would listen, improvise, compose, and process their trauma while finding relief in the music. By the end of the six-week session, each woman was able to play a wide-range of instruments, which provided an outlet for creative expression and comradery. Participants bonded over a love of music, a desire to be creative, the need to express themselves, and the joy that making music together elicited.
The culmination of this endeavor resulted in Songs of Survival NYC. Over the course of six weeks in 2018, eight survivors collaborated with Katie and musical artist and NYU trained music therapist Noa Fort at The Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy. Participants shared their stories and co-authored lyrics and music reflecting their individual journeys. Songs of Survival NYC is a testament to these odysseys. Producing the album, which took almost two years due to the pandemic, included collaborating with professional musicians at the NYU Steinhardt Dolan Studio and Flux Studio in New York City. Many of the women aspired not only to craft a song about their personal journey, but also to create a composition that could help empower other survivors to come forward. Despite most of them lacking any formal musical training, the women held clear musical visions.
The songs were performed publicly at a benefit concert hosted at Chelsea Table + Stage. The event featured performances by participants, accompanied by a full band. Spectrum News NY1 captured the event and aired a segment featuring performance highlights. Footage from the event will also be featured in an upcoming documentary chronicling The Angel Band Project's endeavors.
For those interested in participating in a workshop, please contact NYC Music Therapy Coordinator Nina Alden at firstname.lastname@example.org.