The Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy was delighted to host a visit from Mrs. Miyuki Hatoyama, wife of Japanese prime minister Yukio Hatoyama. An admirer of music and a strong supporter of music therapy, Mrs. Hatoyama was given a tour of the Center by staff members including associate professor Barbara Hesser, director of the graduate music therapy program; Dr. Clive Robbins, founding director of the Center; Kaoru Robbins, senior music therapist; and Dr. Alan Turry, managing director.
(Mrs. Hatoyama, right, with Alan Turry, center, and a young client of the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy)
Mrs. Hatoyama sat in on a therapy session with an adolescent client and was invited to join in a performance of a sakura, or traditional Japanese folk song. Her background as an entertainer was evident as she readily joined in the creation of a new song about music. She listened intently when the boy explained that music therapy not only helped him to grow as a musician, but to express his feelings and feel better about himself.
The Nordoff-Robbins approach to music therapy is well known throughout the world; currently there are students training at the Center from many countries including Taiwan, Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom, and Chile. The Center has a long history of cultural and professional connections with Japan in particular, dating back to Barbara Hesser’s visits in the 1980s. Beginning in the early ‘90s staff members have taught annually in Japan.
Kaoru Robbins’ bilingual capabilities and her familiarity with Japanese culture have enabled her to serve this continually growing connection.
Together with Alan Turry and Clive Robbins, she has presented in Japan. As the Center’s coordinator of Japanese-American communications, she maintains active liaison with Japanese graduates. In recent years, she, with Japanese colleagues, has formed JACnet, dedicated to linking the Center with the thriving Japanese-American medical community in the New York City area. Mrs. Hatoyama’s visit to the Center was mediated through this connection and the Japanese Consulate.