Support us with Kachingle!
June 7, 2012 | 12:00 a.m. CST
Many of the musicians Kristin Veteto works with cannot carry a tune. In fact, some of them can hardly speak, let alone strum chords or play scales. They do, however, express their own internal melodies by pounding on drums, shaking brightly colored egg shakers or just smiling along to the sound of Veteto’s voice as she sings her “hello” song to them.
Veteto, 25, marches to the beat of her own drums, guitar, piano and 21-chord Autoharp. After founding KNV Music Therapy in 2011, she began providing music therapy to students with severe disabilities at the Delmar A. Cobble State School in northern Columbia. Veteto also offers overall wellness therapy to clients during in-home visits. For them she uses a different set of musical techniques to stimulate the brain.
As a board-certified music therapist, Veteto understands the science behind the way the brain perceives sound. “Basically, we use music to work on nonmusical goals,” she says. Veteto uses her expertise to understand exactly how music affects her clients’ daily cognitive, social, psychological and physical activities.
Veteto and a student might spend time playing the drums as part of sensory engagement. The majority of the sessions are spent targeting specific, nonmusical goals, which include promoting finger dexterity, attention span or strengthening muscles.
Any signs of traditional therapy are disguised by the fun that comes from humming melodies and testing out new musical sounds. Veteto closes each session with an activity to promote relaxation or a “goodbye” song. “It’s engaging because I’m using a variety of different areas of the brain to work on one specific goal,” she says.
Kathryn Hulbert, 24, receives therapy from Veteto for overall mental, emotional and physical health. “People might not think I’m a typical music therapy client,” Hulbert says. “But I think it shows how wide a range of people can be impacted by it.” Hulbert says she enjoys music therapy because it’s holistic and focuses on the individual. “I’ve transferred what I’ve learned in therapy to help me be more successful in my daily life.”
Veteto’s work is the background music to both her clients’ lives and her own. “My voice isn’t meant to be heard like American Idol,” she says. “I think a lot of music therapists are that way. Your heartbeat is the purest form of music there is. It’s part of you; you are a music therapist.”