Georgia College students use music to help community

MILLEDGEVILLE, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Music is more than just entertainment for a group of students at Georgia College in Milledgeville. While taking classes in the music therapy program at the school, they’re using their voice, instruments, and songs to help people in their community.

There are a lot of different definitions of music therapy. I think the easiest way to think of it as being able to use music as a tool to help people with a wide variety of things,” Katie Whipple, an lecturer in the GC music therapy department said.

Ranging from emotional well being to physical needs, music therapy is opening up a world to those who may feel like they do not have a voice.

"We can use songwriting as a way to communicate with our clients so they talk more about themselves and we can kind of get a better feel of what their needs are,” Melanie Latty, a junior studying music therapy said.

Or patients can use instruments, like the drums, to express how they are feeling.

"If they play really loud, sometimes that can mean they’re excited or upset,” Latty said. “By playing that, you get a better feel for where you client is at."

Students in the music therapy program are learning what it takes to help treat people of all ages.

"We work all the way from children with needs on speech, we work with older adults with mental health,” Whipple said. “It depends on the client because that will dictate what we work on."

They are taking these lessons out of the classroom and into the community.

"One client that I’ve worked with, whenever we started playing music, he’d get the biggest smile on his face,” Conoor Dugosh, a freshman in the music therapy program said. “They benefit from it from a clinical standpoint, but it also makes them happier."

“Having that actual hands on component is huge and the flip side is the community gets to benefit from it as well,” Whipple said.

And this program is a way for the students to combine their passions by helping others through the healing power of music.
Georgia College is one of two schools in the state to offer a music therapy program.

Dr. Chesley Mercado and Jimmy Helms from the Georgia College music therapy department stopped by 41 Today to talk about the upcoming performance this week. The students are showing off what they’ve learned. The concert is Thursday night at Buffington’s. Guests can also puchase CD’s with some of the songs that will be performed.

For more information or to buy a CD, call (478) 445-2645.

April 9, 2014 | Posted in