Music Therapy by Sarah Bunce

The Baddour Center is alive with the sound of music! The Baddour Center, a supportive community for adults with intellectual disabilities in Senatobia, Miss., offers its residents music therapy. Jodie Ross, a board certified music therapist and Tate County resident leads the therapy sessions. 

Music therapist, Jodie Ross, and former resident of The Baddour Center, David, during a therapy session. photo courtesy of The Baddour Center

Music therapist, Jodie Ross, and former resident of The Baddour Center, David, during a therapy session.

photo courtesy of The Baddour Center

According to the American Music Therapy Association, “Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.” This type of music therapy has a positively affects participants’ quality of life by facilitating the improvement of a range of different aspects of life including verbalization, impulse control, interpersonal and social skills, and task orientation.

In 2010, while Ross was a music therapy student at Mississippi University for Women, she pursued an internship opportunity at The Baddour Center. Today, Ross leads Baddour’s music therapy sessions, and chairs therapeutic programs including, The Wonder Players Drama Club, Hearts in Motion Creative Movement, and Hearts in Motion Creative Movement, Too. “Helping the residents achieve something musically or creatively is an amazing thing,” Ross stated.

A typical music therapy session lasts about thirty minutes and begins with a “hello song,” which helps orient the participant or group of participants. Similarly, when a session approaches the thirty minute mark, Ross closes with a “goodbye song,” which indicates that the session is concluding. Using music as a catalyst, Ross strives to help residents achieve their individualized objectives. “Music therapy helps residents achieve many different goals. The residents learn appropriate social interactions, improve verbalization, increase participation, and so much more,” stated Ross.

photo courtesy of The Baddour Center

photo courtesy of The Baddour Center

Ross assesses the participants’ needs and creates individualized sessions designed to improve emotional well-being, physical health, social functioning, communication abilities, and cognitive skills through various musical responses. In addition to singing, many residents compose music, create lyrics, and perform publicly. Meaningful experiences with music fueled by Ross’s lifelong love of music and commitment to serving others. “I’ve been involved in music throughout my life — singing in church, playing in the band in high school, and taking piano and guitar lessons,” Ross stated. “I knew I wanted to work in the medical field, but some aspects of being a nurse or doctor just didn’t appeal to me,” Ross reflected. “Then I learned of music therapy, which combined the medical and music fields. It was the perfect fit for me.”