March 01, 2024 I Anniversary

West Music Celebrates 30 Years of Music Therapy Services

West Music Company, a full-line retailer in eastern Iowa, has announced its 30th anniversary of offering music therapy services in conjunction with World Music Therapy Week from April 10–15.

In 1994, West Music became one of only a handful of music retailers to offer music therapy when it hired its first music therapist, Kirsten Nelson, MA, MT-BC. Since then, the program has expanded to five locations in central and eastern Iowa with 10 full-time music therapists on staff. These therapists provide music therapy services in schools, group homes and day centers, mental health facilities, nursing homes, medical settings, and hospices. It also offers a variety of recreational music opportunities, like SoundReach Choir for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Over the years, the department and its leaders have earned a positive reputation in the field of music therapy and beyond, earning several awards, including NAMM’s Music Makes a Difference Award in 2021.

Music therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized social, cognitive, emotion, and spiritual goals. Individuals of all ages can benefit from music therapy that is facilitated by a board-certified professional who has completed an approved music therapy education program.

“Music therapy is a discipline that merges the transformative power of music with therapeutic techniques to address a wide range of physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs,” said Robin Walenta, West Music’s CEO Emerita. “It requires not only musical proficiency, but also an empathetic understanding of individuals’ unique challenges and circumstances.”

“Our department’s longevity is a true testament to the leadership at West Music, and [its] dedication to breaking down barriers and making music accessible to as many people as possible,” said Rachael Willeke, director of music therapy services.

In 2024, West Music is celebrating the impact that its music therapists have made in its communities.

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