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Shannon Flaherty

The Music Therapy Center / Shannon Flaherty

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Education and Story

Esther graduated from Cal State Long Beach with a degree in trumpet performance and music education. She is completing her master’s equivalency degree in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) at the University of Miami.

Esther’s music therapy experience includes work at the Neurological Services Unit at Miami Children’s Hospital, at the day learning program for adults with disabilities at the Wow Center Miami, and in the Adult Outpatient mental health program at Jackson Behavioral Health Hospital. In addition, Esther has conducted research in music therapy for speech development in school-aged children with special needs at United Cerebral Palsy Miami. Esther is also completing the development of a music-based assessment for pediatric voice disorders (MA-PV) at Holtz Children’s Hospital’s Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Unit.

Before coming to the Music Therapy Center of California for her internship, Esther worked in the Brass and Woodwinds Department at Yamaha Corporation of America, as Lesson Coordinator and Educational Representative with Music & Arts Center, and as a Cast Member with Disneyland Resort’s Parades and Entertainment Division.

“Engaging with music is an intrinsic human behavior that has the potential to connect and move us all. I feel passionately that music is accessible to all ages, cultures, and abilities, and can be a bridge to help us communicate, move, and learn. I practice music therapy because it is an incredibly flexible discipline, providing as many treatment avenues as there are different tunes. I thrive on finding just the right applications of music to help my clients reach their targeted goals while enriching their overall well-being. Composer George Szell said it best: ‘In music one must think with the heart and feel with the brain.’ “