Music Therapy Students Travel to Roseburg

Marylhurst music therapy students and faculty traveled to Umpqua Community College to help with the healing in the aftermath of the tragic shooting in October 2015.

Music therapy program director Dr. Laura Beer led the group of five professional music therapists and eight music therapy students.

It was a long day, including six hours for the roundtrip by van. The students were up before dawn, loading the instruments into the jam-packed vehicle for the scheduled 7:00 am departure.


Along the way, the group sang and prepared for the visit.  It was like a master class, Beer said, as the group figured out what to do when, learned new songs, and encouraged each member to lead the group in at least one activity.

Upon arriving at Umpqua, the group held three circles — including an impromptu circle for UCC students that could not attend the scheduled events — offering service to 35 people.

“Music expresses what words cannot in a safe and personal way,” Dr. Beer said. “These are lovely words, but seeing their meaning come alive in tears released, hugs shared, singing voices heard, and community created was a powerful event for us all.”

Setting up for the drum circle.

Under the supervision and direction of the professional therapists, a first-year music therapy student opened the third circle by inviting everyone in and leading an experience.  “This was an empowering experience for her,” Beer remarked.

Dr. Jason Heald, music director at Umpqua Community College, thanked the Marylhurst group, saying they gave something important to the community and, by his observation, the experience “was clearly meaningful” for those who participated.

Dr. Laura Beer would like to thank Jodi Winnwalker, Ted Owen, Danielle Oar, Rob Sozda, Tonya Fisher, Kathrine Lee, Amber Phillips, Katie Husvar, Barney Plisko, Patricia Chang, Karl Knauss and Dahlia Pollack for taking time to offer music therapy, creating safe and healing spaces.