Music in Medicine scholar Sue Silber

Sue Silber, a Pine Ridge year-round resident and musician, has been awarded a full scholarship from Music in Medicine to study therapeutic music.

Sue Silber, a Pine Ridge year-round resident and musician, has been awarded a full scholarship from Music in Medicine to study therapeutic music. The scholarship allows Silber to enter training with Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP).

The MHTP training typically takes about a year to complete. The training includes a practicum or internship in a local hospital and other medical facilities. Therapeutic music is played one-on-one, at the bedside, and is tailor made to suit the patients’ needs.

Silber volunteers with VITAS, the principal hospice in Citrus County, and with Meals and Wheels and as a Florida wildlife rescue volunteer. Despite having all these volunteer obligations, Silber still wanted to pursue expanding her use of her musical talents. She read of the Music in Medicine program in the Chronicle, which sparked her interest.

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Silber found a passion for music as a toddler, playing on the piano about the same time she began to walk. Her musical family encouraged her to sing along with them. Broadway musicals was a favorite.

Besides the piano, Silber plays the tenor recorder, which is her instrument of choice. As she goes through training with MHTP, she will be certified in the tenor recorder, and later in voice. Silber is also learning to play the harp. All three of Silber’s instruments — tenor recorder, voice and harp — are superb choices for playing therapeutic music in medical facilities.

The training includes a study of the brain, how it processes music, and how the brain can transmit the music’s tempo and rhythm throughout the body. By varying the style of music played, a trained therapeutic musician can regulate processes in the body.

This is possible because the brain synchronizes to the music and relays that rhythm and tempo to all the body’s organs.

Music in Medicine is a local nonprofit that was established with a mission to develop therapeutic music in Citrus County. Scholarships are available to local musicians who are willing to make a commitment to the year of training, and who are at least intermediate musicians.

Instruments that are appropriate for therapeutic music include guitar, harp, dulcimer, woodwinds, strings (cello, bass, viola, violin), Native American Flute, voice and more.

The scholarship program has been funded by generous local donations, two grants from Alzheimer’s Foundation of American (AFA) and by the group’s fundraising efforts.

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