Soaring with Music Therapy

Pam Carlton dropped out of college after her first semester.  More than 20 years later, in the middle of a successful career as a flight attendant for American Airlines, she "dropped in" - to Molloy.

"I was ready for school this time, and Molloy was a perfect fit for me," said Carlton, who graduated with a degree in Music Therapy, then added a Master's from Molloy in the same field a few years later.  "I felt welcomed from the moment I set foot on campus, even though I was the oldest student in almost all of my classes.  I also loved that Molloy's Dominican heritage meant that students were encouraged to use their education to serve the greater community."

Pam Carlton with Molloy studentsCarlton grew up in a family of musicians: her mother was a concert pianist, while her father had been a high school music teacher, a singer and horn player. "I always felt that I was meant to work in the music field," she said, "but I didn't feel called to teach or do orchestral work full-time."

Despite earning a scholarship to Boston University as a violinist, Carlton was not ready for school.  She dropped out and traveled the world as a flight attendant, playing in New York City orchestras on days off, but something was missing.

Her passion for Music Therapy was ignited at Molloy, and she was able to put herself through school by continuing to work as a flight attendant on weekends.  "I would finish my classes and literally change clothes in the car before flying off to Paris for three days," said Carlton.  "It was a hectic, exciting few years, but I knew I was on the right path."

Today Carlton has used her music therapy skills in a variety of medical and psychiatric settings, helping both children and adults.  She also runs workshops for people recovering from addiction, codependency and eating disorders, as well as "wellness retreats" for breast-cancer survivors. Carlton has also used her music therapy skills in summer-camp settings for children with developmental disabilities, and somehow finds the time to teach as well (she is an adjunct professor at Molloy). She is also finishing her post-graduate training in the Nordoff-Robbins music therapy approach at Molloy's Rebecca Center for Music Therapy.

"I had to overcome a lot of challenges, including going back to school and starting a new career," said Carlton.  "Molloy was an essential part of my support system, providing strength and ongoing encouragement as I forged my new life - a life that has exceeded my wildest dreams!"

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