Spring 2024 Music Therapy Conference

Cupola atop a building on the Molloy University campus

A Culturally Informed Understanding of the Functional Use of Percussion in Music Therapy  
Presenter: Demeko Freeman, MMT
Saturday, April 13, 2024; 12:30 p.m.-3:30 p.m. 
(3 CMTEs/LCATs CE credits)

The conference will offer three options to attend: in-person, virtual through Zoom and via a recording.

This workshop offers a culturally informed rhythmic tapestry to foster a deeper understanding of the functional use of percussion in music therapy. Attendees will learn the cultural roots/history of African, Afro-Cuban, and Indigenous American drum culture, including technique, tuning, and rhythms, to enhance attendees cultural understanding and musical aesthetic of world percussion use in music therapy. The workshop embraces the notion that understanding the instrument's original cultural context is integral in the therapeutic relationship and offers an educational journey into the historical and cultural significance of each instrument.

This workshop rests on the principles of decolonization, echoing the call for dismantling colonial structures in therapeutic practices and navigating the snares of appropriation. This workshop will explore how multicultural or ethnic percussion instruments are devalued due to colonization and their proximity to the oppressed culture. They may be seen as simple instruments not requiring technical prowess. However, technical proficiency is but one part of the educational process. Education of functional percussion for music therapists must include a multicultural lens as many of these percussion based instruments may not originate from the culture of the clinician. This multicultural gap in awareness could potentially diminish the therapeutic potential of the music-client-clinician relationship.

Building on the cultural insights of the workshop is the integration of indigenous percussion into therapeutic interventions. Practical skills are honed through live demonstrations, guided group activities, and collaborative drumming sessions. This experiential approach equips participants with the tools to weave diverse musical elements into their future therapeutic practices. This approach serves as a dynamic space for learning, developing, and maintaining multicultural skills. This approach aligns with the evolving landscape of music therapy, preparing participants for the diverse and dynamic contexts they will encounter in their professional journeys. Participants will leave not only with a heightened appreciation for indigenous percussion but also with the practical skills and critical perspectives needed to create inclusive and culturally sensitive therapeutic spaces.

Learning Objectives

1) Define cultural sensitivity and identify at least 3 ways to improve cultural humility as music therapists (CBMT II.C.1; II.D.9) 
2) Replicate at least 2 traditional polyrhythms, naming their origin, ethnic/cultural group and history/reason for rhythm's existence to illustrate historical awareness and socioculturally conscious practice (CBMT III.A.4.c; V.B.1) 
3) Demonstrate fundamentals of tuning instruments and perform at least 3 fundamental sounds on the instruments provided in order to illustrate a cultural and aesthetic awareness of the music. (CBMT III.A.2.f; III.A.2.ee; III.A.2.ff; III.A.5.i; III.A.5.f.4) 

Speaker: Demeko Freeman, MMT, entered the field of music therapy with a backpack, a tent, and a Djembe. He was greeted with a small chuckle when he questioned, “Why do I need anything else but a drum?” He has been granted the blessing of transforming his love of percussion, groups, wilderness environments, music, and plants into a fruitful and joyful career during the past 15 years as a licensed professional counselor and music therapist. As a Wilderness First Responder and counselor to adjudicated teenage boys in the Northern Georgia Wilderness, he began to explore the healing power of nature and the drum. After witnessing glimpses of the drum’s ability to affect positive change he pursued a Masters in Music Therapy and deepened his study of the drum through diverse teachers of Manding, Afro-Cuban, Afro-Brazilian, and Native American cultures. He has since gained a fuller understanding of music therapy, which has deepened his belief in the function of percussion and rhythm in therapeutic contexts. He is interested in increasing the understanding of how ritual, traditional rhythms and instruments, and group music making enhance community well-being.

Continuing Education Credit:

NYS Licensed Creative Arts Therapists (LCATs)  Molloy University is an approved provider for CE credit from NY State for Licensed Creative Arts Therapists: approval number CAT-0015. This program is approved for three (3) CE contact hours for Licensed Creative Arts Therapists.  
Music Therapy: CMTE This conference is approved by the Certification Board for Music Therapists, approval number: P-102, to award 3 Continuing Music Therapy Education Synchronous (in-person) Opportunities. The Provider maintains responsibility for program quality and adherence to CBMT Policies and Criteria for Continuing Music Therapy Education.  
Location/Zoom Link/Recording:
If you attend in-person the conference will be held in the Larini Room of the Public Square (2nd floor) at Molloy's Rockville Centre campus located at 1000 Hempstead Avenue, Rockville Centre, New York 11571. Click here for directions to the campus and a campus map.

All participants will also be emailed the Zoom link with further information as we get closer to the conference date. The program will be recorded and you will have up to three weeks to watch the recorded workshop. The recording will be sent the Monday following the program.
Participants may choose to attend in-person, remotely through Zoom or via recording. The registration process is the same for all options. 

Click here to register online. Register on-line 24/7. You will need a MasterCard, Discover or Visa charge card and an email address.   To register by phone, please call 516-323-3550 with your MasterCard, Discover or Visa charge card.   Confirmation of your registration will be sent to you upon receipt of your registration. You will receive the Zoom link to join the program via email within a week of the date of the program. Registration is limited. Registration the day of the conference cannot be guaranteed.  

Refund Policy: A full refund will be granted as long as you contact us prior to the start date.  

Tuition Rates:
Early Registration by March 3, 2024: $30  
Regular Registration March 4 - March 29: $35
Late Registration after March 29: $40
Molloy Full-Time Students, Faculty and Staff, (Please use your Molloy email address when registering): No Charge
Non-Molloy Students (provide your school email address when registering): $10
Molloy Alumni: $5

Questions regarding registration?
Email: conted@molloy.edu
Phone: 516.323.3550

The following are some links about our Music Therapy program that you may find interesting:
Video on Molloy's Graduate Music Therapy Program https://vimeo.com/90795256
Twitter Account for Molloy's Graduate Music Therapy Program https://twitter.com/MusicMolloy
Facebook Page for Molloy's Graduate Music Therapy Program https://www.facebook.com/Graduate-Music-Therapy-at-Molloy-College-101924705247/