Brenda Freed has always been aware of the healing power of music since suffering from a muscle degenerative disease at the age of 9 when singing and playing piano were the few activities she could physically do. Not only did she miraculously recover completely from the disease (for example, in 1991 she completed a 9,000 mile bicycle ride that led her from Iowa to Texas by way of Canada!) but, the experience inspired her to become a music therapist and a private music instructor - careers which enable her to help others through music.
For Brenda Freed, Music Therapy is about using music as well as other
creative arts therapies to achieve non-musical goals. Depending
on the treatment population, some goals of music therapy are to increase
self-esteem, increase socialization, encourage specific motor movement,
reinforce treatment concepts and encourage appropriate self-expression
and behaviors. In her music therapy work, Brenda has focused
on songwriting, improvisation and lyric analysis with her clients. She
has also incorporated puppetry and video feedback into her work as
well as other creative art therapies such as poetry, drama, art, and
movement therapy. "Music does amazing things for people. I've
witnessed a child say his first words following a head injury by singing
a familiar song with me during a session. Carefully chosen songs
clients relate to in music therapy sessions serve as a starting point
for them to talk honestly about their own lives and problems. Songs
written by terminally ill clients serve as a validation of their lives
and some have later been read at their memorial services and are a
gift to family and friends. I've also sung to people as they
have passed from this life into another realm. Families have
commented that the music made it easier for them as well as for their
Brenda graduated from the University of Iowa in 1980 with a BA in Music Education and Music Therapy. In 1982, she started working as a music therapist in the recreational therapy department at University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics (UIHC). Over the next 8 years, she worked at a frenzied pace testing her own mental health in the process. ;-)
Brenda's Master's Thesis - Song Versus Poetry as a Focal Point in Group Therapy Session on Group Cohesion:
After coming to Texas in 1992, Brenda Freed teamed up with an art teacher, two massage therapists and a writer to offer "Right Brain Retreats". Her workshops provided fun and liberating experiences for participants, while exploring self-expression through breathing techniques, vocal exercises and singing.From 2005-2010, Brenda served on the Board and as Program Director for Youth Taking Charge (www.youthtakingcharge.us), a Wimberley based non-profit. During this time she led the music and movement groups at a 5-day residential summer camp and at an 8-week summer day camp where she was also the program coordinator.
[Return to top]
Brenda’s work in music therapy is part of her ongoing private music instruction; a business she started in 1991. For more information on Brenda's use of music therapy in her teaching go to Music Therapy in Teaching.
Her presentations are fun and experiential for all participants. Brenda’s therapeutic skills and experience range from music therapy across the spectrum of creative arts therapies: poetry, drama, art, and movement therapy.
Brenda has taught several Continuing Education Units (CEU's) for music therapists and for nurses in the areas of chemical dependency and general hospital including:
While Brenda was the music therapist at the University of Iowa, she was invited to present her innovative music therapy techniques at conferences across the United States and internationally:
Brenda's music therapy publications are still used today in music therapy curriculum at the University level: