Music Therapy at Home

Virtual Programming by Karla Wilson, Music Therapist

Sitting in front of her keyboard and springing into song, Karla’s passion for music is infectious. 

Karla Wilson, a board certified Music Therapist, brings music therapy into the homes of clients all over. While she works with a range of clients, Karla has a passion for working with those living with dementia and at end of life.

As a board certified music therapist, Karla is well versed in both a wide span of music, but also having a keen sense of awareness of someone’s emotional, physical and communicative abilities in a given moment. After gathering information from the client and their family members or loved ones, Karla develops an initial plan of approach. Based on her client’s immediate presentation, Karla tailors her musical approach to that individual. For some, it’s encouraging movement through using instruments- maracas, shakers, and even getting creative- using spoons and spatulas! For others, it’s writing songs with the individual based on their needs and interests. And for even more, it’s using familiar tunes to create a connection, perhaps with someone who struggles to verbally communicate in other settings. Based on an individual’s reaction, Karla will adjust and tailor her approach.

Music therapy is a growing field, as research continues to grow supporting the benefits of music for people living with dementia, and for many others. While the field is continuing to grow, Karla saw a growing need to increase accessibility to music therapy. Responding to this need, Karla founded Music Therapy at Home. Karla offers virtual music therapy sessions to her clients and their care partners, when appropriate. Sitting in front of her webcam and keyboard, she engages her clients through song writing, singing, movement and more based on her client’s unique needs.

Music has the power to inspire connection and highlight strengths in individuals with dementia. Karla has the power to facilitate these interactions, which not only provides meaningful moments for her client, but also for their loved ones. Karla tells the story of a gentleman who hadn’t spoken in several years, but after learning about his background and love of Broadway musicals, Karla was able to engage him. She saw his posture shift, eye contact being made, and then- he was singing. This is one of many remarkable moments that Karla has witnessed and facilitated. She shares more like this on her blog, Songful Stories.

Karla encourages the care partners she works with to implement music in their day to day routines with their loved ones. It can be especially beneficial during transitions throughout the day- especially around personal care. Music can be a way to stimulate an individual, while a care partner might be completing other tasks in the home.

The impact of music can be dramatic for a person living with dementia and their care partner. For a music therapist, like Karla, this is a normal part of a session. The benefits of music therapy are extensive, and at times seem magical. Through her keen assessment, passion and therapeutic connection, Karla has the power to bring this magic into the homes of her clients.

To learn more about Music Therapy at Home, check out Karla’s website here. Also, follow her on Instagram and learn more about music therapy- and also hear some great music!

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