Grant funds music therapy program
Drumming along to his favorite tunes on the piano, David Opsommer spends his music therapy class in complete bliss on MSU’s campus.
Opsommer, 19, of Shaftsburg, Mich., was diagnosed with autism when he was 5 years old and attends music therapy sessions through the MSU Community Music School, an outreach division of MSU’s College of Music.
“If this was something he didn’t enjoy or he wasn’t getting something out of, you wouldn’t get him into the car, that’s for sure,” said his mother, Mary Opsommer. “He’s happy and having fun; that is what counts.”
The school received a $2,000 grant from CVS Caremark, a segment of CVS/pharmacy, for the program, which will allow school officials to offer more music therapy programs.
Cindy Edgerton, director of music therapy clinical services at the MSU Community Music School in East Lansing, said the funding also will give officials an opportunity to provide some financial aid for families. She said the programs can be life-changing for participants, such as David Opsommer, but the sessions also impacted her life.
“During one of my sessions (Tuesday) I had tears in my eyes,” Edgerton said. “Through music, (the children) can do more than what I can do.”
Amanda Darche, grant writer and communications coordinator for the MSU Community Music School, said the Dart Foundation, a Mid-Michigan philanthropy organization, will match the grant.
Darche submitted the grant application though CVS’ Web site because the company had a specific interest in funding programs that serve children with special needs.
“The process was relatively pain-free,” Darche said. “We’ve been working toward getting more funding for all of our music therapy programs because we do have that matching grant.”
The music therapy programs at the MSU Community Music School provide families with a treatment plan after receiving reports from the speech therapist, Edgerton said. From there, the school’s own goals and objectives are determined to measure whether or not an individual can be successful in the program.
Mary Opsommer said she brought David to the program and discovered he only wanted to communicate through music and movies.
“Talking didn’t really have a whole lot of value for him,” Mary Opsommer said. “But music brought it out. If you want to sing and if you want to be a part of music, then you have to speak. Michigan State and this program has been such a contributing factor to his growth.