How music heals |

How music heals

Kimberly Nicoletti

BRECKENRIDGE – “It’s not Carnegie Hall that has to be the end-all,” music therapist Deforia Lane said. “There’s a lot to giving with music beyond the applause.”

Lane used to think nothing could top the connection she felt with audiences when she sang opera. Then, she took an introductory music therapy class while pursuing a masters degree in music.

“It was like a light bulb turned on in my head,” Lane said. “This seemed the perfect blend, to use my love for music and my desire to nurture people. When I realized opera was not going to be my lifelong career, I thought, “Oh my, I will miss those mountain-top experiences,’ and that has not been the case at all. I’ve reached beyond longing for the approval, and I’m fed in a totally different way.”

Lane began working as a music therapist with children with mental retardation in 1979. Then she was diagnosed with cancer, which eventually led to a career working at the University Hospital in Cleveland.

“What I thought was going to be a crushing blow to me was just the opposite,” she said. “It has given me wings to fly and introduced me to the people who have taught me more from their bedside than I could have learned from any book.”

As director of music therapy, Lane addresses anxiety, depression and physical pain perception with patients. She often works in conjunction with other therapists to facilitate communication and compliance with treatments.

“We don’t do it in a talk therapy kind of way,” she said. “We do it in a musical context.”

As part of the National Repertory Orchestra (NRO) season, Lane will present a career workshop seminar on music therapy for the musicians, as well as for the general public. She will review research on music therapy and discuss the physiological, psychological and spiritual effect of music, as well as its effect on neurological and immune function. Her presentation will include practical uses of music for health and well being, short video segments of her rounds in the hospital, her personal story and experiential interventions.

The free, 45-minute presentation begins at 1 p.m. Saturday at the Riverwalk Center. For information, call (970) 453-5825.

Kimberly Nicoletti can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 245 or by e-mail at

Music Therapy Presentation:

– When: 1 p.m. Saturday, June 29

– Where: Riverwalk

Center, Breckenridge

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