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Director of Music Therapy & Performing Arts, Ms. Molly Phillips Grogan, Music Therapist-BC, jumped at the chance to train interns when she was approached by Dr. Daniel Tague, MT-BC Assistant Professor and Chair of Music Therapy at SMU three years ago.  Dr. Tague had observed the unique and effective therapeutic approach to learning at Dallas Academy and was enthusiastic about giving his senior students an opportunity to be a part of the one year (approximately 1200 hours) of internship.  

As a prerequisite, Ms. Grogan was required to complete a Music Therapy Intern Supervisory course to prepare for her new SMU Music Therapy Supervisor role.  She was delighted “to know that she is making a difference in the shaping of these young professionals, while also being aware of how much skilled help and service Dallas Academy students gain from the SMU interns.” 

Dallas Academy is grateful to be entrusted with SMU Music Therapy Interns as a wonderful new addition to our campus.   Our relationship with Southern Methodist University has proven to be a win-win situation for both parties.   While the SMU intern is provided the long-term on-site training experience needed before graduation, even more Dallas Academy students are able to participate in enriching development because of the added skilled assistance.   Since this program has come to our campus, dozens of students have been given extra therapeutic attention and broader learning from these highly skilled student professionals from SMU.       

These bright and talented SMU students come to Dallas Academy after completing a rigorous academic curriculum, in addition to a practicum rotation in a variety of therapeutic settings. Our current SMU MT Intern, Ali Esparza, joins us as the third SMU intern Ms. Molly Grogan has supervised.   Ms. Esparza comes to us with practicum experience in settings of memory care, adult psychiatric care, one-on-developmental intervention, and from practicum experience with young cancer patients at Cook Children's Hospital. 

This year, Ms. Esparza will spend her internship in three phases:  observation, co-leading, and leading groups and classes, as well as in one-on-one with individual music therapy interventions via piano, guitar, voice, soprano recorder, ukulele and a variety of rhythm instruments.   Becoming familiar with the needs of each individual, Ali will develop her skills at writing goals & objectives for students as well as creating meaningful and effective interventions to help our students become the best versions of themselves through Music Therapy & Performing Arts.    

Ms. Esparza will be using music as a therapeutic tool to help students develop in basic learning skills such as:  memory, sequencing, organization, reading, verbal and non-verbal communication, social skills, self-awareness and self-expression, increasing confidence through risk-taking, and many other important goals.    Scientific studies tell us that music is "fertilizer for the brain" and children who engage in music develop better.  We are all reminded that music & performing arts are educational and therapeutic and lives are changed before our very eyes! 

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