Sarah loves music. It is one of the few things in her life that has been uplifting. Messages in her life from those that surround her screams she is worthless, a burden, and that she will not amount to anything. Sarah’s self-worth and self-esteem was destroyed. These consistent messages haunt her thoughts and actions and leave her wondering what stinging remarks wait for her around every corner. Sarah loved coming to music therapy. It gave her the chance to overcome obstacles through supportive experiences, achievements and self-expression.

Through Conversation with the music therapist, she discovered her favorite song, Demons by Imagine Dragons, tells part of her story. “I want to conquer the demons that hold me back and want to rise up from the pain” she shared. Sarah begins her journey of healing while songwriting and changing some of the lyrics in the song. While songwriting, she feels creative and accomplishes things that even she thought were impossible. With encouragement feels from the music therapist, Sarah shares her story with her peers in a performance. She finds what she had never received before: acceptance, encouragement and a sense of pride.


 Amber Cook, Board Certified Music Therapist

Amber is a graduate from Wartburg College and holds a Bachelor’s in Music Education, having majored in music therapy. Amber specialized in developmental disabilities and Autism treatment, and works with clients through the Mental Health Clinic on an outpatient basis. Amber also works with the inpatient program on campus and facilitates music education opportunities through the Expressive Arts Program

Carly Ramthun, Board Certified Music Therapist

Carly earned both her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy and Master of of Arts in Music Therapy from the University of Iowa. Carly has a specialization in neurological music therapy (NMT) and has experience working in interdisciplinary settings with children with a variety of disabilities and abilities including children with Autism Spectrum Disorder, Downs Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, and other developmental delays.


Music therapy is an evidence-based practice that utilizes individualized music-based interventions to help children improve their physical, cognitive, social, behavior and communication skills. Music therapy provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words.

Why Music Therapy?

Music therapy is part of the Tanager Place Expressive Arts Program, a program that is an integral part of treatment. Music therapy provides emotionally challenged children insight into feelings and conflicts too threatening to face directly. Through music therapy, children are able to use the power of the creative process as a vehicle for communicating, coping, self-development and healing.

Who can Music Therapy Help?

Music Therapy can benefit children with a variety of needs including:

  • Mental Illness
  • Depression
  • Behavioral Disorders
  • Emotional Disorders
  • Autism
  • Sensory Impairments
  • Developmental Delays
  • Neurological Disorders
  • Cognitive Impairments

Client Testimonials

  • People listen to me when I make music.

    Dave, 14
  • Music is how I deal with life.

    Caitlin, 17
  • When I sing, my body relaxes and I feel more in control of myself and my life.

    Abbie, 15
  • Music Therapy gives me a way to express my ideas.

    Jacob, 10
  • Music therapy provides me an escape. I don't have to worry about anything when I am here.

    Noah, 14
  • When I make music, I feel good about myself.

    Sam, 11
  • Music therapy has helped me express things to people in my life when I couldn't just tell them.

    Brittany, 13
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