Today we continue our series of posts highlighting some of the great continuing education opportunities at the 2015 AMTA conference. Remember, even if you’ve already registered for the conference itself, you can still register for CMTEs. Some sessions do have space limits, so sign up soon!




Re-purposing Trash Into Treasure: From Steel Pan to Emotional Issues

Jean Raabe, MT-BC and Lee Anna Rasar, MT-BC, WMTR

Thursday, November 12, 7:30a- 12:30p, 5 credits


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Jean and Lee Anna are excited to share their knowledge and experience with steel pan and calypso music in regard to the value of using these Caribbean cultural gems within a variety of music therapy settings. You can walk away from this session with ideas for session plans which integrate ways to deal with tough clinical issues, including ethical ones. There are significant parallels between the struggle for these art forms to gain legitimacy, and with our clients working hard to improve their lives through skillfully crafted music interventions. The metaphor for turning emotional trash into treasure is showcased by the use of throw-away equipment to create an orchestra and continues within the climate of social/political conflict that so often represents the environment of the people we serve and sometimes even the working environment for therapy.  Join us in this interactive session to learn about the historical, social and ethical implications of steel pan and calypso, similarities to the blues and the role it played in the American south, and to enjoy the music making opportunities personally while expanding your musical repertoire and clinical perspectives!


Jean has been traveling to Trinidad for over 20 years to play steel pan in one of the large steel bands which has won the championship during the country’s National Panorama competition.  Jean has also used steel pan in her music therapy sessions for over 20 years, and has been the recipient of six grants to use music therapy practices and principles as an artist in residence at rural elementary schools in Michigan.  (Links to videos are below.)


After attending one of Jean’s sessions, Lee Anna was inspired to purchase a small steel pan because she had been teaching on steel pan and calypso music in a college Folk Music course and had used it in a variety of clinical settings from as early as the 1970s at the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans all the way through today in nursing homes, hospitals (behavioral and physical health), at a juvenile detention center and in adult jail/prison settings, in special education settings, in trauma programs, and in home care. She has documented video samples to showcase the integration of steel pan music with classical music, progressive as well as traditional jazz, gospel music, torch music and pop/rock genres.


Come to interact with each other and share experiences and ideas to help us all expand our collective knowledge on how to use these art forms in therapeutic music interventions, as well as share how to acquire the supplies needed to implement the strategies.


Although sharing client pictures and videos on the web are not possible, there is a Facebook page dedicated to reporting the use of grant funds for the schools in rural Michigan.  What you find on the Facebook page is representative of the interactive sections of this CMTE session.  A few pictures below the links are labeled for those who don’t have time to check out the links.


Please follow this link to find pictures and videos from the programs:

Please follow this link to see the large steel band in which Jean plays:


Bloomingdale students teaching seniors:



Pullman students teaching parents:



Bloomingdale students performing at the entrance of a minor league baseball park:



Expand your instrument repertoire and bring a new, powerful facet to your music therapy practice through steel pans –  sign up today!

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