Beat Therapy


Beat Therapy is a Washington University student run and operated service group, focused on community outreach through music education and music therapy in the Greater St. Louis area.

Music Education

Music education is one of the two main branches of Beat Therapy's outreach. BT focuses on portraying the intrinsic power of music to those who otherwise might not experience it. The group engages both in public school music programs and in private lessons.

Ashland Elementary

Ashland elemntary is a St. Louis public elementary school serviced by Beat Therapy's music education program on a weekly basis. The group focuses on younger students, (grades K-6). The children at Ashland are exposed to everything from the basic concepts of rhythm and melody, to larger ideas, like the integration of music into our everyday lives, and musical imagery. Beat Therapy volunteers use music based games to teach these concepts.


Examples include the "conductor game", in which students are exposed to pitch and volume by taking turns using hand signals to express musical notation, and rhythm games, like rhythmic Simon Says. Ultimately, BT works to bring the joy of music into a classroom setting.


Beat Therapy also helps engage people in private lessons.
Anyone with an interest can participate, so BT services a wide range of ages and skill levels. The musical lessons are facilitated by the help of another music-related campus organization known as Making Music Matters. Together, these two groups help to teach instruments across the spectrum: piano, violin, cello, flute etc.

Music Therapy

Therapy is the other branch of BT's program. BT focuses on the healing powers of music, and the way that it can preserve our health: physical, mental, and emotional. BT music therapy programs focus on the way music effects our lives, memories and behaviors, and the way that we can use it to modify and improve these aspects of ourselves.

Annie's Hope

Annie's Hope is a bereavement center that focuses on providing support to grieving teens and their families. Beat Therapy volunteers with Annie's Hope in an effort to provide a musical outlet for teenagers to express themselves. BT does this in a variety of ways, including open discussions, group singing and instrumentation sessions, and songwriting workshops, in which BT members help the grieving to write and produce songs as a creative release.

pictured above is an annie's hope teen retreat

Parc Provence

Parc Provence is an assisted living facility which Beat Therapy visits every week to provide music therapy services. Alternating every weekend, BT provides two services: music bingo, and individual performances. During the individual performances, students and student groups come in to Parc to perform for those who live there, and provide various forms of live entertainment (including instrument performances and acapella). During music bingo, BT plays old hits, and residents are required to recognize the song, and place tiles accordingly. These therapies encourage active listening, and are helpful in exercising memory.


For more information on music for social change, see Music for Social Change

Photos by Alexis Turin. Reprinted by permission.

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