Anchor ads are not supported on this page.

4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs

Music therapy is real

...just ask local artist Mandi Jo Miller, she's seen it work

As an undergrad, Mandi Jo Miller met a music therapist in a bar: “I had no idea that job even existed.”
As an undergrad, Mandi Jo Miller met a music therapist in a bar: “I had no idea that job even existed.”

Mandi Jo Miller wasn’t looking for a new career when a chance meeting redirected her path in life on New Year’s Eve in 2008.

“I met a music therapist in a bar,” says Miller. “I was finishing up my undergrad in voice at the University of Northern Iowa. Before I met her, I had no idea that job even existed. I really wanted to get a master’s degree and I did some research and decided to go for it.”

She works with all kinds of clients.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Video:

Mandi Jo Miller

"Feel Like Making Love" cover

"Feel Like Making Love" cover

“I’ve been practicing for almost four years, and the story is different with every population I work with — when it’s autistic children, there are very specific goals that you need to try and hit — it’s a very long-term process. I’ve also worked with babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit, where research shows you can help regulate their vital signs by manipulating tempo and volume. When that works, you can see it happening. And I love working with older adults, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer’s. I use music from their era — a lot of ’30s and ’40s. I use stuff that is familiar to them. They smile. They don’t feel confused. That’s gratifying, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always work. People respond to music therapy in varying degrees.”

Sometimes the bonds she creates with clients make the inevitable goodbyes tough to weather.

“I am so sad right now because one of my contracts with a memory-care-center just ended and I really loved doing that work. Sometimes they would really be down — some of them would be crying. But when I would start singing songs from their youth, they would remember and join in. For a moment, they forget what was bothering them and there’s a transformation that you can see. When I can make that happen, it feels like I am making a difference.”

Place

Pardon My French Bar & Kitchen

3797 Park Boulevard, San Diego

Miller encounters a fair amount of skepticism in her line of work, though.

“Probably the worst part of it is trying to convince people that music therapy is a real thing — some people don’t believe it. But it’s really amazing what can happen — I’ve seen it first-hand.”

Miller also performs non-therapeutically on the fourth Friday of every month at Pardon My French in University Heights.

Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

Gonzo Report: Save Ferris brings a clapping crowd to the Belly Up

Maybe the band was a bigger deal than I had remembered
Next Article

Why you climb El Cajon Mountain at night

The man with no rope fell 500 feet
As an undergrad, Mandi Jo Miller met a music therapist in a bar: “I had no idea that job even existed.”
As an undergrad, Mandi Jo Miller met a music therapist in a bar: “I had no idea that job even existed.”

Mandi Jo Miller wasn’t looking for a new career when a chance meeting redirected her path in life on New Year’s Eve in 2008.

“I met a music therapist in a bar,” says Miller. “I was finishing up my undergrad in voice at the University of Northern Iowa. Before I met her, I had no idea that job even existed. I really wanted to get a master’s degree and I did some research and decided to go for it.”

She works with all kinds of clients.

Sponsored
Sponsored
Video:

Mandi Jo Miller

"Feel Like Making Love" cover

"Feel Like Making Love" cover

“I’ve been practicing for almost four years, and the story is different with every population I work with — when it’s autistic children, there are very specific goals that you need to try and hit — it’s a very long-term process. I’ve also worked with babies in the neo-natal intensive care unit, where research shows you can help regulate their vital signs by manipulating tempo and volume. When that works, you can see it happening. And I love working with older adults, many of whom have dementia or Alzheimer’s. I use music from their era — a lot of ’30s and ’40s. I use stuff that is familiar to them. They smile. They don’t feel confused. That’s gratifying, but it’s important to remember that it doesn’t always work. People respond to music therapy in varying degrees.”

Sometimes the bonds she creates with clients make the inevitable goodbyes tough to weather.

“I am so sad right now because one of my contracts with a memory-care-center just ended and I really loved doing that work. Sometimes they would really be down — some of them would be crying. But when I would start singing songs from their youth, they would remember and join in. For a moment, they forget what was bothering them and there’s a transformation that you can see. When I can make that happen, it feels like I am making a difference.”

Place

Pardon My French Bar & Kitchen

3797 Park Boulevard, San Diego

Miller encounters a fair amount of skepticism in her line of work, though.

“Probably the worst part of it is trying to convince people that music therapy is a real thing — some people don’t believe it. But it’s really amazing what can happen — I’ve seen it first-hand.”

Miller also performs non-therapeutically on the fourth Friday of every month at Pardon My French in University Heights.

Comments
Sponsored
Here's something you might be interested in.
Submit a free classified
or view all
Previous article

I saw Suitcase Man all the time.

Vons. The Grossmont Center Food Court. Heading up Lowell Street
Next Article

For its pilsner, Stone opts for public hops

"We really enjoyed the American Hop profile in our Pilsners"
Comments
Ask a Hipster — Advice you didn't know you needed Big Screen — Movie commentary Blurt — Music's inside track Booze News — San Diego spirits Classical Music — Immortal beauty Classifieds — Free and easy Cover Stories — Front-page features Drinks All Around — Bartenders' drink recipes Excerpts — Literary and spiritual excerpts Feast! — Food & drink reviews Feature Stories — Local news & stories Fishing Report — What’s getting hooked from ship and shore From the Archives — Spotlight on the past Golden Dreams — Talk of the town The Gonzo Report — Making the musical scene, or at least reporting from it Letters — Our inbox Movies@Home — Local movie buffs share favorites Movie Reviews — Our critics' picks and pans Musician Interviews — Up close with local artists Neighborhood News from Stringers — Hyperlocal news News Ticker — News & politics Obermeyer — San Diego politics illustrated Outdoors — Weekly changes in flora and fauna Overheard in San Diego — Eavesdropping illustrated Poetry — The old and the new Reader Travel — Travel section built by travelers Reading — The hunt for intellectuals Roam-O-Rama — SoCal's best hiking/biking trails San Diego Beer — Inside San Diego suds SD on the QT — Almost factual news Sheep and Goats — Places of worship Special Issues — The best of Street Style — San Diego streets have style Surf Diego — Real stories from those braving the waves Theater — On stage in San Diego this week Tin Fork — Silver spoon alternative Under the Radar — Matt Potter's undercover work Unforgettable — Long-ago San Diego Unreal Estate — San Diego's priciest pads Your Week — Daily event picks
4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
Close

Anchor ads are not supported on this page.