What Can Music Therapy Do?

During my experiences as a music therapist, I have seen the power of music at work first-hand.  I have seen children with autism learn school concepts through singing and the use of visual aids, I have seen adults with developmental disabilities laugh and beam with pride after playing an instrumental solo during a group session, I have seen a young boy's ability to concentrate improve through participating in musical games and adapted piano lessons, I have seen a woman with a progressive muscle degenerative condition who rarely spoke a complete sentence sing an entire song with me during her music therapy session, I have seen teenagers begin to open up and allow the healing process to begin through discussing the lyrics of one of their favorite songs, and I have seen a young lady with many challenges including cystic fibrosis and cerebral palsy make eye contact with me and smile for the first time all day in response to music therapy.  I have been privileged to see these and countless other wonderful responses to music therapy.  This is why I love what I do!

Services Provided
Mrs. Bender specializes in autism and developmental disabilities (all ages), but she also has experience with music therapy for treating individuals with mental health needs (all ages) and individuals with aging related conditions.  Mrs. Bender will evaluate each referral on a case-by-case basis in order to decide with the client if meadowlark music studio is the best place for them to receive music therapy services. 

*Meadowlark music studio offers adapted piano and voice lessons for individuals with developmental disabilities.  Adapted music lessons focus first on meeting musical goals and second on meeting non-musical goals, and are considered more as music lessons than music therapy.  Please see the "Piano and Voice Lessons" tab for information on studio policies as these will apply to the students participating in adapted music lessons.

Meadowlark Music Studio offers the following music therapy services:

  • Music Therapy assessment sessions
  • 40-minute weekly individual music therapy sessions
  • 60-minute weekly individual music therapy sessions
  • 45-minute weekly group music therapy sessions

During Assessment sessions, Mrs. Bender will talk with and engage the client in music interventions in order to assess his/her current level of functioning.  This is where the specific goals and objectives that will be addressed through music therapy are identified.  Assessment sessions are 40 minutes in length.  The cost of a typical assessment session is $35.  After the assessment session and after discussing potential goals and objectives with the client or client's parent/guardian, Mrs. Bender will write a treatment plan that clearly states the goals and objectives to be worked on and an estimated time frame for objective completion. 

The weekly music therapy sessions are where the individualized goals and objectives are worked on.  Attendance to each session is crucial for optimum progress.  A progress note (SOAP note) will be completed by Mrs. Bender following each weekly session.  Progress Reports will be given to the client or the client's parent/guardian at the end of every semester so that progress can be discussed and goals and objectives can be modified if needed.

Billing and Attendance
Tuition is due the first week of every month and considered late after the 10th day of the month.  Tuition may be paid directly at the time of the session with cash or check (made out to Lisa Bender), credit card (I have a card reader), or paid online with credit card.  Music Therapy fees are as follows:

  • 40 minute sessions          $35 per session
  • 60 minute sessions          $50 per session

Forty minute sessions are $35 per session, which usually comes out to $140 per month (4 sessions), but some months will have 5 sessions ($175 per month) and some will have 3 ($105 per month), depending on the length of the month and what day of the week sessions are held, and in December, usually only 2 sessions will be offered ($70) due to Christmas break.  Parents of clients and adult clients will need to pay in advance for the month (by the 10th day of the month), according to how many sessions they will receive that month.

Sixty minute sessions are $50 per session, which usually comes out to $200 per month (4 sessions), but some months will have 5 sessions ($250 per month) and some will have 3 ($150 per month), depending on the length of the month and what day of the week sessions are held, and in December, usually only 2 sessions will be offered ($100) due to Christmas break.  Parents of clients and adult clients will need to pay in advance for the month (by the 10th day of the month), according to how many sessions they will receive that month.

A 10% discount is available for the total cost of lessons/therapy for families with two or more students enrolled.

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available upon request.  Call or email Mrs. Bender for more information.


Meadowlark Music Studio operates on a three-semesters-per year schedule.  The semesters are as follows:


Fall – September through December
Spring – January through May
Summer – June through August


Meadowlark Music Studio offers a minimum of 13 sessions during the fall semester, 18 sessions during the spring semester, and 10 sessions during the summer semester.  Sometimes a few more sessions than the minimum will be offered at no extra charge, depending on Mrs. Bender’s schedule.


Typically, no sessions will be held Thanksgiving week, during the last two weeks of December and the first few days of January, during one week in mid-March (spring break), and during the last week of May.  These dates are not set in stone, and so schedules will be communicated at the beginning of each semester and as needed, especially at the beginning of the summer semester because of vacations.


Lisa Bender’s Music Therapy Philosophy
I was born the youngest daughter of a piano teacher, so music has always been a part of my life.  Learning to play the piano, to sing and to play the guitar has helped me to develop perseverance, mental focus, self-confidence, and the ability to find joy in times of despair.  I believe that music has intrinsic qualities that are well suited for many kinds of therapies.  My experiences as a music therapist and researcher have only strengthened these beliefs. 

Three approaches to music therapy have stood out above the rest in shaping my philosophy of music therapy.  These three approaches are the Behavioral Approach, which stresses tracking data towards functional goals, Nordoff-Robins music therapy, which emphasizes the power of music as a process through which challenged individuals can achieve a sense of personal competence and connectedness with the outside world, and Neurologic Music Therapy, which stresses research-based protocols.

I believe that music’s power to bring healing lies in its physical properties such as rhythm and frequency that interact with the brain in a way that helps it to work more efficiently, addressing cognitive and physical goals, as well as its ability to provide a context in which individuals can address social and emotional goals through group music making or individual exploratory experiences with music.  The music therapist’s role is to facilitate the meeting of functional goals through research-based interventions that utilize the unique capabilities of music, and to take data that tracks the progress towards meeting these goals.

Meadowlark Music Studio attendance and cancellation policies are as follows:

  • If Mrs. Bender is given notice at the beginning of the month of a session or series of sessions that will be missed for any reason, there will be no charge for those sessions.  However, it is highly recommended that clients receive a session every week for optimum progress whenever possible.
  • Up to three make-up sessions will be offered per semester for any scheduled session that is cancelled by the client or client's guardian with 24 hours or more notice, or for sessions cancelled due to illness or emergency.  If a make-up session date and time can be agreed upon, no refund will be given.
  • After three make-up sessions have been scheduled during any given semester, no more make-up sessions will be offered and client or client's family will be responsible for lesson charges.  If scheduling becomes an issue, Mrs. Bender will try and offer a different session slot that works better for the client to avoid repeated cancellations.
  • For up to two sessions per Fall or Spring semester and for one session per Summer semester missed due to illness or emergency for which no make-up session is scheduled, a refund will be credited to your account ($35 for 40 minute sessions and $50 for 60 minute sessions).  After two sessions have been refunded during the Fall or Spring semester, or one session during the Summer semester, no more scheduled sessions will be refunded for the rest of that semester (unless of course the client or client's family decides to pause sessions for a set amount of time due to extenuating circumstances, extended travel plans, etc., with at least 24 hours notice given, or unless the session is cancelled by Mrs. Bender). 
  • For any session that is missed with less than 24 hours notice, unless it is due to illness or emergency, no refund will be given, and no make-up session will be offered.  Mrs. Bender will offer up to three make-up sessions per semester and will refund up to two sessions per Fall and Spring semester and one per Summer semester in cases of emergency or illness.
  • For any scheduled session that is cancelled by Mrs. Bender and no make-up session can be agreed upon due to schedule conflicts, a full refund will be credited to your account.