On Your Mind | Judith Pinkerton | Music Therapy

 

Music is a gift that unfolds the intricacies of human experience as it evokes emotions, stirs memories, and influences our well-being. But did you know that music can also be a powerful tool for healing and well-being? In this episode, Judith Pinkerton, the Creator of Music4Life® and the Music Medicine Protocol, weaves into the tapestry of healing and well-being through the beauty of Music Therapy. She also touches on the article talking about post-traumatic disorder and the music medicine prescription. In this episode, Judith also brings a surprise for everyone, and that is not something you want to miss. Join in as we unveil the beauty of music and the power it holds towards healing.

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Judith Pinkerton Licensed Music Therapist And Creator Of Music4Life® And The Music Medicine Protocol

Judith Pinkerton’s passion for music therapy was ignited in Alaska in 1986 when her solo violin music replaced medication for her husband in a hospital post-surgery. As a Music Therapy Clinician and Internship Director, author, TEDx speaker, recording artist, online educator and published researcher, Judith has presented at many national conferences and is the first to receive state-issued music therapy licenses in the United States.

With over 30 years of experience helping individuals from womb to tomb, she has treated more than 11,000 patients in residential addiction treatment centers. She’s the innovator of the evidence-based practice of the Music 4 Life Music Medicine Protocol. She has authored music therapy-informed accredited eCourses, certification trainings and she recruits and trained specialists to support the Key 2 MEE’s approach in 2024. You can learn more at TheMusic4Life.com and at JudithPinkerton.com. Judith is also offering a free gift to readers this show. If you go to TheMusic4Life.com/product/sleep-performance-pack-gift, use the password GIFT.

Judith, welcome. Thank you for joining us.

It’s such a pleasure to spend time with you, Dr. Tim.

I’m hoping you could start by telling us a little bit about how you got into your work and what drives your passion for it.

It all started in the hospital several decades ago when my solo violin music replaced medication post-surgery for a loved one. It was pretty stunning for both myself and the nurse who was attending him when the routine high blood pressure medication was no longer needed or was not needed at all in order to bring his blood pressure into range into the normal range.

It was solo violin music that I had recorded out of my love for him the night before. I wasn’t a music therapist at the time. I didn’t know what I was doing, but I used my heart in saying, “I’m going to play music he likes and music I like and put it together.” Within 30 minutes of listening to it, his blood pressure came into normal range from being high after emergency back surgery.

That drove my passion to learn more. What I was bumping into was more metaphysical at the time and I wanted hardcore research that strengthened what I was searching for. Move to Las Vegas from Anchorage, Alaska. I bumped into a music therapist and attended my first music therapy conference. I cried through the whole thing because I knew this was home for me.

How long ago was that?

I attended my first music therapy conference in 1990.

All of that’s led to this music for life and a new patent. Can you tell us about this and what you’re doing with it?

Yeah. What I’ve learned over the decades, Dr. Tim, is so much from the clients and patients I’ve worked with and it’s developed from my experiences with them and learning how to modulate music in such a way that it becomes a do-it-yourself program. It’s especially crucial right now because there’s a shortage of music therapists. There are only 10,000 of us at this time in the United States. People are struggling in rural communities.

After our grand pause of the pandemic, there’s a lot of unsettledness that is still chronic requiring medications. It’s exorbitant. It’s resulting in negative behaviors, increased shooting incidences, violence and so on. Imagine being able to create a prescriptive playlist that creates a cathartic experience where chronic unsettledness and emotions expressed as anger, anxiety, depression, or sadness can be mitigated through a prescriptive playlist that we call the music medicine pill.

The Music Medicine Pill mitigates the cathartic experience like chronic unsettledness and emotions. Click To Tweet

Imagine understanding how your listening habits may keep you in a toxic situation or take you out of that toxicity. It’s an assessment of what are your music listening habits that we have created through a curriculum and to dive deep into becoming more emotionally aware of what I’m feeling and am I misinterpreting it? Do I think that I am excited all the time when I’m actually anxious or that I’m energized all the time when I’m actually angry? I’m calm, leave me alone all the time and I’m actually depressed.

Noticing how our music habits may keep us stuck in those moods because we tend to listen to music that matches where we’re at. What do I feel like listening to right now? Unbeknownst to us, it could become actually toxic. The Music Medicine Protocol goes much deeper than other recommendations that people have about what you should be listening to when you’re sad or angry and so on. This is more of a medical protocol in addressing long-term benefits as a result of listening to music in an empowering way.

I liked how we talked earlier and you were saying something about, I use the phrase pressure cooker. I think you talked about the steam kettle. If I’m feeling angry or down and I have music that resonates with that mood, loud and aggressive and whatever, and I listen to it and I feel a little bit better, what you’re talking about is that all that’s happening there is I’m relieving a little stress. However, I haven’t changed what’s in the pot or how hot the heat is. I’m not changing anything fundamental about the process. With these three categories, you’ve discovered how to help people move from one to the other into a productive, energized state.

A typical listening habit is someone saying, “I’m feeling this unsettled mood. I don’t want to feel that. Therefore, I’m going to play music that’s going to target the mood that I want to feel.” That is only a temporary solution in mitigating that unsettled mood. What is crazy is that people are like, “What? You actually want me to listen to music that’s going to make me feel the unsettled mood that I don’t want to feel?”

Yes, there’s a certain exposure. We know about exposure therapy and how valuable that can be. The challenge with applying music under that theory of exposure therapy is the time is the duration element and the depth of the emotion that the music can trigger because you don’t want to get actually worse. You want to satiate and validate that emotion before moving on to neutralize what you stirred up with that music.

Satiate and validate that emotion before neutralizing what you just stirred up with that music. Click To Tweet

The mood sequence formula is invaluable in creating what we call the music medicine pill. The mood sequence formula addresses the broad continuum of emotions so that you start off with where you’re at and validate that. The sequencing, using the entrainment mechanism is crucial in, first of all, sequencing the moods appropriately, selecting the right music that actually evokes those pure qualities of moods.

Have it possibly edited because sometimes the music doesn’t segue to the best that it should. Sometimes, the music therapist has to be involved to edit music so that it follows that continuum easily. It’s like being on a train and sometimes you might feel like that train is going 90 miles an hour and you’re trying to hold on, especially if you’re in an anxiety piece. To be able to hold on and continue listening to that prescriptive playlist that goes through all of these emotions going from unsettled to soothed to energized in that sequencing, that’s our generic mood sequence formula. It’s unsettled to soothe, to energized.

When you do that, you’re training your emotions to shift. You are training your emotions to stop and start when you do this specialized playlist called a music medicine pill daily for two weeks. The effects of that on mood balance are amazing when you’re able to successfully control your moods even without listening to the playlist.

Clients report back that they’ll feel this particular unsettled mood that was related to their music medicine pill and the music automatically starts playing in their head because they’ve been conditioned. We know their music’s going to stop, and amazingly, the mood stops and shifts into something else that is more productive. Truly, it’s this interesting satiation that goes on where it’s not repressing, it’s actually igniting, allowing repressed emotions to be fully expressed.

That is a really good thing. If you can start to look at those emotions as energies with information, then I don’t deny and suppress them. I access them and I utilize them. You’re talking about then basically transmuting them into a different level of energy. You mentioned that the unsettled to soothe to energized is the generic pill that hints at that. There’s a non-generic formula.

When a music therapist gets involved with a creation of it, we start looking at thematic music that will play into it. We start looking at possible sleep disorder challenges, which will modify the formula. Depending on the goals that are agreed upon, and I say agreed upon because the client could be saying, “I want to get out of my marriage,” or, “I want to change a job,” or, “I want to move to a different place,” that’s not the purpose.

With the music medicine pill, we’re looking at mood balance. Saying, “I want to be able to control my moods. I want to feel less anxious. I want to feel less depressed. I want to manage my anger,” those kinds of goals we look for in feeling better. The outcome also can be improved relationships or making life decisions from a more balanced approach rather than, “I have to do this because I don’t have enough money,” or, “She just screamed at me,” or whatever. It’s a more balanced approach to my long-term goal here in making best decisions in order to continue my best life. That’s what it supports.

You mentioned something about listening daily for two weeks.

I’ve had a variety of different listening regimens with clients. When I’ve been in treatment facilities and a customized approach has been ordered for a client, they may listen. I have a phenomenal story about one client that listened to it a lot within ten days. His story was amazing, as was how he shifted completely to be noticed by peers as well as his therapist. Typically, it’s one time daily.

What is the duration of this listening session?

If it’s customized, it’s usually anywhere between 30 to 60 minutes long every day. That’s a customized approach. We have generic playlists that have been utilized that are only 15 to 20 minutes long. I say the customized approach is longer because we have more mood problems that have to be addressed. People may say, “I have got problems with anxiety, anger, depression, and sadness,” so then we have to find music that will address those four moods.

In a balanced music diet, you must have equal time in each mood category of unsettled, soothed, and energized music. We then have to find appropriate music that will balance out and help neutralize the effects of the unsettledness by creating the soothing music that will do that and then moving into the energizing music. It’s also about peeling that layer away. You may not know an issue until the first issue is addressed and the second issue pops up.

On Your Mind | Judith Pinkerton | Music Therapy

Music Therapy: We have to find appropriate music that will balance out and help neutralize the effects of the unsettledness by creating soothing music that will do that and move into energizing music.

 

There was one client I’ll never forget. We had chosen Native American flute music, so soothing for her, for her soothing section. I’d have to go into her playlist, but I think she had maybe between 12 and 15 pieces of music throughout her whole playlist. In the soothing section, that would’ve meant there were probably 3 or 4 pieces of music, including the soothing Native American flute music.

She gets into listening to it. She came back within a week to do an interim check and discovered that this flute music was igniting anger for her. It was not putting her into that soothed place. What we discovered, the reason for that was she was going through a divorce. She worked at a casino with Native American music playing, including that flute music. At the same location, she worked with her husband, whom she was going through a divorce and the mistress also worked there.

That’ll light a fire under you.

The Native American music actually brought up then her work environment and how upsetting all of this was. We changed it out very quickly. We took it out and put something else in there that would continue that soothed feeling. It gets very complicated as you start mitigating these layers of experiences, emotions and music preferences.

You have a patent and what’s the goal, your dream for what’s going to happen now that you have the patent?

Imagine being able to open up your Key2MEE. MEE stands for Music Exercising Emotions, which becomes your personal journey or a MEE experience. Key2MEE will allow the user to insert personal information to start exploring how to create their specialized playlists and offer music that they think should go on there. Having a specialist that’s on hand through the app to be able to say yay or nay on that particular music that you would like to have go into your music medicine pill.

You will be able to access all the music from a couple of dozen different genres that we are recommending that have been used successfully. We love the music industry because they continue to produce more music for us to consider. There’s always something new to be considered. The end result is to be able to create this prescriptive playlist causing a music medicine pill and be able to track on your listening regimen and having done assessments before. After, you can start realizing how this is affecting you.

If you’re in a chronic and subtle comfort zone where music is actually keeping you in a toxic place, that will be uncovered and you will be steered to educational courses and tutorials to learn more about your theme songs, what they’re saying about you, what can you think or do differently? What music choices might be offered to you differently than what you think you want on the playlist?

On Your Mind | Judith Pinkerton | Music Therapy

Music Therapy: You can start realizing how music affects you when you track your listening regimen and do assessments before and after. Now, if you’re in a chronic and subtle comfort zone where music is keeping you in a toxic place, that will be uncovered by The Music Medicine Pill.

 

Let me give you an example. If you are in an angry, chronic, unsettled comfort zone, you may be listening to music that is keeping you stuck there. Any genre that I suggest here is one that I love and has an appropriate place in this specialized way of looking at how to apply music as medicine. In this case, I am not knocking metal music or heavy metal. I love it. However, you may find somebody who is stuck in only listening to heavy metal.

In one of my first books that came out in the ‘90s, there was one particular client talking about how he loved metal and how he would modulate when and listen to metal 24/7. When he wanted to go to sleep, he’d turn it down. When he wanted to wake up, he’d turn it up. He would modulate volume control but stay within the genre itself. There’s a variety of different mood possibilities within that genre. I’m not saying that heavy metal is only for anger, but it works well for that. There are other possibilities, but it mainly belongs in the unsettled mood category.

If somebody chooses to listen to that, they’re not going to know that they’re possibly angry. They’re going to think they’re energized all the time. They’re going to learn about that through the app. What is a chronic and settled comfort zone? What is a chronic, soothed comfort zone? What is a chronically energized comfort zone? Any of those can be chronic and problematic. They start learning more about what that is and how to be more aware of their emotions and interpret those emotions appropriately so that they’re successful in creating a musical medicine pill that will work in helping them with identified problems.

It sounds like there’s also an educational component in which you help people understand more about their internal and emotional experience.

Yes, and based upon all my experiences with clients, they’ve taught me so much about not only how it works well, but how it doesn’t work well. It’s good to know both parts, what to steer away from and what to go to.

Is there an assessment component that you’re planning for the app? I take it this app is being developed currently?

Yes, it is, as a matter of fact. We’re targeting crossed fingers that it is going into its beta test state.

My question was, is there an assessment component in the app as well?

Yes. You’re assessing mood balance and it self-reports. What’s interesting about the self-report is that you may unknowingly saying that you’re not anxious, but that you’re excited all the time but then your self-reports about those numbers on the Likert scale may flip. It’s an interesting qualitative study to look at what you are addressing and how is that reflected in the quantitative approach versus the qualitative approach. It’s an interesting assessment approach.

Step us through, if you would, or give us an overview in as much detail as you want about this article you sent me about someone you worked with who had post-traumatic stress disorder and the music medicine prescription.

We call her Tessa in the article published in the Music and Medicine Peer Reviewed Journal. This was back in 2015. One of my practitioners, a music therapist, did this study as a result the requirements of her practitioner training with me. The interesting playlist had a total of 14 different songs, 13 of which followed the USE mood sequence formula.

That’s the unsettled, soothed, and energized formula.

It started off with an anger piece, actually, two anger pieces that she connected to in the published study. It was Let’s Start a War by The Exploited and Struggle Within by Metallica. She immediately segued into a depressing piece called Retreat and Descent by Black Aria, which then evolved quickly into a song by Stained called The Hidden Song.

This was a song that was introduced to me by one of my teen girls at a girl’s group home under Catholic Charities of Southern Nevada a few decades ago. I didn’t know Hidden Song existed because the last track of that particular CD at the time, it was fifteen minutes into the last track. There was like silence, and then all of a sudden, this hidden song pops up. It’s interesting how its relationship, of course, to sadness or possible depression. Sometimes sadness and depression are hard to identify in music.

It’s dependent on the listener as to whether a particular piece might be more sad or more depressing, depending on their personal experience. In her case, this Hidden Song by Stained was sad. Immediately going into a gentleman’s name, an artist named Olafur Arnalds did a song called Raein. That was very calming for her and had appropriate music elements that segued easily from Stained song.

Sometimes, sadness and depression are hard to identify in music. It's dependent on the listener as to whether a particular piece might be sad or more depressing. Click To Tweet

When she listened to her playlist, it was nonstop. There are no breaks in between. Going into a piece called the Cello Song brought up Dreaminess for her by David Arkenstone, and then it segued into a Desert Song that was actually on a CD called Spirit that had a lot of different nature sounds. Desert Song worked the best for her, which made her feel very content. It evolved into a peaceful piece that she loved by Pachelbel. Many people are aware of it called Canon in D.

We shifted into more energizing emotions, starting off with tearfulness, which she identified with this song by Louis Armstrong called What A Wonderful World. That evolved then into a country song by Rascal Flatts named Stand. That brought optimism up for her. Going into joyful feelings with Orinoco Flow by Enya and then an interesting energizing song by African Rhythm Travelers that brought up playfulness for her called Khululuma.

Her last piece was interesting title called Crazy Benny by a duo called Safri Duo. I think they’re Norwegian. That built that energy that she desired. In a week, her social phobia of not wanting to go out and interact with anybody melted. She found herself going to a job fair after a week of daily listening to this playlist. She even was interviewed by a TV camera newsman about her experience at this job fair. It was interesting for her to talk about what that was like for her. You can read this study about her whole experience with this music medicine pill.

What is the title of the study?

The study is called The Development of a Music Therapy Protocol: A Music4Life Case Report of a Veteran with PTSD.

One of the things that impressed me in reviewing that article is the changes in the assessment devices that you give. You give them an assessment, and this is a self-report assessment at the beginning, and then some follow-ups. There were some dramatic changes in her own internal experience of anxiety, tension, anger, sadness, etc.

These are the same assessments that will be loaded onto the app.

Are you going to get that continuity from your past work into the app?

Yes.

This is exciting. Most of us in the field have known about various powerful benefits of music with people with memory issues and how sometimes people who’ve had a stroke can come back in different ways. You add the music to the occupational therapy, etc. This is a whole new level for me to hear about using music in this prescribed way that moves people through the sequence of moods, helps them acknowledge the mood they’re in, and then move and get this experience of moving more smoothly from one mood to another.

It’s an interesting training you go through when listening to it nonstop daily for two weeks. We found that the two-week marker is successful, usually between as short as 2 days up to 7. Ten days is long. You start experiencing all this unsettledness that’s been triggered and you actually feel worse because you’re being overwhelmed with the unsettledness that is being triggered to be released. Usually

At some point, more likely between days 3 and 5, you may start being worse in relationships. People are like, “What’s wrong with you? You’re biting my head off.” It’s all that unsettledness coming out and then it subsides. Usually, in the middle of the listening regimen, the music therapist wants to see a personal client going through this process to make sure that they are feeling good. To give encouragement that they’re on the right track. Keep listening to it. You’re about to make a breakthrough. It’s interesting. Everybody’s breakthrough is different. This is truly a personalized journey that they go on that we like to label as the MEE journey where it’s Music Exercising Emotions, and it is truly a personalized journey.

Everybody's breakthrough is different. It's a personalized journey. Click To Tweet

Where can people find out more about this? I know you have some things going on. I’ve been sampling where you get a text each day with an inspirational quote and then a sample of music that would go with that quote, and that’s an option. Tell us a little bit about what’s available at Music4Life.

We have a Power Up Your Life collection with eBooks, the Power Up 365 that you got, a daily text program where 365 different music medicine selections I have made personally are paired with a beautiful image that relates to the quote that’s empowering. It’s possible that you can use it for personal use or in client sessions where you can share the image, get their response to the quote, and then listen to the music to see how they identify and relate it to the music. It becomes an interesting session material for the therapist and an empowerment tool for self-care for anybody.

That’s the image, the quote, and the music. There’s also something you’ve mentioned. Ebooks. There’s a bigger range of things.

We are also going to be gifting your readers with a Sleep Performance Pack. The Sleep Performance Pack is how to reduce sleep problems. It’s possible that my own solo violin music that has been used in medical situations can enhance relaxation and promote sleep. We are going to be gifting your readers with that. I’ll be sending the code to you so that you can share it with readers to download it from our website for everything that we offer are trainings. There are certification trainings, a music medicine club with continuing education content that I’m constantly publishing with podcasts, blog posts, etc. All of our testimonials. There’s a lot of information. The URL is TheMusic4Life.com. Everything is there. It’ll steer you to other sites that we have integrated to help educate you about what to do and how to help others.

We have several certification levels now, too, for non-music therapists. Clinicians such as yourself can enroll in the music medicine clinical specialist training and music therapists at the practitioner level. We’ve even formed a partnership with NAMI, a Southern Nevada chapter, with training peer support specialists that was funded through the Care Coalition of Nevada through federal funds actually to take this music medicine specialist training to facilitate the six habits of music medicine curriculum at NAMI’s office, which is a six-week series. We’re looking at everything that we can create to make it easier for people to understand how music can steer them on the right path or maybe still on the unsettled path. It’s about do-it-yourself. We’re training others to train others.

On Your Mind | Judith Pinkerton | Music Therapy

Music Therapy: We look at everything to create and make it easier for people to understand how music can steer them on the right or unsettled path. It’s about doing it yourself.

 

If you get centered here for a minute and take a breath, let me ask, is there an aspect of your work that you want to go back and highlight that we’ve already talked about or something we haven’t even mentioned yet that I haven’t even asked you about that you want to put in here before we wrap up?

I had a personal experience I’ll never forget. August 16th is the date when my training as a music therapist kicked in and helped me to literally save my father from death. Reflecting on that experience makes me so deeply grateful for the training I’ve had as a music therapist. For those of you that don’t know, you have to at least do a four-year degree, six-month internship, pass the national exam, and then in eighteen different states you have to get a license to practice music therapy.

The training involved in being able to do music therapy, particularly in a medical setting, requires that you go in and you immediately do an assessment. It’s not written, but you’re assessing the room, you’re assessing the client or the patient. You’re reflecting on what the nursing staff might have told you before entering the room.

All of your wherewithal is crucial to understand what might be best to apply and do with that particular patient. Music therapists that work in a medical setting have to be so spontaneous and so well-informed and with diverse talent to be able to address almost any situation anywhere in the hospital. I found myself in an ICU unit in less than 24 hours with my father and he was struggling with breathing. I happened to have my violin because I had done the funeral memorial service for my mother’s sister two days before. I had my violin, the speaker, music, all of that with me because I carry my music therapy tools wherever I go. I whipped out the violin and because my father was my violin teacher, my orchestra conductor, everything, I was pretty aware of what he liked.

I started improvising on a couple of the songs, mitigating the music elements so that I was addressing his struggling with breathing. I was successful in getting him to relax. I noticed that he wasn’t struggling. As soon as I played the last note, one of the medical team members was there and said, “We need to gather around his bed right now because he is about ready to take his last breath.” I was like stunned. I was so in the moment with him that it didn’t occur to me that soothing music maybe wasn’t the best thing for him because he had become so relaxed that he no longer was struggling with enormous amount of mucus that was filling his lungs and his air pathways where he couldn’t breathe no matter the amount of oxygen they were trying to push into a system. He had already become cyanotic, severe hypoxia and his tongue was black-purple.

I remember this voice erupted inside of me, saying to him, I was yelling at him in this ICU unit, “No more soothing music for you. We got to do some energizing stuff right now.” I whipped out everything that I needed. I pushed play on my iPhone, my portable command center where I had the piece on it and started playing the Bach Double Violin Concerto First Movement. I’m watching him and he’s still unresponsive. I got done with the first movement, second movement was soothing, so I skipped it, went into the third movement, which was more robust and was challenging to get through. I’m watching his monitors, him everything. By the time we reached the piece’s end, he was conducting me.

Still unresponsive, but his hands were conducting me. I got to the last note and he wouldn’t stop. I was like, “Come on, you’re going to cut me off. Do I have to play this note?” I was joking with him because I couldn’t believe he had done that. The whole medical team had arrived by that time and their mouths were open. They were astonished at what they were watching. His skin was already pink, he was breathing, his vitals were coming into a more normal range and I was deeply moved.

The doctor reported to me in writing that is scientifically unexplainable what happened. The power of music. They might have made a different choice for somebody else, and he might not have lived. Music therapists have a special training that allows us to be present, mindful, aware, and know the deepest parts of music to positively affect emotions, behavior, and physiology.

On Your Mind | Judith Pinkerton | Music Therapy

Music Therapy: Music therapists have special training that allows us to be present, mindful, aware, and know the deepest parts of music to affect emotions, behavior, and physiology.

 

As with any other powerful tool, you want to make sure you’re using it to a good advantage because if it’s misused, you have a power going in a different direction. I greatly appreciate your willingness to share that story with us. It’s great to learn about this medical prescription for music. I’m already excited about it. I hope you’re on target for your release. If somebody wants to support that, are there links to that on your website?

Yeah, there is a page on the website or they can simply go to Key2MEE.com and learn more and get updates about where we’re at in the process.

Thank you so much for sharing this and I’m excited about the app and being able to use it for myself and others.

Yes. Thank you so much, Dr. Tim. You’ll be one of the first I let know when it is ready for beta testing.

I would appreciate that.

Thank you so much.

Thank you.

Judith Pinkerton’s passion for music therapy was ignited in Alaska in 1986 when her solo violin music replaced medication for her husband post-surgery in a hospital. As a Music Therapy Clinician and Internship Director, author, TEDx speaker, recording artist, online educator and published researcher, Judith has presented at many national conferences and is the first to receive state-issued music therapy licenses in the United States.

With over 30 years of experience helping individuals from womb to tomb, she has treated more than 11,000 patients in residential addiction treatment centers. She’s the innovator of the evidence-based practice of the Music 4 Life Music Medicine Protocol. She has authored music therapy-informed accredited eCourses, certification trainings and she recruits and trained specialists to support the Key 2 MEE’s approach in 2024. You can learn more at TheMusic4Life.com and at JudithPinkerton.com. Judith is also offering a free gift to readers of this show. If you go to TheMusic4Life.com/product/sleep-performance-pack-gift, use the password GIFT.

 

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About Judith Pinkerton

On Your Mind | Judith Pinkerton | Music TherapyJudith Pinkerton’s passion for music therapy was ignited in Alaska (1986) when her solo violin music replaced medication post-surgery in a hospital for her husband, and recently (2023) when she saved her father from death, an ICU patient whose healing was described by the medical team as “scientifically unexplainable.” As a music therapy clinician and internship director, author, TEDx speaker, recording artist, online educator, and published researcher, Judith has presented at many national conferences and is the first to receive state-issued music therapy licenses in the USA. With over thirty years’ experience helping individuals from womb to tomb, she has treated more than 11,000 patients in residential addiction treatment centers. Aflac and the Academy of Country Music produced a TV commercial (2018) featuring Judith as their first recipient of the Lifting Lives Honor. As the innovator of the Evidence-Based Practice of the Music4Life® Music Medicine Protocol, Judith has authored music therapy-informed accredited eCourses, certification trainings, a contemporary continuing education platform, the NAMI-SN “6 Habits of Music Medicine” curriculum, and DIY products to support mental health. Recently receiving the patent for the Key2MEE.com Music APP, Judith recruits and trains specialists to support Key2MEE’s launch in 2024. Learn more at THEMusic4Life.com and judithpinkerton.com.

 

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