Music Therapy Comes to the Cat

Throughout the years, the Purple Cat has continuously developed a vast array of occupational, social and recreational opportunities and activities for our clients. Each of our program sites are now geared towards satisfying more specific interests and desires, which has allowed for more options to not only those attending our day program, but also to the rest of the community. For instance, when we at the Purple Cat think of Pearl Street, we think of music! Whether it’s a game of Name That Tune, a showing of Purple Cat Idol, or the always­-live Golden String Radio studio, you’ll leave Pearl Street with a song in your head.

In that same interest, Pearl Street has become the site for a new way to bring the love of music to all the folks who attend: the Purple Cat Music Class! Located in the newly constructed room on the upper level of the site, our new music class is full of live instruments, recording equipment for original songs, and a new karaoke setup. While the room is still undergoing it’s final touches, it is here that two of our newest instructors, Jason Murphy and
Katie O’Neill, conduct and lead a live band of Purple Catters in creating their very own catchy tunes, as well as beloved rock classics!

Jason and Katie are both skilled musicians of different backgrounds who use their combined talents to bring this class to life. Jason comes to us from our own Autism Spectrum Division. He is a multi-­instrumentalist, singer­songwriter, audio engineer, record producer and turn tableist who has been working professionally in the music industry for 19 years. He has toured globally with several acts and spent 2 years on Ozzfest tour. A music lover since childhood he has been quoted saying “…music is a universal language,” he says. “Music is empowering and unifying”…”It’s theraputic to everyone”.

Katie is classically ­trained on the violin, graduating from Baldwin ­Wallace Conservatory. She has experience in several orchestras, including the Youngstown Symphony Orchestra, the Greenville Symphony, the Warren Philharmonic, the South Florida Symphony Orchestra, and the Opera Western Reserve. She practiced music therapy while working at the Rich Center for Autism, and plans to introduce her methods in this class. “My ultimate hope is for every Purple Cat client to obtain an instrument and experience the many benefits of music that myself, Jason, ISLE, Purple Cat, and our many donators will provide,” she says of the class. “They will help make music, and are the front runners of this music program’s inception.”

With such fantastic feedback almost immediately upon incorporating the music class into our daily routine, we have since received numerous donations to enhance the program. Tina and Ricki White, of the Stir it Up self­ advocacy program have donated a a variety of musical instruments including drums, rhythm sticks, egg shakers and tambourines, as well as a fabulous reupholstered chair from their work with up­cycling. Due to the obvious therapeutic effects that the music involvement has had on his daughter Jami, Lee Crook has purchased and donated all the equipment necessary for a recording studio! Jason himself also donated two guitars and two amplifiers to accompany our new musicians on their journey!

We are looking forward to the completion of the new music room, but more so to what the energy and excitement of these aspiring musicians will collectively create! Stay tuned… and the next time you swing by Pearl Street, come see the class for yourself! Follow the sound of music upstairs, right outside the Golden String Radio studio, and join in on the fun!

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