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Interview With Dr. Michelle Hintz

A Look into Music Therapy.








Interview with Dr. Michelle Hintz of
Cadenza Center for Psychotherapy and the Arts of Hollywood, FL

By Chris Wilson

Music is a tool used by most of us on a daily basis. It can help with our mood, or give us that boost we need to get things done or walk that extra mile. Music is one of the most powerful resources we have, it has the power to bring us back in time or help us envision our future. There is no doubt that music is powerful, so it only makes sense the music therapy is powerful as well.

We had the pleasure of meeting with Dr. Michelle Hintz, of the South Florida based Cadenza Center for Psychotherapy and the Arts. Not only did we have the amazing opportunity to tour the facility and meet some of the teachers and students, but we had a chance to really learn about Dr. Hintz’s background and why Cadenza Center is one of the best centers around.

Chris: Dr. Hintz, thank you again for meeting with me and letting me peak into your world and your work. Cadenza Center for Psychotherapy and the Arts, in Hollywood, FL is an amazing center and provider of music therapy sessions, consultations, evaluations, and workshops. We Rock for Autism is extremely excited about our intent to help provide assistance to some local families so that their children will soon be able to benefit from your services and the many wonders of music therapy. Also, thank you for taking the time to answer these questions to help enlighten and inform our readers of your background and the importance of music and art therapy.

What is your background? And why did you choose the path of music therapy?

Dr. Hintz: Initially, I wanted to pursue a degree in medicine and was enrolled in a pre-med program. Yet, I always intended on keeping my hand in music somehow. That’s why I auditioned for the University of WI-Milwaukee’s orchestra. As a violinist, overheard music therapy students talking about their clinical experiences and was immediately intrigued. I spoke to them after every rehearsal for the better part of a semester before speaking to the program’s professor. I switched my major in the next term and the rest is history. I found the training I got in music therapy to be much more fulfilling than the book-work I was doing in pre-med.I loved the field so much that I ultimately bot both a Bachelors and Masters degree in music therapy.

Please tell us about Cadenza Center, and what it means to you?

Dr. Hintz: I have been a board-certified music therapist since 1990 and have always wanted to incorporate music into my work as a therapist. I knew how to use music in treating clients of all ages, but found it difficult for clients to access my services because it isn’t a regularly covered service by insurance. So after pursuing my doctorate in clinical psychology, I realized my dream to create a unique center that encompasses traditional therapies with the creative arts. The Cadenza Center fills a void in our community in serving adults, adolescents and children, is a comprehensive center with a multifaceted team of professionals.I chose the name “Cadenza” based upon its definition as elaborate flourish or showy solo passage that musicians play to share their talents and skills. I wanted to create a place for everyone to have their moment to shine, to find their way of sharing their talents, and to give self-expression to those who might otherwise not have that option. Cadenza Center’s objective is to help patients acquire improved behavioral and emotional functioning and meet personal goals, provides dynamic and integrative mental health services in South Broward.

How would you best describe music therapy, as provided to children with autism?

Dr. Hintz: Music therapists use a variety of active music interventions to provide opportunities to integrate emotional, physical, and cognitive experiences. For children who have autism and related conditions, music therapy often treats four main qualitative impairments: behavior, communication and symbolic play, socialization, and sensory issues. Goal-oriented music experiences may involve activities such as: singing, dancing, imitation and action songs, musical games, song writing, etc. Music therapy is, most importantly, an active process that engages the client and therapist in a musical experience that only music knows where it will go. As a music therapist, music is my co-therapist – and, often a better one than I.

What attributes do you feel are most important when deciding to bring in a music therapist?

Dr. Hintz: Music therapy can be a rich and rewarding part to a comprehensive treatment program. In fact, many parents seeking music therapy have been receiving other therapies for many years yet the progress has stalled for some reason. For some, meeting clinical goals can be slow and difficult to generalize. However, music therapy uses music experiences to address non-musical goals and objectives mirror that those of speech, occupational, and behavior therapists; still, the approach is vastly different.In addition to the socio-emotional and educational benefits, individuals with autism often make gains in generalization of previously learned skills, sensory integration and motor planning, self-regulation and executive functioning, and language and communication skills. Individuals are typically seen weekly either in an individual or group setting.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Dr. Hintz: I love working with families and seeing them find expression. I love the creative process and the unfolding of each client’s musical story. We create musical playlists, favorite activities, and our special improvisations that tie us together in a very special way.

What type of music do you listen to? Give us your top three genres…

Dr. Hintz: It is hard to pick. I love listening to Blues, Jazz, and alternative music. I also love singer-songwriters. And, my love of classical music always remains from my violin training.

Who are your top 5 favorite bands/ musicians of all time?

Dr. Hintz: Being raised in the 80’s, I’m partial to that pop genre. Yet, lately I’m more interested in the obscure and alternative music of the rising stars. I’m also listening to Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, One Republic, John Mayer, and Joe Bonamassa.

What initial signs could a child display that may be signs of them doing well with music therapy?

Dr. Hintz:
An individual, especially those affected with autism may benefit from music therapy if he/she:
• Easily learns words to songs, but has deficits in verbal communication,
• Is more animated and engaged when involved in music activities,
• Spends time humming, singing, or vocalizing to himself,
• Has limited joint attention skills and/or poor imitation,
• Has limited meaningful interaction with others

In your opinion, what is the best age for a child to begin music therapy?

Dr. Hintz: There is no perfect age to begin music therapy. However, I find that younger children (those under 7) are much more receptive to the joys music brings. They are more open to expressing the emotions they feel and are more motivated to move, dance, and sing as the music moves them. However, teens also enjoy music therapy sessions, but often for the more insightful and abstract emotional experience.

What is your favorite quote?

Dr. Hintz: “We are the makers of music and the dreamers of dreams” – Willy Wonka

And, is there anything you would like to let our readers know about you, Cadenza Center, music therapy, or any other general topics?

Dr. Hintz: Since we began this journey in 2000, the Cadenza Center has evolved and grown up so to speak. We are still expanding and improving our services to meet the needs of a very diverse population. We are hoping to continue to collaborate with others in the community to meet the needs of those who need the most support in finding their creative voice and getting their moment to shine. I can’t wait to see what we can do.
Cadenza Center for Psychotherapy and the Arts provides services in South Florida. Services can be provided at their conveniently located office in Hollywood, Florida or therapy and rehabilitation centers, hospitals and clinics, client’s home or schools.

For more information, please visit www.cadenzacenter.com
Or call 954-925-3191