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APSU presents inaugural Spectrum Families of Clarksville Music Therapy Day

By: Zoe Farren October 5, 2023

Lauren Booke, assistant professor of music, and a child participating in her music therapy class.
Assistant professor Lauren Booke and a child participating in a music therapy class.
CLARKSVILLE, Tenn. – Austin Peay State University (APSU) 's Department of Music and Spectrum Families of Clarksville are teaming up to present Clarksville’s first Music Therapy Day. The event will take place from 2-4 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 5 in the Music/Mass Communication Building (MMC). 
“Music therapy is best described as the use of music to work towards therapeutic goals,” said Lauren Booke, MMT, MT-BC, APSU assistant professor of music and coordinator of music therapy. “[It’s about] making music accessible to everyone, regardless of physical, cognitive or emotional abilities.” 
Booke was introduced to music therapy at Belmont University, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in music. While studying there, she had the opportunity to connect with autistic individuals through music therapy. As a professor at Austin Peay, Booke is instrumental in bringing the first-time Spectrum Families of Clarksville Music Therapy Day as an opportunity for both the community and her students. 
The two-hour community event will welcome families with children or young adults who live with autism. Booke said she wants to raise awareness while creating a space that allows for safe and/or guided access to music. 
During the event, there will be a presentation that includes an overview of what music therapy is, how it benefits people who have autism, how the event will help promote the program and the benefits it brings to APSU’s campus and students. There will also be a series of guides directing people where to go upon their arrival at the MMC. 
After the informational session, families can visit two rooms - one featuring active music, and another with a calmer sensory-friendly environment. 
Following this event, Booke's goal is to provide weekly music therapy groups on campus starting in January 2024. These will serve as clinical practicum placements for the upperclassmen studying to become music therapists. Students in the University's music therapy program are required to complete two hours a week in each practicum placement, totaling 180 hours throughout their time in the program prior to graduation. 
Booke has previously established community partnerships with Tennova Medical Center, Brookdale Assisted Living and Burt Elementary School for student clinical placements. She hopes initiating weekly music therapy groups focused on serving the autism community will bring a new level of experience to Austin Peay’s campus and give its students the same opportunities she had in college. 
For more information on Spectrum Families of Clarksville Music Therapy Day, visit www.apsu.edu/music or contact Booke at 931-221-7103 or bookel@apsu.edu