Maya's Music Therapy Fund

Rex Grantee Story: Maya’s Music Therapy


We recently heard from Stephen Pollack, founder of Maya’s Music Therapy Fund, about the ways in which Rex’s 2012 grant is benefiting people who really need it.

Thank you again for the Rex Foundation’s generous grant of $3,000 to our programs.The grant money was used to establish a second monthly session of group music therapy at the Ed Roberts Campus in Berkeley, as well as assist in purchasing an iPad and various apps to enhance the music therapy options available to our clients.  The addition of a second monthly session and updated technology has allowed us to reach the disability community more effectively and to provide additional service to those who benefit from it the most.

Our music therapist uses the iPad to play prerecorded music. She continually downloads new songs that clients are asking for. The iPad is also used for communication purposes, through the app iComm. It allows non-verbal people who do have some use of their hands to make choices regarding what song they want to sing or which music they want to hear. There are also several other music apps on the iPad, allowing people who have very limited mobility and strength to play along with the music using the sounds of a harp, xylophone, piano, or many other instruments that the various iPad apps provide.  All of this equipment and software allows for greater flexibility and customization of the music therapy process.

Check out some photos of Maya’s Music Therapy in action:


As we’ve heard in the past from Mickey Hart, among others, music is a powerful force for healing and connection, and Maya’s Music Therapy takes that power to people who can’t communicate verbally. The group first came to our attention thanks to Board Member Rosalie Howarth, who recalls:

I first met Stephen Pollack at a dinner party with others in the music business, where the talk turned to how technology has changed the music industry, both for consumers and for musicians, who can now record and distribute music in in their living room, and collaborate over thousands of miles by trading tracks via email.

Stephen pointed out that technology has also changed the lives of non-verbal people, such as those with autism, Down Syndrome, cerebral palsy, or brain injury, by giving them a simple tool–the iPad–with which to express themselves through music. As a member of the Board of Directors of Maya’s Music Therapy Fund, named for his late stepsister, he was able to share stories about formerly isolated, even difficult kids and adults with disabilities, who blossomed and found focus and passion thru the ease of the large buttons and programmability of the iPad. This struck me as one of the easiest, most straightforward ways the Rex could support making a difference by marrying music with technology.