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“Music Therapy is an established healthcare profession that uses music to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals of all ages. Music therapy improves the quality of life for persons who are well and meets the needs of children and adults with disabilities or illnesses. Music therapy interventions can be designed to promote wellness, manage stress, alleviate pain, express feelings, enhance memory, improve communication, and promote physical rehabilitation.” (American Music Therapy website)

Music can be used as a therapeutic tool to restore, improve, and maintain mental, social, physical, and emotional well-being.  The music therapy program at the Music Institute at HCC is unique in the area and offers private music therapy sessions. 

Sessions are designed and conducted by a board certified music therapist for children and adults with disabilities such as autism, developmental delays, AD-HD, physical impairments, emotional, and behavioral difficulties. 

Our music therapists are also experienced special education teachers.  Beginning piano lessons with a music therapist can often be the first step a child needs to successfully start a lifetime of musical learning. Private beginning piano lessons are available. 

Through a cooperative program with Howard County Public Schools, high school music therapy internships and work-study programs are also available.

Please contact the TMI office for more information about our music therapy program. For more information about music therapy, visit the official website of the American Music Therapy Association at

Additionally, the Howard Community College Music Department is holds an Articulation Agreement with Immaculata University in Pennsylvania for music students who are interested in pursuing a bachelor's degree in music therapy. Music students who complete HCC's Associate of Arts degree in Music and the Music Therapy Letter of Recognition can now transfer all earned credits and be admitted to Immaculata University as a junior. Currently, there are no four-year colleges in the state of Maryland that offer a bachelor's degree in music therapy. This agreement provides a much-needed option for Maryland students who are interested in pursuing a career in music therapy. For more dertails and information about the articulation agreement or music therapy courses at HCC, please contact music therapy coordinator Rita Mayhew.

Kerry Cornelius, MT-BC

Kerry is a board certified music therapist currently providing in-home and facility-based music therapy services throughout central Maryland with Shiloh Center Music Therapy Services, LLC. She holds a graduate-level music therapy equivalency certificate from Shenandoah University (2014) as well as a BM in Voice Performance from Towson University (2012). Kerry completed her music therapy internship at the Kennedy Krieger School’s LEAP Program in Baltimore, MD, where she had the opportunity to provide programmatic and IEP-based music therapy services for individuals ages 6-21 with autism spectrum disorders. She has worked with a range of populations including: autism spectrum disorders, sensory processing disorders, developmental disabilities, older adults with dementia, well elders, victims of domestic violence and individuals struggling with substance abuse. Kerry also loves to share original music therapy activity ideas, insights and songs on her blog, Songs for Success (!

Gregory Lazzaro, MM, MT-BC

Gregory Lazzaro, MM, MT-BC

Greg earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Voice in 2001 from the University of Maryland Baltimore County and his Master of Music Degree in 2004 from the Boston Conservatory. Greg has been teaching voice at Make ‘N’ Music in Frederick, MD since August 2011. He earned his Bachelor's Equivalency in Music Therapy from Shenandoah University in 2013. He is a Board-Certified Music Therapist. Greg has used music therapy to work with people with mental illness, intellectual disabilities, developmental disabilities, autism, dementia, and gait issues.

Rita Mayhew, MMT, MT-BC, Coordinator of Music Therapy

Upon graduating from Notre Dame College with a Bachelor of Arts degree, Rita Mayhew’s career began as an elementary vocal music teacher, followed by a term as Assistant to the Director of the Preparatory Department of the Cleveland Institute of Music.  Mrs. Mayhew earned both a Bachelor and a Masters degree in Music Therapy from Loyola University, New Orleans with a music therapy internship at Southeast Louisiana State Hospital in Mandeville, LA.  While working with children with severe multiple impairments, she completed certification in special education.  Mrs. Mayhew is a board-certified music therapist and educator, having a broad experience with individuals on the autism spectrum, those with Alzheimer’s, and other intellectual disabilities. 

Performing experiences with the Cleveland Orchestra Chorus and Chamber Choir include concerts with George Szell, Robert Shaw, James Levine, Vladimir Ashkenazy, and several operas with the Lake Erie Opera Theater and Tulane Summer Lyric Theater.  As a student and military spouse, Mrs. Mayhew sang with orchestra choruses in New Orleans, LA; Columbus, OH; Columbia, SC; and San Antonio, TX; and with the San Antonio Mastersingers, sang with Perry Como on his last Christmas special.

At HCC, Mrs. Mayhew designed and developed the music therapy curriculum and program adding courses, guest lecturers and observation/shadowing and assisting opportunities for the students in addition to starting and directing the HCC-Bain Center Senior Choir.   As Coordinator for the first six years of The Music Institute (formerly the Musical Arts Center) at Howard Community College, Mrs. Mayhew was instrumental in its development and success while beginning and conducting music therapy sessions, both individual and group, through the MAC/TMI.

In May of 2010, Mrs. Mayhew was presented the “Excellence in Professional Service Award” from the ARC of Howard County.

Rita Mayhew, Music Therapy