From music therapy to developing an in-hospital live music program, alumni share how they use their Eastman training as performing artists to shape this emerging field. Led by Eastman Performing Arts Medicine program manager, Gaelen McCormick ('92E), Eastman alumni join this conversation about the many ways arts impact health and healthcare. Todd Frazier ('92E), Tracy Cowden ('00E DMA), and Missy Fogarty ('91E) talk about their particular roles in this emerging field.

Wellness at Eastman is a new monthly seminar series focused on a healthly and mindful approach to a career as a performing artist. Topics will cover physical and mental health, and how artists can create a sustainable path for their future. 

Join us online via zoom, see registration below.

Todd Frazier is a Composer and Director of Houston Methodist Hospital’s System Center for Performing Arts Medicine. Under his Directorship the Center has received the 2021 Texas Medal of the Arts Award from the Texas Cultural Trust, “spotlighting Texas leaders who fuel our state’s economy, improve our health and well-being, and enrich our cultural heritage”, the 2019 International Hamilton Award from the National Organization for Arts in Health, “celebrating the best use of the arts in employee engagement”, and the 2017 Business Council for the Arts Award from Americans for the Arts, “recognizing the best businesses partnering with the arts in America”.

Tracy Cowden is the Roland K. Blumberg Endowed Professor in Music and Chair of the Department of Music at UTSA. As a pianist, she shares her love of ensemble music through frequent performances with artists and colleagues across the country, and by mentoring student pianists in solo and collaborative performance. Dr. Cowden’s recent work includes performing in health care settings in person and virtually, and facilitating interdisciplinary research regarding music and health; she is a member of the Brain Health Consortium at UTSA. Also active as a clinician and lecturer, Dr. Cowden has presented master classes and workshops on topics related to collaborative music-making and creative programming across the country. Dr. Cowden is an active advocate for arts in health and is developing multiple interdisciplinary projects to study how adult music learning impacts health and wellbeing.

After 25 years of performing in a wide range of styles and diverse venues, vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Melissa Fogarty, (ESM, BM in Applied Voice, 1991), aka Missy, who is based in New York City, felt called to utilize her musical and interpersonal skills to clinically benefit others. After mentoring with renowned music psychotherapist Benedikte Scheiby at the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function , she obtained her masters degree in music therapy from New York University in 2017. She received extensive training in a city hospital working on an inpatient psychiatric unit, and treating patients struggling with addiction. The training she also received working with preschoolers with autism culminated in her first professional position at HeartShare, where she worked for three years. Currently, Missy is in private practice and continues to work with both children and adults on a variety of issues including anxiety, depression, grief, addiction and gender dysphoria. She uses a variety of methods with an emphasis on improvisational musicking. She also has training as Gestalt therapy and will become a certified Gestalt therapist in March, 2022. The relational, somatic and focus on the present moment nature of Gestalt therapy fits well with music therapy, and she currently works to combine both approaches in her work. As she works towards refining her client base, Missy is discovering that she particularly enjoys working with gender non-conforming and transgender persons, helping them on their journey towards self-actualization through music. Missy still actively performs with The Choir of Saint Luke in the Fields, Metropolitan Klezmer, Isle of Klezbos, and she co-leads her jazz quintet, The Highliners.

Gaelen McCormick is the Program Manager of the Eastman Performing Arts Medicine (EPAM) program, a part of the University of Rochester. Before joining EPAM in 2018, she was a musician with the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra from 1995-2017. Since losing her hearing in 2017, Gaelen has forged a new career path as a composer, arranger, and arts administrator. She is a board member of the National Organization for Arts in Health.

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