Berklee Hosts First Music Therapy "Hack"

By
Liz Lupton
March 10, 2014

For the first time in the history of music therapy, Berklee College of Music, with cohost hack/reduce, is creating a space for hackers to develop innovative tools to be used in real-world music therapy settings at the inaugural Berklee Music Therapy Hack from March 28-29, 2014 at hack/reduce in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Practicing music therapists and music therapy students will present hack participants—engineers, programmers, hackers, designers, and music therapists—with real-life music therapy conundrums to solve in 24 hours with prototypes using state-of-the-art technology and tools. Mentors from varied backgrounds in healthcare and technology will stand by to assist contestants.

After the 24-hour hack period, teams will present their projects to a panel of judges who will award a $5,000 cash prize for the best hack. Prototypes created during the event will likely undergo further development, and judges and Berklee faculty will have the opportunity to select hacks for possible pilot testing and further application in a variety of music therapy settings. Participants will also have the chance to meet venture capitalists who will view presentations, paving the way for new partnerships that may catalyze product development.

In 2009, the college’s Music Therapy Department began collaborating with Electronic Production and Design faculty and students to develop cutting-edge music therapy software and hardware that extend beyond those offered for general clinical use. Some of these technologies went on to be used at the college’s clinical partners, like Franciscan Hospital for Children’s Kennedy Day School. Berklee Music Therapy Hack is the college’s first external call to action to change the future of music therapy technology. Berklee has long been a thought leader in music therapy, innovation, and technology. Established in 1996, Berklee’s music therapy major prepares students for careers that apply music’s enormous force to improve the quality of life for individuals with special needs.

Liz Lupton is a publicist in the Office of Media Relations. She can be reached at llupton@berklee.edu.