Suzanne Hanser

  • Career Highlights
    • Fellow in clinical gerontology, postdoctoral training at Stanford University School of Medicine
    • Former professor and chair, University of the Pacific
    • Author of three books and numerous articles and book chapters on music therapy
    • Speaker at national and international conferences in psychiatry, psychology, education, music, gerontology, special education, and music therapy
    • Past president of the National Association for Music Therapy, and World Federation of Music Therapy
    • Past program director of the Alzheimers Association, Greater San Francisco Bay area
    • Research Associate and Music Therapist, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute
    • "One of Eleven Bostons Changing the World" according to the Boston Globe
    • Faculty on continuing medical education courses at Harvard Medical School
    • Visiting research scholar at Brandeis University, Women Studies Research Center
  • Awards
    • Received National Research Service Award from National Institute on Aging
  • Education
    • B.Mus., Florida State University
    • M.Mus., Florida State University
    • Ed.D., Teachers College
    • Ed.D., Columbia University

In Their Own Words

"These days there's a lot of attention to New Age philosophies and approaches to life, and drumming circles have become very popular. People get a lot out of that, and for some it's a spiritual experience. They think that's music therapy. But music therapy is scientific in addition to being an artistic endeavor. It's really a structured and formulaic approach to meeting individual needs. Music therapy is the systematic approach to using music to meet the specific need of a person or group. Music has to come so naturally to the therapist that he or she can be totally with the client and tuned in to what he or she needs at the moment, totally empathizing and understanding not only what the person's saying, but what they're feeling."

"I came here to establish a music therapy program that was state of the art. I knew that we could take advantage of research and impressive medical advances here in Boston, which has some of the finest hospitals. I also knew that Berklee itself was the finest institution training contemporary musicians."