Karen received her bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy from University of Wisconsin – Eau Claire where she worked with a variety of populations including memory care, children/adults with autism, children with ADD, corrections in juvenile detention center, and adults in jail setting. She completed her internship training at Good Samaritan Society University Specialty Center in Minneapolis, MN. She went on to work at Golden Living Center in St. Louis Park on a 45 bed Alzheimer’s/memory care unit. She completed her Neurologic Music Therapy training in Fort Collins, CO in 2012, which she was able to utilize in exercise and sensory groups with piano, guitar, and accordion with memory care residents. Karen received regular annual training in dementia and in 2014 completed coursework to become a Certified Dementia Practitioner. In addition, she also learned techniques for Ageless Grace exercise techniques. She has since worked at different care centers, focusing on memory care and long-term geriatric care.
In 2016 she co-wrote a state grant for funds to purchase ipods and music as a supplemental resource through the Music and Memory project and was able to educate families, staff, and residents on the importance of music and its effect on the brain. She also helped start resident choirs and a jug band at different care centers. Karen plays a variety of instruments in clinical settings to help her patients, which usually includes guitar, accordion, and drums, as they are the most portable. She also loves to play piano, which she learned to play at the young age of 5.
Karen has supervised both music therapy students as well as nursing students as part of her career, educating all under her supervision on the importance of music therapy in clinical settings. She continues to be an advocate for adults with memory loss and Alzheimer’s, attending the yearly Alzheiemer’s walk in Minneapolis, fundraising for the Alzheimer’s Association, and attending the Alzheimer’s Gala.
Karen continues to be amazed at the quick bond that can form when utilizing music, especially with nonverbal individuals. She can’t wait to see what the future holds for Music Therapy.