Music Blog

The Official Blog of the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Matthew Welling to Perform in "Garden of Dreams" Talent Show

Monday, March 21, 2016


Music Therapy Institute student Matthew Welling has been asked to perform again at this year's Garden of Dreams Talent show at Radio City Musical Hall on Monday April 11th. He will be part of the Alumni Choir that will open the show and perform a song midway through the show, during which he will sing a solo.

This will be an amazing evening and an inspirational experience. There is no cost to attend and you don't even need a ticket, just show up! Congratulations Matthew, break a leg! Click HERE for more info.

Video from Make-A-Wish Hudson Valley

A Movie about How Music Therapy Changed a Young Man's Life

Thursday, December 03, 2015


Wed, Jan 6 come see Bass Clef Bliss: Terrence's Path, a movie telling the true story of a young man at the intersection of autism, hope, and music.

At an early age, Terrence Patridge’s speech disappears and his sound sensitivity triggers frequent tantrums. A music therapist introduces him to the trombone, which helps him adjust and relate to the world around him. Terrence, who has perfect pitch, now performs with symphony orchestras, theater productions, jazz ensembles, and his church choir.  

Executive Producer, Michael Berlin, will lead a post-­‐screening discussion. The screening will be held from 7:30-9:30pm at the JCC of Mid-Westchester, 999 Wilmot Road, Scarsdale, NY. Tickets are $10. Click for TICKETS and MORE INFO.

Matthew Welling will Perform During Halftime at NY Knicks game

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

  (above: Matthew and MTI music therapist James Maxson)

Following an amazing performance at the opening night of the Radio City Christmas Spectacular where he performed his original song "Sunshine," Matthew Welling, a student of our Music Therapy Institute, will be performing during halftime for the New York Knicks game at Madison Square Garden on Wednesday, December 2nd! If you would like to buy tickets visit Ticketmaster HERE or call the box office at 1-800-840-9227. 

A big thanks to our staff and faculty at the Music Therapy Institute for your dedication, the Garden of Dreams Foundation and Matthew Welling's parents. Congratulations Matthew, we are so proud of you! 

  (Pictured Left-to-Right: Daniel Chillemi from the Friends of Danielle visits with Matthew, and Dr. Tina Brescia, MT-BC, LCAT, director of Onsite Services at the Conservatory’s Music Therapy Institute)

Healing our Heroes Holiday Music Sharing Event

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Save the date for a special Holiday performance from the military veterans of our Healing our Heroes Music Therapy program. It will be held Saturday, Dec 5th from 3:30-4:30pm at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in room 200 (upstairs from lobby). Make the holidays memorable and support our veterans with this festive event!

Music Therapy Institute Recieves a Generous Gift from the ASCAP Foundation

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lisa Sandagata, the Music Therapy Institute’s Director of the Outreach will receive the ASCAP Foundation Award on December 9th in New York City’s Jazz at Lincoln Center. Our partnership with The ASCAP Foundation began 6 years ago. Since that time, they have provided a generous grant to support music therapy programs in Eastchester UFSD. This program enables over 100 students with special learning needs to receive quality music education annually.  Former ASCAP CEO John LoFrumento along with his wife Barbara provide funding for the program.  We are grateful to The ASCAP Foundation for their continued support and encouragement .  If you would like more information on The ASCAP Foundation please go to:

Music Conservatory Continues to Honor Our Heroes

Monday, November 09, 2015


Photo by Nina Kruse/Pinsky Photo

 82-year-old US Army veteran, Samuel Wansley performed at the Music Conservatory of Westchester’s recent Jazz Brunch at Larchmont Shore Club. Samuel, who served as a combat engineer in the Korean and Vietnam Wars, is one of the recipients of the Conservatory’s “Healing Our Heroes” Scholarships for veterans. The program was instituted in 2013, by Board Member Joel Breitkopf, to provide US veterans with a full scholarship for two years to receive music therapy at the not-for-profit White Plains music school.

Samuel also participates in a weekly group session where he plays music with other veterans in the program.  Since its inception, the “Healing Our Heroes” program has served 22 veterans in total providing 860 music therapy sessions to four women and 18 men who served in Korea, Vietnam, the Gulf War, Iraq or Afghanistan, receiving support for traumatic brain injuries, chronic pain from physical injuries and stress related anxiety.

The program currently has a waiting list of veterans who would like to participate in the program. Last summer, the program was honored by Deputy County Executive Kevin J. Plunkett and the Director of Veteran’s Services for Westchester County, Ron Tocci, who proclaimed July 11, 2015 as “Healing Our Heroes” Day. 

For more information on the program, please contact or (914) 761-3900. You may also visit

“Healing Our Heroes” Music Therapy for Veteran’s at the Music Conservatory of Westchester

Tuesday, July 28, 2015


On July 11, Deputy County Executive Kevin J. Plunket and Ron Tocci, Westchester’s Director of the Veterans Service Agency presented the Music Conservatory of Westchester with a Proclamation recognizing its “Healing Our Heroes” Music Therapy for Veteran’s program.  The proclamation preceded a Healing Our Heroes “music sharing” concert. (Pictured left to right: Dr. Tina Brescia, program coordinator, Kevin Plunket, Ron Tocci, Edgmont’s Jean Newton, Conservatory Executive Director and Scarsdale’s Joel  Brietkopf, Conservatory trustee and founder of the Healing Our Heroes program.)

Healing Our Heroes program was established in 2013 with the mission of providing music therapy and music instruction to local veterans facing physical and emotional combat related issues. This service is provided at no cost to the veterans for up to two years. To date we have provided individual music therapy to 20 local veterans who have received a combined total of 891 sessions.

Veteran’s Share their Music with Friends and Family at the Music Conservatory of Westchester Photo/Dallas Woolard

Friends of Danielle Organization Helps Student Receive Music Therapy

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

The Friends of Danielle, Ltd. is proud to partner with the Music Conservatory of Westchester for the third year in a row to support the Daneille Rinaldi Music Therapy Scholarship Fund in the amount of $2,500. The purpose of the program is to honor the spirit and legacy of Daneille Rinaldi by providing funds for individuals with disabilities and/or catastrophic illness, to receive the benefits of music therapy.  Danielle who valiantly fought Leukemia for seven years, surviving two bone marrow transplants died in 2008.  Matthew, who also survived two bone marrow transplants, is one of the recipients of this generous support.

(Pictured Left-to-Right) Daniel Chillemi from the Friends of Danielle visits with eight-year-old student Matthew Welling, and Dr. Tina Brescia, MT-BC, LCAT, director of Onsite Services at the Conservatory’s Music Therapy Institute.

Music Conservatory of Westchester Receives $6,075 Grant From The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation

Tuesday, July 22, 2014


WHITE PLAINS, NY – (July 22, 2014) – Music Conservatory of Westchester, a not-for-profit community music school in White Plains, is proud to announce that it has received a $6,075 Quality of Life grant from the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation. The award was one of 73 grants totaling over $537,550 awarded by the Reeve Foundation to nonprofit organizations nationwide that provide more opportunities, access, and daily quality of life for individuals living with paralysis, their families, and caregivers. Conceived by the late Dana Reeve, the program has awarded 2,380 grants totaling over $17.6 million since 1999.  

The Conservatory will use the grant for its Music Therapy Institute, which reaches nearly 2,000 children and adults with disabilities each year. Specifically, the school’s licensed therapists will utilize the power of music in working with children with disabilities, including those with paralysis-causing conditions, to help alleviate pain and stress, improve communication and language development, enhance social interaction and emotional expression, and accomplish growth, learning, healing and change.  

 “We are thrilled and honored to be the recipient of a grant from the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation,” said Jean Newton, Executive Director.  “Dana Reeve grew up in Westchester and had a close connection to our community.  In fact, she attended high school in Edgemont where I live and raised my family.  This grant will allow us to bring the joy of music to children with Cerebral Palsy and other neurological disabilities starting this fall.  Our programs will enrich their lives with music activities that are therapeutic, motivating and educational.”

Donna Valente, Quality of Life Grants Director, Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation, said, “Giving the gift of independence for individuals living with paralysis is why the Reeve Foundation Paralysis Resource Center was created. We are honored to provide these organizations with Quality of Life grants to help make this vision come true for the paralysis community nationwide.”

“The organizations receiving these grants will offer much needed services that will bolster their communities and strengthen the lives of those accessing these critical programs and resources."
The Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation Quality of Life Grants Program was created to address the myriad needs of children and adults with paralysis and other mobility impairments and their families. Grants support critical life-enhancing and life-changing initiatives that improve physical and emotional health and increase independence. Funded projects offer a diversity of services and approaches: improving access; providing education and job training; sponsoring organized sporting activities; and much more. Quality of Life grants are funded through a cooperative agreement with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (Award #U59DD000838).  

Stanley Jordan Performs with "Healing our Heroes" Veterans

Sunday, June 01, 2014

The healing power of music was on display at the Music Conservatory of Westchester in White Plains, NY on June 25 when four-time Grammy nominee Stanley Jordan performed for and jammed with military veterans currently enrolled in the not-for-profit community music school’s Healing Our Heroes program.  The program, which launched in September, provides music therapy and music instruction for veterans in the Tri-state area who have a variety of physical and psychological injuries sustained while on active duty. Scarsdale resident Joel Breitkopf, who was in attendance at the event, is a founding sponsor of the program and was recently elected Vice President of the Conservatory’s Board of Trustees.

Jordan, who for over a decade has studied and been involved with the practice of music therapy, joined the Conservatory’s Music Therapy Institute faculty by improvising music and playing songs selected by the veterans enrolled in the program. The jam session took place one day prior to a benefit performance Jordan gave at the Iridium Club in Manhattan alongside Charnett Moffett and Kenwood Dennard who make up the Stanley Jordan Trio. The June 25 event, which took place in the Conservatory’s recital hall, was a private event attended by the veterans and their families. To donate to Healing Our Heroes or for more information, contact us.