The Music Therapy program at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga has partnered with the Songbirds Foundation to teach undergraduate students how to play the guitar.

Starting this fall, music instructors from the foundation will offer beginner and intermediate guitar classes at the Songbirds Guitar Museum and on the UTC campus.

“The partnership with the Songbirds Foundation will be providing the UTC music therapy students crucial knowledge and skills related to guitar, that will boost the development of strong musicianship and the efficacy of their work as a future board-certified music therapist,” said Katherine Goforth Elverd, director of the UTC music therapy program.

Launched in fall 2019, the program has surpassed enrollment goals. Students can enroll as freshmen, transfer into the program or enter it after earning another bachelor’s degree in such disciplines as nursing, special education or music education, psychology or social work, among others.

Since 2016, Songbirds Foundation has been providing music therapy across Chattanooga at organizations like Siskin Children’s Institute and Children’s Hospital at Erlanger.

“We have seen the impact guitars and therapists can have on kids, and we are so excited to help UTC teach the next cadre of therapists who will make a musical difference across the region,” says Reed Caldwell, Songbirds Foundation executive director.

Over the past three years, the Songbirds Foundation has provided free music lessons, instruments and music therapy across the state of Tennessee, serving over 45 schools, 14 partner programs and 2,500 students. It has distributed more than 1,200 guitars throughout the state.


Media Relations Contacts: Email UTC Media Relations or call 423-425-5119.

Shawn Ryan is the executive staff writer in the Office of Communications and Marketing at UTC.

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