• Cassie Smith, MT-BC

Music Is My Medicine

Updated: Nov 5, 2019

Over the last two years, Liz has received individual music therapy sessions. She is an incredible human being, who always finds the strength to tackle whatever may be thrown at her. One of her biggest passions in life is advocating for others. She loves being able to tell her story and teach the community that even though she has physical limitations, she doesn't let that stop her from living her best life.


During her sessions, Liz is able to express her emotions through song re-creation, as well as provide a safe and trusting environment to address her emotions. Using a 6 point scale, Liz self-rates her mood at the beginning and end of her session. Due to Liz's diagnoses, which she will explain further below, she experiences a significant amount of pain. Just like her mood, she self-rates her pain using a 10 a point scale. She consistently sees improved mood and lowered pain at the end of each session. Liz has also strengthened her breath support through singing her song re-creations. She has stated that, people are now able to understand her while speaking on the phone. As you continue reading, you will find out why Liz describes music as her medicine!


So without further ado, I introduce to you..........Liz Rogers!

This is a picture of Liz performing at the 2019 Llama Jam.

What would you like to share about yourself?

I am a 38 year old college student who wants to advocate for other individuals with special needs by showing them that your physical disability does not stop you from achieving your personal goals. I was born with Cerebral Palsy and I was one of the first students in my generation to be main streamed into the school system. When I was 28 years old, I experienced a traumatic burn injury, which I was then diagnosed with Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy (RDS). RDS is now called Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome.




This is a lyric re-write of what happened to me when I got hurt in 2009. We wrote this on the 10th anniversary of the accident. It helped me express any leftover emotional issues I had.



This is a lyric mash-up of Let Her Fly and The Old Rugged Cross. We changed the lyric “angel” to “butterfly” because butterflies have a significant meaning to my great-grandma and I. Any time I have experienced anything difficult, I see butterflies, which help me get through the hardships. I have butterfly décor all over my bedroom.



What are some of the challenges being an individual with special needs?

After my burn injury, I was receiving physical therapy at home. I felt the PT was more interested in exploring my skin sensitivity than actually addressing my goals. I also felt she tried to fit me into the standardized goals instead of adapting my therapy plan to fit my individual needs.


This is a picture of Liz performing at Festival in the Park in 2015

How did you learn about Music Therapy?

I first heard about music therapy at Easter Seals camp when Noel came to camp. I remember she did a song writing experience with our group. It was Waiting on the World to Change by John Mayor. A couple years later my occupational therapist referred me to Anderson Music Therapy Services for individual sessions.


What are some successes you have experienced while participating in music therapy?

I’ve been able to help and advocate for other people so they can accomplish their goals. I’ve learned how to use music instead of medicine. When I’m experiencing high pain, I listen to my music and it takes my pain away. Over the last two months, I have shown an average of a two point decrease in my self-rated pain. Music has also helped me with my depression and PTSD. It gives me a positive coping skill and I usually like to sing empowering songs. During the same two months, I have shown at least a one point increase in my self-rated mood. The effects of my music therapy sessions last longer than most of the medicines I have tried. Singing during my sessions has strengthened my muscles to allow my speech to become more clear and understandable. People are able to understand me better when I talk on the phone. I have improved my fine motors by playing the piano. Because I have strengthened those skills I am able to use my computer more independently.


What is one of your favorite parts about advocating for others?

During summer camp in 2017, I was able to help another camper conquer her fear of riding a horse by using the skills I have learned in my music therapy sessions. I carried my personal tablet to play music and was able to connect with her based on our mutual interests in music .By the end of the week; she had grown to smile and wave at other counselors and campers. Because I was advocating about the use of music, I was given the award “The Music Whisperer”.




Thank you Liz for sharing your story with us!



If you have any questions or have a story you would like to share, we would love to hear from you!



If you're interested in finding out if music therapy is a good fit for you, schedule a free consultation to chat.







All the best!

Cassie and Liz

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Roanoke, Virginia 

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