How sound can soothe
Hoboken School of Music uses a different kind of therapy
by Amanda Palasciano
Reporter staff writer
Jan 27, 2013 | 5159 views | 0 0 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
THE SOUND OF MUSIC – Hoboken School of Music in the Monroe Center is looking for anyone interested in participating in music therapy research clinical studies for ADD, ADHD and AUTISM.
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Music therapy is on the rise. If you have seen the independent film “The Music Never Stopped” about a boy who triumphs over brain tumor damage with the help of his music therapist, then you know what music therapy is. But for the rest of us, who may have no clue, there is a renowned school right around the corner healing people through music everyday.

“Lately music therapy is getting a lot of attention because of movies like [“The Music Never Stopped”],” said Director of the Hoboken School of Music Rebecca Zarate. “Also people hear stories like [Congresswoman] Gabrielle Giffords healing through music therapy.”

Giffords was shot in the head in Tucson in 2011. Music therapy has been named an essential part of her recovery.

“It is essentially the hybrid between psychology and music,” said Zarate.

Staff and curriculum

Zarate, born in England and a PHD, is part of the music therapy faculty at NYU as well as St. Mary’s of the Woods College in Indiana.

Zarate is trained on the classical piano, the baroque recorder, in jazz voice, on the electric base and beginner cello.

“Every music therapist has to be able to play at least three instruments,” Zarate said.

Today Zarate is part of the staff of the Hoboken School of Music in the Monroe Center, 720 Monroe St.

Founded in 2003 by Juilliard graduate Dr. YiLi Lin and taken over in 2010 by Zarate, the school was built from principles of high standards in specialized music education.

The entire curriculum was designed by evidence-based research. While the school teaches lessons for all instruments, along with music theory (reading and writing notes) and even training for “American Idol,” it’s most concentrated efforts are on music therapy.


“We especially want to work with teens with special needs, because teens love music.” – Rebecca Zarate


Along with Zarate, the rest of the HSM staff has a long list of impressive credentials as well, like Maya Benattar, the music therapy coordinator. Benattar was trained at NYU just like Zarate.

“It is a general given to all of the staff here when I say that music therapists are just the most amazing musicians I have ever been around. Our staff comes from Julliard, NYU or Moscow Conservatory. We are the only place in Hoboken and surrounding areas with this level of expertise.”

Looking for those with special needs

Zarate said that their focus now is to build groups of children (and adults) with special needs, specifically ADHD, ADD and Autism.

“We will offer free music therapy to anyone interested in being part of clinical research studies,” Zarate said.

“We especially want to work with teens with special needs, because teens love music.”

Music therapy is not just about “sitting around and listening to music.”

For example, Zarate explained that over a short-term three month research period, she was able to get people with three major anxiety symptoms into stabilized situations.

Zarate also spent her earlier years teaching in the Bronx, working hand and hand with hospitals and aiding children suffering from trauma or abuse.

“We also provide a wellness program for adults,” said Zarate. “We are looking to assemble a woman’s social sing group next which would get women together to sing anything from classical to contemporary.”

If you or anyone you know would like to be a part of the research groups and suffer from ADD or ADHD, visit or call (201) 798-2600.

Amanda Palasciano may be reached at

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