Interview with Freidy Kagan, Music Therapist

Creating an Inner Melody

Freidy Kagan holds a B.A. in Music from Michlalah Jerusalem and an M.A. in Music Therapy from Bar Ilan University. Freidy sees clients comprising a vast range of emotional, behavioral and learning disabilities, including those stemming from brain damage, dementia, Parkinson’s disease and autism.

 Can you define this unique therapy?
Music and art therapy is built on interpersonal communication and involves verbal interaction. However, unlike conventional therapies, the utilization of a variety of musical instruments accompanied by musical exercises, as well as the use of art materials, serves to motivate and thereby draw the client into the therapy. These auxiliary forms of expression stimulate and deepen the therapeutic process and provide the client with an additional “language” for self-expression.

What is the goal of music therapy?
Like other therapies, music and art therapy provide an effective medium through which anyone can enhance his wellbeing, equilibrium and equanimity. This specialized method addresses a wide variety of challenges, such as stress and anxiety, focus and attention. Furthermore, it enhances emotional awareness and attunement, encouraging emotional articulation and expression.

Is it necessary to be musical or know how to play an instrument to benefit from the therapy?
Anyone, whether musically inclined or not, can benefit from this treatment. There are a wide variety of music and art mediums for expression, enabling everyone to find something to connect to.

When working with a child, how do you keep the parents involved in the process?
Parental guidance is an integral part of a child’s therapeutic process. I often seat parents at an instrument and ask them to “play their child.” It never ceases to amaze me how deeply emotions can be reached through music.

How is music therapy used for adults?
With adults, there’s usually more verbal communication involved. Additionally, integrating music and art in forms that are specific for adults allows the therapeutic process to flourish.

Can you give us a story of a client for whom you felt therapy was particularly beneficial?
“Koby,” a child with ADHD, was initially having tantrums an average of 20 times per session when things weren’t going his way. After 10 months of therapy, Koby has learned to sing and use percussion and melodic instruments to release anger and tension. He’s gradually using more verbal expression to deal with his low frustration tolerance and has become more patient. Using art materials in a relaxed and safe environment, he’s calmed down considerably and is doing better in school. Most importantly, he’s more cooperative at home and has a newfound loving and accepting relationship with his mother, who was feeling resentment as a result of his negative behavior.

Freidy can be reached at 052-761-6584 or

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