Music to their Health

Kate Beever heals with harmony through music therapy

When Kate Beever was 15 years old, she found her calling. She never knew that music therapy was a field of study, let alone a career path, before writing a research paper on the topic in ninth grade. Having grown up in a musical family, Beever found a way in which she could help others while doing something she loved. In 2011 she founded Maine Music and Health, a Portland-based business that provides music therapy to those with cancer, brain injuries, developmental disabilities, or other physical or cognitive challenges. Music therapy focuses on the whole health of a person, says Beever. “Not just physical health, but cognitive, social, and emotional.” Once when working with a patient who had a brain injury and wasn’t able to speak, Beever retaught him phrases through singing, and he started being able to communicate again. As a side effect, he strengthened his mouth muscles enough to be able to eat solid foods again. Beever works in individual and group settings, and she teaches other therapists how to meld arts and science in their work, too. Beever also works in wellness groups and corporate settings to help cultivate teamwork. “Music is a nice way to non-invasively train people to get along,” she says.

In May Beever stumbled across a Facebook ad for a small business competition with a chance to win $25,000. Of the 2,000 businesses that entered, Beever’s company was selected as one of ten semifinalists, but she then had to compete in an online voting campaign to make it to the top three, “which is always kind of awkward,” she says. But word spread, and Beever was one of three flown to Los Angeles to participate in a game show–style business competition in front of celebrity judge Robert Herjavec from ABC’s Shark Tank. The competitors were tasked with creating budgets, advertisements, and the like for fictional small businesses; each competitor was judged on his or her strategy and success in execution. Beever won two challenges, securing second place and a $10,000 prize. With her recent win, Beever is planning to expand training materials to better incorporate the arts into health care and to create training and scholarship opportunities in Maine for fellow art therapists, in hopes of assisting others who have discovered music and art therapy as a career path.

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