Music Therapist Allie Moriarty Inspired by Brother with Autism
October 26, 2018
The bright and subtle sound of the flute captivated Music Instructor Allie Moriarty at a young age. In the third grade she began taking lessons, learning the fundamentals of how to read music and play the flute. Moriarty’s skill level progressed through the years as she participated in different music opportunities like the San Diego Youth Symphony and later her high school orchestra. Fifteen years after her first flute lesson, Moriarty now plays a number of instruments—piccolo, guitar, saxophone, oboe, bassoon, clarinet, and piano—with varying levels of mastery, as she humbly claims. The flute, with its soft yet strong tone, remains her favorite.
Moriarty’s budding interest in music did not waver as she got older; it grew. Hailing from California, music brought her to Berklee College of Music in Boston, some 3,000 miles away from home. The coursework at Berklee further developed Moriarty’s musicality and taught her about the complexities of music therapy. After graduation, the last requirement was to complete 1,200 internship hours—a task she fulfilled last year at Berkshire Hills Music Academy, one of five possible internship sites. Having previously worked at BHMA as a Summer Program counselor, Moriarty’s internship allowed her to solidify her connection with our students and our program, while applying the practical knowledge she had acquired at Berklee. From being a Music & Human Services Instructor, to a reliable accompanist at Variety Hour, Moriarty carved a place for herself at BHMA as an intern and has since become a full-time Music Instructor. In September she sat for her Board Certification Examination of Music Therapy, and she passed.
Moriarty was inspired to become a music therapist after observing the difference it made for her twin brother Reid, who has autism. Growing up together, her brother “learned to talk, communicate, and use social skills through music.” It unlocked an engaging way for him to learn and retain information, an idea that is also central to BHMA’s music-infused approach. Music’s impact on Reid motivated Moriarty to pursue a career as a music therapist—combining her love of music with her desire to use it as a tool to help others.
Moriarty has a quiet confidence, a strong work ethic, and a natural talent for music. As an instructor at BHMA, her days are spent giving voice lessons, running ensembles, and preparing for student performances. Moriarty uses music every day to support individuals with intellectual disabilities to better express themselves and flourish—just as her brother Reid has. She loves what she does, and notes “the best part…is working with such wonderful students.” Moriarty’s early affinity for the flute has expanded into a viable and rewarding career path, one that everyone in the BHMA community has the pleasure of witnessing.