ET Music Therapy

Pacific Autism Family Network (PAFN)

 Richmond, BC

Adopted by our generous donors

“Thank you Music Heals for your generous support of the music therapy program at the Pacific Autism Family Centre. You are supporting the growth and well being of our clients as a result of your ongoing contributions to the program at the centre. Without your funding, these individuals would most definitely have to discontinue services due to financial constraints. We truly appreciate you and what you do for our community!”

Esther Thane, Executive Director

ET Music Therapy

ET Music Therapy was able to add telehealth sessions to it’s music therapy program this year, to clients who would otherwise not be able to attend their in person program. Music therapy sessions also include adapted music instruction, and independence building and support for music composition, for the client.

Funding from Music Heals was used to support two clients in particular. Both of these clients would have had to discontinue music therapy services if it weren’t for the generous support of Music Heals donors. One client in particular has established such a connection to his therapist, when otherwise in his week, he has very little contact with others, as his health conditions require limited exposure to a variety of environments. His family is truly appreciative of the social needs that music therapy sessions meet for him, thanks to the funding of Music Heals!

Historically Music Heals funding is used to cover half of the cost for Music Therapy services, for the year. The families are committed to providing the other half of the payment. This has allowed ET Music Therapy to extend funding families for a full year program. It has also allowed them to spread the funding over more clients, thus serving more families!


The two clients that are benefiting from Music Heals funding are males in their early teens, both diagnosed with Autism. They both live in the greater Vancouver lower mainland. Both are homeschooled and have limited access to programs in the community. Music Therapy services create a lifeline of social engagement.

Compared to previous years, music therapy has provided more support for the feelings of isolation that clients have been experiencing, which the pandemic has created. Both clients are being served in telehealth sessions. One due to his immune compromised system which requires him traditionally to cancel sessions on a frequent basis, due to illness. As a result of having telehealth sessions, he consistently sees his therapist every week. This has provided a wonderful expressive outlet for him to collaborate on his music composing! The other client wishes to be on telehealth sessions to protect his household during the pandemic. As well, his sessions have been consistent and he is very receptive (if not more) to engage with his therapist over zoom, and feel heard and listened to, while being home-schooled and mostly staying at home throughout the week, which limits his interaction with others.

Navigating The Ongoing COVID-19 Pandemic

From ET Music Therapy:

“Only initially for the first month of the pandemic in 2020, did it cause some disruption, as our staff brainstormed and met repeatedly to define new ways of engaging clients over telehealth sessions. One month later, we were running all of our sessions over video conferencing and found that most clients were incredibly receptive to the format change, and often excelled over video conferencing sessions. Many of our clients have returned to in person sessions now, with new skill sets that they acquired during telehealth sessions. These skills generalized beautifully to in person interactions with our therapists, strengthened their relationship, and built confidence & independence in our clients!”

Due to the pandemic and lack of resources, many of the families that were receiving funding to attend music therapy have had to discontinue sessions as they cannot afford the services.

Your support will help ET Music Therapy help their existing clients as well as add 6 hours of one-on-one Music Therapy sessions per week, servicing 6 new clients, for 2022.

“Nathan is a rock star. Yesterday, he showed up to the [music therapy] session and said, “I’ve got some things to show you that I have been working on. Also, I’ve been thinking that I’d like to start learning music theory.” This quote is significant on many levels. Firstly, it shows that he is deriving joy and meaning from what is happening in sessions. The quote also highlights that not only is he self-motivated to pursue what he is enjoying about the sessions, but that he is seeing areas where he wants to grow and is asking for help to do it. This last part is so significant in terms of his development. It has long been a goal in his therapy to support him to become more collaborative, more open to outside input. Over the past couple months, he has become much more patient and inviting of the therapist’s input. He has always been quite self-directed in his learning and he continues to astound the therapist weekly with new music production techniques that he’s discovered through research and exploration, and has incorporated into his original music.”

– Luke Lee Burton, Music Therapist at ET Music Therapy, who works with Nathan

Esther Thane

Esther Thane, BMT, MTA, AVPT

Executive Director of ET Music Therapy

Esther’s specialization since 1996 has been in the field of Autism- targeting early intervention. She enjoyed 14 wonderful years on faculty at Capilano University, teaching in the Bachelor of Music Therapy Program. She frequently presents at conferences and holds workshops for universities, local agencies and abroad. She has published a variety of reviews for music therapy journals, contributed in online music therapy magazines, and published in music therapy books. Esther completed Dr. Diane Austin’s (Music Psychotherapy Center, NY) first international distance training program in Advanced Vocal Psychotherapy. Her publication in the book: Voicework in Music Therapy (Jessica Kingsley Publishers), focuses on her innovative method of Vocal-Led Relaxation for Children with Autism. In 2014, Esther launched the first cloud music therapy curriculum: MITM (Meet in the Music) for music therapy practices, as part of an electronic therapy records system: UnitusTI. Her curriculum is utilized by music therapists/ music therapy companies and centers in Canada, United States, and in Australia.

In 2017, Esther was awarded an Iconic Women Creating a Better World for All Award from the Women’s Economic Forum, in New Delhi, India. In 2021, Esther received the Peer Recognition Award, presented by the Canadian Association for Music Therapists, for her innovative work and contributing service to the Canadian music therapy community. Esther currently volunteers on the Autism Initiative committee for the province’s local chapter Association of Music Therapy (MTABC).

You can help us reach more Canadians with the healing power of music. We invite you to give the gift of music to provide hope, strength, relief and encouragement to Canadians in need.

No contribution is too small!