Disaster Recovery

Full list of Feel the Music! 9/11 Recovery Music and Arts Programs HERE

Feel the Music! began during the 9/11 recovery. Our founder, Valerie Ghent, a NYC musician and singer-songwriter, volunteered for eight months at Ground Zero. There she met 9/11 family members and first responders, heard countless stories of their children and families, stories which prompted Valerie to envision a music program for children who had lost family that day.

Through conversations with other musicians, 9/11 family organizations, first responders and the NYU Postdoctoral Program in Psychotherapy and Psychoanalysis, Feel the Music! launched in 2005 with funding from the American Red Cross.

“If I can’t find words to it, I can always put notes to it.” – FtM student who lost his father on 9/11.

From 2005-2012 Feel the Music! brought music and art into the lives of hundreds of children, families and adults impacted by 9/11, through a wide variety of music & arts workshops, concerts, retreats, arts projects, day-long programs, special events and more. We saw first-hand how music brings people together and the profound importance of finding means of creative self-expression after trauma and loss. Fostering creative expression through a wide range of arts activities – singing, writing songs, playing percussion, painting, dancing – moved hundreds of people to return, week after week, to Feel the Music!. The lessons we learned are universal ones, how music creates community, provides a means for creative self-expression, and fosters a collective, positive experience of renewal to individuals, families and communities.

These lessons form the building blocks of our Feel the Music! programs today, whether for children kicking cancer, elders, the blind or visually impaired, and other populations impacted by trauma, loss and illness.

In August, 2013 Valerie was invited to join a FEMA Thinktank on Disaster Recovery at the White House, and as a result of her presentation, asked to be panelist on a nationwide FEMA ThinkTank Conference Call on the efficacy of the arts in disaster recovery. Read more HERE.


More information and research on the efficacy of music in trauma/disaster recovery HERE.