Music Therapists

Kids are inherently musical — it’s visible in the way they talk, move and process information. In an environment where children may have very little agency over what happens to them, music therapists provide individualized music experiences that promote regulation, control, and autonomy, while honoring individual dignity, identity, and values.   

Our team of board-certified music therapists at Lurie Children’s serves patients from birth to young adulthood on many inpatient medical units. 

What can a music therapist at Lurie Children’s do to support your child?  

  • Emotional regulation, relaxation, and pain management: Music therapists may facilitate live music listening, music-making, and guided relaxation experiences. Your music therapist will individualize these experiences and can respond to your child's unique needs and physiological responses in real time. Reducing agitation and supporting relaxation can help your child's body focus on healing. 
  • Choice, control and autonomy: Children and adolescents may often feel like things are happening "to" them when they are in the hospital, and this can cause distress or heightened emotions. When possible, children need opportunities to feel in control of their bodies and environment. Music therapy sessions can offer patients a safe space to practice autonomy, make choices, and be their most creative selves. 
  • Coping and emotional processing: Hospitalization can bring up many different emotions, and everyone processes and responds to these emotions differently. Music therapists can provide both nonverbal and verbal musical experiences that allow your child to feel emotionally supported, adjust to their hospitalization or diagnosis, and/or process their feelings in whatever way works best for them. 
  • Developmental support: While in the hospital, your child may be missing typical opportunities for play, social engagement, and development. Music therapists can support your child through individualized music- and play-based experiences focused on growth and development, positive sensory input, communication/social skills, movement, and a sense of normalcy while in the hospital. 
  • Creative expression: Children are naturally musical, playful, and creative! Your music therapist can offer a variety of adaptive music experiences that encourage your child to express themselves however they are able. No prior musical experience is necessary for your child to receive music therapy. 

Music therapy sessions may involve active music-making, clinical improvisation, developmental and sensory music play, songwriting and/or composition, and receptive music experiences.   

Interested in supporting music therapy at Lurie Children’s? Check out our Amazon Wishlist

Meet Our Music Therapists

Take a look at our music therapists’ bios to learn a little bit more about the therapist who may work with your child.

Mayte Gomez-Cruz (she/her/ella)

Mayte Gomez-Cruz, MT-BC, joined the music therapy team in 2021, shortly after completing her music therapy internship here at Lurie Children’s. Mayte provides bilingual music therapy services in English and Spanish to intermediate/general acute care, pulmonary care, and cardiac patients. 

Mayte received her Bachelor’s of Music in music therapy from the University of Iowa and is originally from Des Moines, Iowa. In previous years, she worked with a variety of populations including school-age students working on educational goals, adolescents with behavioral health needs, and older adults in memory care. 

Mayte Gomez-Cruz, MT-BC, se unió al equipo de musicoterapia en 2021 después de completar sus prácticas profesionales aquí en Lurie Children's. Mayte ofrece servicios de musicoterapia en español e inglés para pacientes de cuidados intermedios/agudos generales, cuidado pulmonar, y pacientes cardíacos. 

Mayte recibió su licenciatura en musicoterapia de la Universidad de Iowa y es originaria de Des Moines, Iowa. En años anteriores, ha trabajado en una variedad de entornos, incluyendo en escuelas primarias para apoyar metas educativas, con adolescentes con necesidades de salud mental, y personas mayores en cuidados paliativos. 

Molly Grettenberger (she/her)

Molly Grettenberger, MM, MT-BC, joined the music therapy team in 2022. She primarily serves neurologytransplant, hepatology, nephrology, endocrine, and GI patients on Lurie’s acute inpatient units. Her approach to her practice is music- and child-centered, culturally-responsive, and strengths-based. 

Molly holds a Master’s degree in music therapy from Western Michigan University, preceded by a Bachelor of Music in Harp Performance from Indiana University. Her previous experience includes working in therapeutic day schools, additional pediatric settings, and memory care. 

Jacqueline Vilca (she/her/ella)

Jacqueline (Jackie) Vilca, MT-BC, NICU-MT, has covered multiple inpatient units in her time at Lurie. Since 2022, she has primarily served the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU) and the cochlear implant outpatient clinics. She practices from an eclectic music therapy approach and provides services in English and Spanish. 

Jackie received her Bachelor of Music in music therapy from the University of Miami and has received additional specialized training for facilitating music therapy in the NICU. Her previous work experience includes a variety of settings such as therapeutic day schools, after-school programs, hospice, memory care, rehabilitation centers, and other hospitals in New York, Florida, and Washington DC. 

Sheridan Grettenberger (she/her)

Sheridan Grettenberger, MM, MT-BC, joined the music therapy team in 2018 after completing her music therapy internship here at Lurie Children’s. She primarily works with patients in the inpatient pediatric intensive care unit (PICU)

Sheridan received a Bachelor of Science in Music from Northwestern University with concentrations in music cognition and psychology, followed by a Master’s degree in music therapy from Western Michigan University. Prior to returning to Lurie Children’s, Sheridan worked in therapeutic day schools, providing music therapy services to students of all ages with a diverse range of special needs and social-emotional needs. Sheridan has served as a supervisor for music therapy interns at Lurie Children’s and currently holds the role of Internship Director for the program's National Roster Music Therapy Internship through the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA). 

Work With a Music Therapist

Music therapy is provided on a referral basis and is available to patients on many inpatient medical units. Priority is given to patients with multiple and/or lengthy hospitalizations in need of extra support. 

Ask any member of your care team if music therapy is available on your unit or contact our music therapy team at for more information. 

Music Therapy at Lurie Children's: Henry's Story​

The power of music therapy in a medical environment is well documented. Here's the story of Henry and his family, who are benefiting from music therapy at Lurie Children's, supported by, among others, K.I.D.S.S. for Kids.

Music Therapy Internship

Are you a music therapy student at an AMTA-approved college or university? Learn more about our music therapy internship.