Faculty Focus: Miho Sato de Saucedo, BC MT
Miho Sato de Saucedo teaches music therapy, piano, and voice
at the Community Music School of the Piedmont.
How did you become interested in music? How did you get involved with music therapy?
Music, especially singing, was always around in my family in Tokyo. Bath time, car ride, family gatherings: this was singing time. My mom put me in piano lessons at age 3 to help me sing. When I went to college, I was undecided between nursing and voice, but chose music, majoring in voice performance with a minor in piano and music education. In my student teaching, I learned that music-making was healing for me. I also learned that music could touch people and bring out their feelings, personality, and best selves. I looked for graduate schools where I could study music therapy (MT). I was fortunate to meet a Shenandoah University professor and have an interview – which is how I came to the USA.
What was the connection with doing music therapy for children? How do you engage with a new student?
In grad school, I learned how to engage with students – special ed, all different ages, nursing homes, psychiatric units. It felt more natural with children, they give their energy back to me, which led me to focus on children. I observe a new student very closely: how they respond, how they express feelings or needs and wants. And I try to find a way to connect with them. What is their favorite music? I seek to find the goals that they want to improve and use their strengths to balance out their weaknesses.
What are your areas of focus? What – or who - would you say is your biggest success?
I focus on developmentally, neurologically, and sensory-challenged students and those on the autism spectrum. I use techniques to support sensory integration. My biggest success is what I found in myself – music, ways to connect – that work well in Music Therapy and let me help people. Every client has special qualities, I learn so much from each of them. For example, after working on sensory areas, one client who is non-verbal has improved greatly in communication skills and is now making eye contact, verbalizing, and showing affection. Another client has improved greatly in fine motor skills, especially handwriting, after working on instrument playing – piano, guitar, drum.
What are your goals?
My life goal is to reach out to many children and help them grow. I love to see children learn, gain confidence, and grow as a whole. Emotional security and feeling loved and cared for help children grow into good adults, which helps us build a good society. I would also love to open an orphanage or some type of facility where children can grow up loved and cared for. And of course, music will play an important part in that facility!
Miho Sato de Saucedo graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree in Voice Performance from Musashino Music University in Tokyo, Japan. She earned her Master of Music degree in Music Therapy from Shenandoah University. Miho is a board-certified music therapist by the American Music Therapist Association. Miho’s areas of specialization include early childhood and applications for sensory processing theory. She is trained in Orff and Music Together®. Miho developed the music curriculum for the Piedmont Childcare Center in Upperville, Virginia.