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Changing lives

Solon grad changing lives of individuals with autism in Utah
Solon High School graduate Rachel (Lighty) Kucera has started her own business, Ignite Music Therapy, LLC, to offer music therapy, as well as lessons for anyone wanting to learn in Salt Lake Valley, Utah. (contributed photo)

AMES– Autism is a neurologic condition that makes it difficult for individuals to communicate, form relationships with others, and use language and abstract concepts.
Through music therapy, individuals with autism can overcome the challenges they face everyday. While a student at Solon High School, Rachel Kucera found it to be her passion when her grandfather was in a nursing home.
He wasn’t able to speak but Kucera saw first hand how music therapy could spark his inner life. From that moment on, Kucera knew her passion.
Kucera received a degree in Music Therapy and Music Education from Wartburg College. After three years in Salt Lake City, where she completed more coursework and worked with a variety of populations, Kucera started her own business as a private music therapist.
According to Autism Council of Utah, one in 54 children and 1.5 million individuals are diagnosed with autism in the United States.
Kucera engaged with members of the autism population and applied music therapy to help these individuals achieve their goals. Some were interested in learning to play an instrument and this led to Kucera’s passion for developing adaptive music lessons.
She is a board certified music therapist and licensed music educator. in the Salt Lake Valley area of Utah. An accredited music therapist uses music to promote, maintain, and restore mental, physical, emotional and spiritual health.
Kucera launched Ignite Music Therapy, LLC, to offer music therapy, as well as lessons for anyone wanting to learn.
The word “Ignite” suggests the deep emotional connection individuals have to music. Dr. Daniel J. Levitin, a neuroscientist, musician, and author, explains why music moves us: “music lights up parts of the brain that control movement, attention, planning, and memory.” Connecting to music improves cognitive and social skills for children with autism.
A parent of one of Kucera’s clients said, “I didn’t think she would ever be able to speak and now she is singing karaoke with us and saying words like ‘medicine.’ It is all because of music therapy! It encouraged her to start talking and it was just a starting point and her language skills have been growing so rapidly ever since. Thank you!”