Name: Jennifer L. Pacht-Goodman
Hometown: Watchung
Business: Jammin Jenn Music Therapy
Category: Kids & Families

TRISH KISCH / Jenn shares a special moment with Jack, one of her students

New Jersey Family: Tell us about Jammin’ Jenn, its mission and what makes it unique.

Jennifer L. Pacht-Goodman: Our mission at Jammin Jenn Music Therapy is to allow people with any developmental disability the opportunity to connect and make meaningful connections through music. We believe so deeply that music can reach anyone and allowing a person to feel understood and accepted is what our program is all about.

NJF: When did you launch Jammin’ Jenn and what was your biggest inspiration?

JPG: We became an official LLC in 2009 but I’ve been a practicing music therapist for over 30 years. I think the inspiration was really wanting my work to spread like wildfire throughout the special needs community. Our field of music therapy is starting to gain more recognition but I knew I had a drive and was a force to be reckoned with! When I set my mind to accomplishing something I don’t stop until I feel I’ve achieved the goal. The lives that we have been able to enhance and change are really countless throughout these years! It feels amazing to know what a difference I am making.

NJF: Can you explain how music therapy works for children with special needs?

JPG: Music therapy is a unique field. Usually the therapist will gain information about a client from a caretaker and start from there. The music therapist always begins with a hello song in order to provide the client with the structure or the session. From there anything goes.

My approach especially when meeting a new client is to follow their lead and see where they gravitate to. For example: a child walks into the studio and sees a toy airplane and begins playing with it alone and not allowing me into their play. I might start singing a song about the plane, and about the child playing with the plane, using the child’s name and acknowledging exactly what is happening in the here and now. I am inviting myself very cautiously into the child’s world to see if anything I am singing or doing musically might become of interest to them.

New Jersey Family: Tell us about some of the services you offer for kids, adults, in schools and in camps.

JPG: Jammin Jenn Music Therapy services over 85 young children home-based and in our Watchung location. We are contracted with 25 schools throughout New Jersey, both public and private. We love camp programs and service an amazing special needs camp called Camp PAL in Chatham.

Our school programs are wonderful. They are intimate and allow us to push into a classroom and have a structured music session. Not lesson, session. We are not trying to “teach,” rather our main goals in schools can be anything from promoting peer awareness, turn taking, attending behavior, and following therapist-led directions for example “tap your sticks up up up” the activities are all musically based which makes it fun for students.

We have a very successful adult program funded by the state Division of Developmental Disabilities. Our adult program is all remote and began when COVID hit. It became so popular that we now service over 100 adults 21 years of age and up.

NJF: What is the most rewarding part of what you do with kids every day?

JPG: I love my work! I feel like without a doubt it’s why I am on earth. It’s my calling, and I am so passionate about giving families hope and always pushing for achieving goals.

So many families get a diagnosis and their world is turned upside down. My work is joyful, creative and fun. Families witness their children engaging in a therapeutic environment, making connections and having a good time what could be better?

NJF: What was your proudest moment as a business owner?

JPG: I feel so much pride in what I have accomplished as a female business owner. As a young child, I grew up locking myself in my bedroom singing the entire “Annie” Broadway cast album, dreaming of being a Broadway star. I look at my life now, and all the lives I am changing literally every day, and that’s what makes me the most proud.

NJF: What’s the best piece of business advice you’ve ever gotten that you want to share with others?

JPG: Do what you love! Think about what’s important to YOU. Don’t get stuck doing something for the rest of your life that you’re not passionate about. Life’s not a dress rehearsal so go for it, go all in!

NJF: What are some ways your business has been able to be involved with the community and give back?

JPG: I love giving back and providing sessions at various special need walks. I have been involved with Autism Speaks as well as Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation. It feels great to be asked to participate in these events!

JENNIFER PACHT-GOODMAN / Jenn with, from left, her son Zach, husband Eddie and daughter Carly.

NJF: What’s it like juggling raising kids with running a business?

JPG: My children are grown now but when we opened the Jammin Jenn practice in 2009 it was hard not being around. Thankfully my amazing husband stepped in and was a wonderful role model for them. I missed a lot events but know in my heart my kids really get why my work is so important.

Side note: my husband joined the Jammin Jenn practice in 2012 and with his business background was able to make connections with so many organizations ultimately growing the business year after year. I love having him run the music therapy practice! We are a great team!

NJF: What do you love most about living in Watchung/Somerset County?

JPG: Great schools. Small pretty town.

NJF: What are some of your favorite things to do in New Jersey with your family?

JPG: When the kids were younger we went to the zoo a lot as well as amusement parks. My favorite thing of all time when kids were younger and even now is to chill by our pool and just have conversations.

NJF: What’s next for Jammin Jenn?

JPG: Well the TikTok thing blew up out of nowhere and I’ve always wanted to make a children’s album so maybe that could be a future endeavor. I’m not sure as I’m just so busy running the practice and managing the staff of 11 music therapists!

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