Jenn Pacht-Goodman, a board-certified music therapist, was an aspiring Broadway actress for years until she heard about music therapy, an evidence-based use of music to help accomplish goals such as increased communication for people with different abilities. She enrolled in New York University’s master’s program, got her degree and started Jammin’ Jenn Music Therapy for Children and Adults in 2009. The mom of two who lives in Watchung now has a company that serves over 25 public and private schools in NJ, making a difference in the lives of everyone she and her team works with.
New Jersey Family: For people who don’t know, what is music therapy and how is it different from a regular music class?
Jenn Pacht-Goodman: Music therapy is not music lessons. Music therapists are trained to work with people with special needs, which can include but is not limited to children and adults with developmental disabilities, mental illness, elderly suffering with dementia and more. In order to hold the title of MT-BC the music therapist must complete coursework at an accredited college, complete an internship and finally, successfully pass the music therapy board exam.
NJF: What is a typical music therapy session like?
JPG: As music therapists, we create goals that are success oriented. Our main goal regardless of which population we’re working with is to make a meaningful connection through the use of music. Singing, instrumental improvisation, lyric analysis and more. Each session starts with a “hello song,” giving the client the opportunity to participate or just understand that the session is starting. It is very common to use the same “hello song” weekly, allowing the client to learn words, participate and ultimately provide a boost of self-expression and self-esteem. The same goes for a “goodbye song.”
NJF: What has been your biggest accomplishment with your business so far?
JPG: I would have to say working with a child who is non-verbal and then seeing them start to acquire language, sounds and words in a session. To me, that is magical!
NJF: What advice would you give to moms looking to start a business like yours?
JPG: You must be passionate about the business you’re starting. Your heart and soul must be in it, or I don’t believe it will be successful. I am the perfect example of hard work pays off. I am not talking about dollar signs, I am talking about feeling lit up from your work, loving it most days and the icing on the cake, at least for me, is I am helping clients daily. Success comes with drive, determination, knowledge and passion!
NJF: How do you balance your career with being a parent?
JPG: I do my best. My son is in college and my daughter in high school (Zach, 20, is a freshman at Tulane and Carly, 16, is a sophomore at Watchung Hills Regional High School). I try very much to be a great mom and a good listener. I love being a mom.
NJF: What’s your favorite place to go with your family in the Garden State?
JPG: We love to go out to dinner a lot. Our fave is Sweet Waters Steak House in Westfield.
NJF: What’s your favorite way to spend “me time” in NJ?
JPG: Wake up early, have a hot cup of coffee, take a yoga class, run errands and shop! I love Ruby and Jenna, and South Moon Under and of course Target!
You can find Jenn on Instagram at @Jamminjennnewjersey and on YouTube.
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