Like most business owners, Jaime Lawrence is adjusting the way she does business in the COVID-19 era.
By Christine MacIntyre
Harmony Garden Music Therapy has serviced Jackson and the surrounding area by providing music therapy and early childhood music opportunities for families and individuals since opening in June 2006. Owner Jaime Lawrence has spent well over a decade giving back to her hometown by enriching lives through music and providing the ample benefits of music therapy.
Like many other local businesses, Harmony Garden has fallen victim to the immediate economic effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic. While Lawrence is scrambling to rearrange her business in a way that allows her to maintain a presence with clients, she is not in denial of the possibility of being forced to close the doors altogether.
The harrowing circumstances left Lawrence with the difficult decision to lay off all but one of her employees, including a newly hired office assistant and three music therapists. Harmony Garden lost between 80 and 90 percent of its revenue in a matter of three days, as clientele dwindled from businesses throughout the community such as hospice, schools, child care programs, and group homes.
Lawrence has had to discontinue music therapy classes, as many of her clients are among those who are at higher risk, including children as young as three months old, hospice and palliative care adults from 70 to 100 years old, as well as special needs individuals of all ages, many of whom are immune suppressed.
Lawrence is working tirelessly to come up with innovative solutions for her clients with the hope that Harmony Garden can weather this storm and preserve the routine that has become engrained in the lives of so many individuals. “We felt like we had to adapt very quickly,” said Lawrence. “The last couple weeks have been surreal – everything happened so fast.”
One major change is the transition of the music therapy services to Telehealth. Under a new emergency preparedness notice through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, covered health care providers, including Harmony Garden Music Therapy Services, may use popular video communication applications that allow for video chats, including Apple FaceTime, Facebook Messenger video chat, Google Hangouts video, or Skype, as well as typically HIPAA-compliant video communication platforms such as doxy.me, Google Meets for Business, etc.. to provide Telehealth during this time.
According to the Harmony Garden website, the change to Telehealth means instead of coming to the office for music therapy sessions, the music will happen via Google Meets, a simple to use video communication platform.
While this is not the ideal scenario for music therapy services, Lawrence says that it will still provide some sense of normalcy for clients as they see and hear their friends and participate in the songs and music-related activities that have become familiar and cherished to them.
“It has been so nice to see the smiles on clients’ faces and hear their gratitude,” Lawrence says.
Another change implemented recently is the virtual livestreaming of Sprouts class for kids, as a way to improvise while the public is quarantined at home. Sprouts class is typically done in a group setting at the office, but Lawrence says the livestreams are full of interactive fun and provide an opportunity for kids to be entertained for 45 minutes, four times per week.
There is no better time to get involved in music therapy, as studies reveal that this “is [a] clinical and evidence-based use of music to achieve individualized goals and to positively influence changes in client’s specific needs, strengths, and weaknesses,” according to Harmony Garden’s website.
Lawrence, a mom, wife, and daughter, has devoted her career to improving the lives of individuals throughout her hometown community. She spends time with children of all ages, special needs individuals, and even our often-neglected elderly population.
The year 2020 started strong as Harmony Garden moved to a much-needed larger space and expanded the team of music therapists. Then, COVID-19 happened. While the circumstances are unfortunate, this is an opportunity for the community to show support and appreciation for Harmony Garden Music Therapy and the services they provide.
For questions and inquiries regarding music therapy services and/or to donate, visit www.hgmusictherapy.com, HGMusicTherapy on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, or contact Lawrence directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or 517-416-1088.
“I can’t hardly look at the donation page without bursting into tears,” Lawrence says as the reality of the past couple weeks sets in and donations start to appear. “We have to keep pushing forward to get to the other side of this…maybe even stronger and better off than we were before.”
The Evening Snapshot is provided by The Exponent. It is being posted daily as we go through the coronavirus issue at IrishHillsLive.com. Please, bookmark the site, check it out every evening after 5 p.m., and share. If you have a news tip or topic you would like to see highlighted in the paper or on IrishHillsLive.com, contact us at email@example.com. If you have a photo you would like to share, send to firstname.lastname@example.org along with a brief explanation and contact information.
The joy of the Lord is your strength Neh. 8:10