Michael Rohrbacher, Associate Professor of Music, joined the Bower School of Music Faculty this past August, 2013, to establish a music therapy degree program and to teach courses on world music cultures. Dr. Rohrbacher began undergraduate studies in piano performance with Fernando Laires at the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore, Maryland. He later completed the degree, Bachelor of Music with a concentration in music therapy from East Carolina University. He holds a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Communicative Disorders from Johns Hopkins University, and a Ph.D. in Ethnomusicology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Prior service includes six years with the Baltimore City Public Schools as music therapist for students with developmental and physical disabilities (early childhood through high school); Board of Directors, Certification Board for Music Therapists; and President, Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association. Federal funding activities included consultant for the NIH Office of Complementary and Alternative Medicine grant, Music Therapy and Psycho-social Adjustment for Persons with Head Trauma; Project Director for the Administration on Aging (AoA) grant, Music Therapy Model Demonstration Program in Adult Day Health Care; and Project Director for the AoA grant on Complementary & Alternative Medicine for Persons with Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders: An Inservice Training Program. Dr. Rohrbacher’s prior academic career included service as Director of Music Therapy for the College of Mount Saint Joseph in Mount Saint Joseph, OH; for Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, PA; and for the Shenandoah Conservatory of Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA.
While at the Shenandoah Conservatory he established the Master of Music Therapy degree and the Professional Studies Program for Music Therapy Certification Eligibility. Through his leadership community outreach resulted in the significant growth of music therapy practicum sites, affiliated internship sites, and professional music therapy services (both contractual and full-time). Also while at Shenandoah he served as the Director of the World Music Ensemble and taught courses on indigenous music traditions. Beginning in 1999 and continuing today, he serves as Visiting Professor of Music Therapy at Tokushima Bunri University (TBU) in Tokushima, Japan, and was instrumental in contributing to TBU as the first university in Japan to offer a Bachelor’s degree in music therapy. Awards include Honorary Doctorate from Tokushima Bunri University, 2003, and recipient of the Shenandoah University 2002-03 Exemplary Teacher Award. Dr. Rohrbacher’s research interests include healthcare and the arts in Bali, Indonesia, and medical ethnomusicology. He looks forward to collaborating with local music therapists and human service agencies to develop educational and training opportunities for future music therapy students - a most exciting time for music therapy in Southwest Florida!