Boston Lifestyle + Professional Portrait Photography | Kari O'Briant

Happy Monday, friends! Have you ever heard of music therapy? If not, then you're in for a treat today!

Kari is a music therapist, and believe it or not, we met in college when we both went to Radford University in Virginia! She was a music major and I was an art major, but we met in the flute choir. At that point I had been playing music for many years and although I didn't want to make music my career, I still loved it and loved playing music with other talented musicians. After Kari and I had both graduated in our respective years, we both moved to Massachusetts unbeknownst to each other! We reunited up here not long after I arrived, and I'm so glad we've been able to keep in touch and have more fun times together!

One of those fun times includes the one where she emailed me and said she wanted new headshots, and I don't think I could have said yes any quicker! However, I didn't want these to be stale and boring, full of fake smiles and flat walls, so we decided to take a trip to Arnold Arboretum in Jamaica Plain and play around (literally) with her guitar. You'll see lots of big smiles in Kari's photos, and that's because I kept asking her to tell me about her puppy, Reshi. Worked like a charm, and made us BOTH happy!

Kari, thank you for being an awesome friend AND portrait subject! I think we're even now since you introduced me to Nahant Beach and drove me out there back when I didn't have a car, and now years later I've introduced you to the Arboretum! Mini-adventures with friends are the best!

So, remember when I asked if you had heard of music therapy? I asked because I know many people haven't—or if they have, they don't know much about it. I made sure to ask Kari to tell me a little more about her work so I could share it with you all! As someone who loves music and finds psychology and health related things fascinating, I couldn't wait to share this post today. Here's what Kari said about her work:

I am a music therapist and a member of a team of creative arts therapists at a community music school.  Most of my work is with integrated pre-school and special education classes in local public schools.  I also work with older adults at several assisted living facilities; I see clients individually (young children-adult); teach adapted lessons; and along with some of my music therapist co-workers, I help conduct a chorus for adults with developmental delays. In addition to my work, I am starting my Masters of Music Therapy degree at Temple University this fall.

She also shared this definition of music therapy from the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA;

Music Therapy is an established health profession in which music is used within a therapeutic relationship to address physical, emotional, cognitive, and social needs of individuals. After assessing the strengths and needs of each client, the qualified music therapist provides the indicated treatment including creating, singing, moving to, and/or listening to music. Through musical involvement in the therapeutic context, clients' abilities are strengthened and transferred to other areas of their lives. Music therapy also provides avenues for communication that can be helpful to those who find it difficult to express themselves in words. Research in music therapy supports its effectiveness in many areas such as: overall physical rehabilitation and facilitating movement, increasing people's motivation to become engaged in their treatment, providing emotional support for clients and their families, and providing an outlet for expression of feelings. 

Kari is also THE BEST and sent me an amazing testimonial after she received her photos! Here's what she had to say about her session with me:

I tend to be really negatively self-conscious about getting my pictures taken, which I know isn't unusual. I was really concerned about my outfit being okay, my hair looking perfect, and my smile looking "right". I even brought extra outfit options just in case one of them would look better on-camera! You didn't ask me to change (though I would have willingly) and totally put me at my ease. The photos look better than I ever imagined!
You kept me laughing and not thinking about the fact that I was having my picture taken (and then spiraling into worrying about my hair, my face, etc), you were flexible, and you had lots of ideas!

And a message from her to anyone looking for a photographer for their own portraits:

Lorna is great! She responds to communications quickly; she told me exactly what to expect; she's flexible; she spoke with me in-depth about what I was looking for in a portrait session; she kept me laughing; the session itself had a very relaxed, comfortable feel; and I'm incredibly happy with how my photos turned out!

If that's you, get in touch to say hi, or reach out with any questions about what a portrait experience is like! Thanks so much for reading!

Name *
Phone Number *
Phone Number