Our music therapy colleague, Dr. Concetta Tomaino, is the Executive Director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF) and the Senior Vice President for Music Therapy at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services. Connie is a world-renowned speaker, author, researcher, and clinician, and she is even the subject of the movie, “The Music Never Stopped.” In this AMTA-Pro podcast, Connie tells the intriguing story of her journey in music therapy, traveling a road filled with some surprising twists and turns over the years. Her story illustrates the value of following your heart, taking bold steps, and staying true to music therapy.


Connie Tomaino: Music Therapy Trailblazer

AMTA-Pro Podcast ~ December, 2011

Note: information below is from the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function website: http://www.imnf.org/

Dr. Concetta M. Tomaino, D.A., MT-BC, LCAT

A pioneer in the field of music therapy, Dr. Concetta Tomaino is both the Executive Director and co-founder of the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF) and the Senior Vice President for Music Therapy at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services. Internationally known for her research in the clinical applications of music and neurologic rehabilitation, Dr. Tomaino has lectured on music therapy throughout the United States and in Argentina, Australia, South Africa, Italy, England, and Canada. A past president of the American Association for Music Therapy, Dr. Tomaino was honored at the United Nations with the Music Therapists for Peace Award of Accomplishment. Committed to fostering the broadest access to music therapies for people in need the world over, Dr. Tomaino’s work with the Institute for Music and Neurologic Function has advanced the state of the art and science of music therapy for individuals suffering the effects of brain trauma including stroke, or who are afflicted with such degenerative neurological diseases as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.

Dr. Tomaino’s work has been featured on national programs including 48 Hours and 60 Minutes; on international programs including the BBC; and in books on health and healing, including A Matter of Dignity, by Andrew Potok; The Mozart Effect, by Don Campbell; Age Protectors (Rodale Press); Sounds of Healing, by Mitchell Gaynor, M.D; and An Anthropologist on Mars, by Oliver Sacks, M.D. Dr. Sacks’ book Musicophilia is dedicated to her.

Prior to earning a Masters and Doctor of Arts in Music Therapy from New York University, Dr. Tomaino was graduated with a BA in Music Performance (with a minor in psychology and sciences) from the State University of New York at Stony Brook. She joined the Bronx, NY-based Beth Abraham Family of Health Services (BAFHS) in 1980 and soon became one of the foremost proponents of the emerging field of Music Therapy. Fifteen years later, Dr. Tomaino helped found the IMNF. Today, in addition to her work with BAFHS and the IMNF, Dr. Tomaino is on the faculty of the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, the ATTP II team of the National Parkinson’s Foundation and the New York State Geriatric Education Consortium. A founding board member of the International Association for Music and Medicine; Dr. Tomaino was a Super Panelist for the GRAMMY in the Schools program and has served on the Certification Board of Music Therapists, the Journal of Music Therapy, and on the advisory boards for the Center for Alternative Research at the Kessler Institute, and the International Journal of Arts Medicine.

Dr. Tomaino is the recipient of numerous honors and accolades, including a Touchstone Award from “Women in Music” for her visionary spirit, the 2004 Music has Power Award from the IMNF and the Zella Bronfman Butler Award from the UJA-Federation of New York in partnership with the J.E. and Z.B. Butler for outstanding work on behalf of individuals with physical, developmental or learning disabilities. Most recently, Dr. Concetta Tomaino was honored as one of “Three Wise Women” by the National Organization of Italian American Women.

The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function at Beth Abraham Family of Health Services
Download “Taking a Look at the IMNF” powerpoint file
Our Mission: Through the scientific exploration of music and the brain, The Institute for Music and Neurologic Function (IMNF) seeks to establish new knowledge and to develop more effective music therapy treatments to awaken, stimulate and heal through the extraordinary power of music.

The IMNF was founded by the Beth Abraham Family of Health Services in 1995 on the idea that music has the unique power to heal, rehabilitate and inspire. The IMNF is dedicated to advancing scientific inquiry on music and the brain and to developing clinical treatments to benefit people of all ages.

The IMNF, considered a worldwide authority in clinical music therapy research and education, offers a variety of resources to individuals in the New York City community, including:

  • Expertise in treating neurological diseases such as stroke, trauma, Alzheimer’s Disease and other forms of dementia, Parkinson’s Disease, and other diseases and conditions.
  • Vast clinical experience applying music therapy techniques to diverse client populations.
  • Internationally and nationally recognized training programs in music therapy.

The IMNF is dedicated to partnering with leading music therapy organizations across the globe to develop and implement the most effective music therapy treatment programs to restore, maintain and improve people’s physical, emotional and neurological functioning through the methodical use of music.

Publications by Dr. Tomaino

Tomaino, C.M. (2009). Clinical Application of Music Therapy in Neurological Rehabilitation. In R. Haas, V. Brandes (eds) Music that Works. Austria: SpringerWienNewYork pp 211-220.

Tomaino, C.M. (2008). Music Therapy. In E. Capezuti, G. Siegler, & Mezey, M.D. (Eds.), Encylopedia of Elder Care (2nd Ed.). New York: Springer Publishing Company.

M. Kim and C. Tomaino (2008). Protocol Evaluation for Effective Music Therapy for Persons with Aphasia. Topics in Stroke Rehabilitation, 15 (6), pp. 555-569.

Tomaino, C.M. (2006). Music therapy to benefit individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. Movement Disorders. Vol. 21/Suppl. 13, 2006. pp. S29.

Tomaino, C.M. (2005). Music Therapy. In Devinsky, Schachter and Pacia (eds). Complementary and Alternative Therapies for Epilepsy. DEMOS: New York. pp. 293-301.

M. Kim and C. Tomaino (2005). Im Fokus: Cognitive funkionen bei demenz (German). In S. Jochims (Ed.), Musiktherapie in der Neurorehabilitation. Internationale Konzepte: Forschung und Praxis. Bad Honnef, Germany.

Tomaino, C., Scheiby, B. B., Ramsey, D., Wolff-Bear, O., Butler, L., McClelland, T. (2004). Innovative Music/Neurologic Approaches to Improve Quality and Effectiveness in Stroke and Dementia Care. Final narrative report to satisfy grant 90 AM 2618. Funded by the Administration on Aging US Department of Health & Human Services. (Period: August 1, 2002 – October 31, 2003).

Tomaino, C. (2002). The Role of Music in the Rehabilitation of Persons with Neurologic Diseases. Music Therapy Today (online), August, available at http://musictherapyworld.net {http://musictherapyworld.net}.

Tomaino, C. (2002, Winter). How Music Can Reach the Silenced Brain. Cerebrum. Vol 4:1, pp 22 – 33.

Tomaino, C. (2000). Working with Images and Recollection with Elderly Patients. In, D. Aldridge (Ed.) Music Therapy in Dementia. London: Jessica Kingsley.

Tomaino, C. (2000). Using Music Therapy with Persons with Parkinson’s Disease. In Cote, Sprinzeles, Elliot & Kutscher (Ed.). Parkinson’s Disease and Quality Of Life. New York: Haworth Press.

Tomaino, C., Scheiby, B., Asmussen, S., Ramsey, D., Shah, V., & Goldstein, A. (1999). The effects of a music therapy intervention on the levels of depression, anxiety/agitation, and quality of life experienced by individuals diagnosed with early and middle stage dementias: A controlled study. Final Report to the 1996 Dementia Grants Projects, Office of Continuing Care, New York State Department of Health.

Tomaino, C.M. (1999). Active Music Therapy Approaches for Neurologically Impaired Patients. In Maranto (Ed.). Music Therapy and Medicine: Theoretical and Clinical Applications. pp. 115-122. American Music Therapy Association, Inc.

Tomaino, C.M. (1998) (Ed.). Clinical Applications Of Music in Neurologic Rehabilitation. St. Louis. MMB Music, Inc.

Tomaino, C. M. (1998). Music and Memory. In Tomaino (Ed.) Clinical Applications Of Music in Neurologic Rehabilitation. St. Louis. MMB Music, Inc.

Tomaino, C.M. (1998). Music on their minds: A qualitative study of the effects of using familiar music to stimulate preserved memory function in persons with dementia. Unpublished Doctoral Dissertation. New York University: UMI.

Tomaino, C.M. (1996). The Influence of Music on Memory in Patients with Dementia. (Final research findings NYDOH grant. Unpublished).

Tomaino, C.M. (1996). “Music Therapy for the Elderly In Long Term Skilled Nursing Care and Short Term Rehabilitation” in Music Therapy International Report Volume 10, pp 69-71.

Tomaino, C.M. (1993). Music and music therapy for the frail non-institutionalized elderly. Journal of Long Term Home Health Care: The PRIDE Institute Journal, 13, (2) pp. 24-27.

Tomaino, C.M. (1993). Music and the limbic system. In F.J. Bejjani (Ed.), Current Research in Arts Medicine. Illinois: A Cappella Books.

Tomaino, C.M. (1991). “Music and Neurological Disorder”, with Oliver W. Sacks, M.D. International Journal of Arts Medicine: Fall 1991 1:1 pp. 7 9, MMB Music.

Tomaino, C.M. (1990). Music Therapy is Vital in Neurological Cases, with Oliver Sacks. [Letter to the Editor]. New York Times (June 4, 1991)

Tomaino, C.M. (1989). “Comparison of Three Piano Techniques as an Implementation of a Proposed Experimental Design” with F.J. Bejjani,M.D.,Ph.D. et al. Medical Problems of Performing Artists.


Xu, N.; Bejjani, F.J.; Titiloye,V.M.; Lei, L.; Tomaino, C.M.; and Lockett, R. “Conversion of forearm surface EMG into Force: Experimental design and pilot study.” In: Anderson, P.A., Hobart, D.J., and Danoff, J.V. (eds), Electromyographical kinesiology. Amsterdam, The Netherlands: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. 1991.

Titiloye, V.M.; Bejjani, F.J.; Xu, N.; and Tomaino, C.M. “Upper extremity force requirements in violin vibrato: A dynamic electromyographic study.” In: Anderson, P.A., Hobart, D. J., and Danoff, J.V. (eds), Electromyographical Kinesiology. Amsterdam, the Netherlands: Elsevier Science Publishers B.V. 1991.

Bejjani, F.J.; Ferrara, Lu; Xu, N.; Tomaino, C.M.; Pavlidis, L.; Wu, J.; Dommerholt, J. “Synchronized electromyographic, video and sound analysis of piano performance with comparison of three methods.” In: J.J. Presperin (ed), Technology of the Next Decade. Proceedings of the 12th Annual Resna conferences, Washington, D.C.: Resnapress, 1989, pp. 258-259.


Tomaino, C.M. (2001). The Role of Music in the Rehabilitation of Persons with Nueurologic Diseases: Gaining Access to “Lost Memory” and Preserved Function Through Music Therapy. In Music Therapy In Europe: Napoli 2001. pp. 88. The 5th European Music Therapy Congress. Tomaino, C.M. (1997). “Music and Memory: Implications for Persons with Dementia” In Aging Beyond 2000: One World One Future. Book Abstracts, World Congress of Gerontology, Adelaide Australia. pp. 436.

Tomaino, C.M. (1992). “Medical Problems of the Elderly: Implications for Music Therapy Assessment and Intervention.” Proceedings AAMT 21st Anniversary Conference.

Lockett, R.; Bejjani, F.J.; Xu, N.; Tomaino, C.M.; and Ruskin, A. Three-dimensional analysis of cervical motion. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 70(11), A-95, 1989.

Bejjani, F.J.: and Tomaino, C.M. Comparison of three piano methods using state-of-the-art motion analysis technology. Proceedings of the International Society for Music in Medicine. Palm Springs, CA, 1989.

Bejjani, F.J.; Tomaino, C.M.; and Ferrara, L.A. Comparative Acoustic and EMG analysis of Violin Vibrato. Proceedings of the 7th Conference on Medical Problems of Musicians and Dancers. 1989.

Xu, N.; Bejjani, F.J.; Titiloye, L.; Lei, L.; and Tomaino, C.M. “Conversion of forearm surface EMG into force – Experimental design and pilot study.” Proceedings of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology. 1990.

Titoye, V.M.; Bejjani, F.J.; Xu,N.; Tomaino, C.M.; Lei, L. “Upper extremity force requirements in violin vibrato. A dynamic electomyographic study.” Proceedings of the International Society of Electrophysiological Kinesiology. 1990.