Chair of the Center for Music Therapy since 2004 and a Clinical Music Therapist at The Music Settlement since 1988, Ronna Kaplan has served clients ranging from premature infants to adults through 103 years-of-age with varied disabilities and levels of functioning. Her special interests are young children and individuals with diagnoses on the autism spectrum, language delays and/or problems in the area of social skills, as well as teen parents or those with mental illness. She was instrumental in developing the Center’s Outcomes-Based Measurement tool and program and supervised many TMS Center for Music Therapy interns . Ronna served as TMS Interim Co-Executive Director and Acting Director of the Performing Arts Department/Music School for several months in 2007.
Ronna earned a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy and Music Education from Michigan State University and a Master of Arts in Special Education from Kent State University. She holds a Certificate in Nonprofit Management from the Mandel Center for Nonprofit Organizations at Case Western Reserve University, as well as certificates in DIRR/FloortimeTM Basic Course and Orff Level I. She completed her Neurologic Music Therapy training from the Robert F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy at Colorado State University’s Center for Biologic Medical Research in Music. Ronna conducted research on the effects of music on premature infants in Cleveland Clinic’s Neonatal Intensive Care Unit, as well as music therapy program goals and outcomes for clients with autism spectrum diagnoses at The Music Settlement and diversity in music therapy. Additionally, she taught classes in Music Therapy Practicum and Adapted Percussion classes at Baldwin-Wallace College for 14 years.
She has held significant positions in state, regional, and national music therapy organizations. She served as President of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) from 2010-2011, and she co-chaired the AMTA’s Autism Think Tank/Task Force from 2008-2009 and the AMTA Diversity Task Force from 2010- 2015. She served as Chair of the Early Childhood Music Therapy Network from its inception in 1994 until 2006. She was a member of the Masters Level Entry subcommittee from 2012-2017. Ronna has published articles and book chapters, written music therapy columns for the Huffington Post, guest lectured at colleges and universities, and presented nationally and internationally. She was honored with the Association of Ohio Music Therapists Past Presidents' Club Award in 2011, the AMTA Professional Practice Award in 2003, the Great Lakes Region of AMTA’s Service Award in 1997 and their Honorary Life Member Award in 2014.
Currently, Ronna serves as a member of AMTA’s Editorial Board for one of their professional journals, Music Therapy Perspectives, and is a member of the their Autism Taskforce. She became the Chair of the National Coalition of Creative Arts Therapies Associations (NCCATA) in October 2016. Locally she is a member of the Cuyahoga County Advisory Committee for Persons with Disabilities and serves on their Social Issues and Mental Health and Developmental Disabilities subcommittees.
MA, Special Education, Kent State: B.Mus., Music Therapy and Music Education, Michigan State University