Semper Sound

Music Therapy to Assist Military Rehabilitation

Photo of a member of the US Army, dressed in camouflage, playing a guitar.

Support this program»

The Resounding Joy Semper Sound program provides direct music therapy to military service members and veterans diagnosed with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury), substance abuse and other stress- and trauma-related physical and psychological diagnoses.

All Semper Sound services are provided free of charge and rely entirely upon the success of Resounding Joy community fundraising and philanthropic grants. The Semper Fi Fund» provided seed money to establish the Semper Sound program on military bases. The fund continues to support qualified military personnel who were injured in post-911 combat, in training, or who are coping with life-threatening illness. The Wounded Warrior Project» generously awarded program development grants to the Semper Sound program in 2012 and 2013.

View the 2014 annual report»

Semper Sound, San Diego Military Locations


Naval Medical Center logo

Naval Medical Center San Diego

NMCSD (Naval Medical Center San Diego)
Balboa Park | San Diego, California

Since 2010, Semper Sound has provided group and individual music therapy sessions for wellness, education, peer engagement, quality of life and integration of daily living to WII (Wounded, Ill and Injured) programs at Naval Medical Center San Diego.

VetJam | Semper Sound facilitates VetJam, a weekly recreational music-making program at NMCSD. VetJam provides instrumental instruction on bass, guitar, piano, select string instruments, voice, and ukulele. VetJam reinforces music theory, music therapy and group music-making to sharpen skills toward Semper Sound Band membership and the opportunity to perform in monthly NMCSD Concerts in the Courtyard.

VetJam participation provides the following benefits:

  • Improvement in overall cognitive and neurological functioning
  • Outlet for expressive practice to increase awareness of both self and others
  • Positive coping mechanisms through individual lessons, self-study, and group jam sessions
  • Social support via military and civilian community reintegration based on the fundamental aspects of learning to play and create music

Wounded Warrior Regiment logo

Wounded Warrior Battalion West | Camp Pendleton

WWB-W (Wounded Warrior Battalion West)
United States Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton | Oceanside, California

Since 2011, Semper Sound has provided a wellness-group model for wounded, ill, or injured service members aboard Camp Pendleton.  Participants reside at WWB-W or are enrolled in the ACHIEVE IOP or outpatient care. Clients explore a range of interventions that include the following:

  • Music and Mindfulness/Music for Relaxation
  • Music-led Creative Arts
  • Lyric Analysis/Songwriting
  • Group Music-making

The Semper Sound Band, San Diego

Photo of Semper Sound Band members rehearsing on a hilltop in California.

As active military service members transition to veteran life, they frequently transfer among multiple bases and rehabilitation programs without benefit of continuity and familiarity. Resounding Joy created the Semper Sound Band as a model to provide ongoing support of goals and neurologic music therapy techniques established in prior base-stationed programs.

Amid the safety and familiarity of peers, Semper Sound Band members benefit from the following:

  • Community integration through therapeutic instrumental music performance
  • Engagement in group dynamics
  • Group cohesion
  • Increased insight into others
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Music production and music engineering
  • Practice of appropriate communication
  • Sociobehavioral support
  • Songwriting, lyric interpretation, adapted instrumentation, music arrangement
  • Therapeutic singing

Semper Sound Band members come from all military backgrounds, from current active duty service members to veterans.  The band performs at Naval Medical Center San Diego and upon request for a variety of military and civilian ceremonies.  The band’s repertoire is diverse, and genres include Americana, contemporary rock, country, heavy metal, jazz, and salsa. As their skills mature, band members also write and perform original music.  Want to join the band?  Email Cory Woodrow, Semper Sound Program Coordinator.

Email Cory»
Learn More»

Semper Sound TeleHealth, San Diego

TeleHealth provides distance music therapy services for veterans with PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder), TBI (traumatic brain injury), and other psychological health issues related to military service. When transitioning to veteran status or relocating to areas with limited access to services—conditions that may require increased assistance—service members often find that US Department of Defense coverage diminishes or even ceases.

The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) currently is experiencing a deficit in capacity to cover military rehabilitative services. To fill service gaps and to appeal to communities willing to take leadership roles in veteran care, the VA has begun testing telehealth models. Resounding Joy is prepared to fill the role of telehealth music therapy provider, and, to our knowledge, Resounding Joy is the sole provider of this service to military demographics in the US.

TeleHealth connects military service members and board-certified music therapists using a variety of digital interfaces, including streaming video. TeleHealth music therapists use a goal-based strategy to help heighten client autonomy, independence, and accomplishment, using all the interventions listed below:

  • Music-making
  • Psycho-education
  • Relaxation
  • Songwriting
  • Therapeutic counseling

In 2014, Resounding Joy operated a successful pilot telehealth outreach, but until additional funding becomes available, telehealth is on hold. TeleHealth services are provided free of charge to military service members. The outreach relies entirely upon the success of Resounding Joy community fundraising and philanthropic grants.

Semper Sound, East Coast Locations

Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea
Boston, Massachusetts

The Resounding Joy Semper Sound East Coast military music therapy program provides music therapy and recreational music experiences on a weekly and monthly basis at the Soldiers’ Home in Chelsea, a community in the Greater Boston area of Massachusetts. Customized interventions match the unique needs of clientele, which include veterans from World War II, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom, and Operation Enduring Freedom.

GI Jams Band | Additionally, the GI Jams Band provides musical performances at special events at the Soldiers’ Home. These performances offer a safe and structured platform for military music therapy clients to apply skills honed in therapy, such as socio-behavioral peer engagement. The GI Jams Band performed at a 2015 Veterans Day celebration attended by Charlie Baker, Governor of Massachusetts.