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Dr. Lee Anna Rasar

Lee Anna Rasar
  • Professor of Music Education/Music Therapy
  • Music and Theatre Arts

Lee Anna Rasar has received over 90 grants, with over 50 involving faculty –student collaborative research in the fields of music therapy and music education – adaptive music. The most recent series of grants have included making musical mood induction recordings to support students in dealing with emotions/mood states they reported experiencing and studying neurodiversity in terms of how people who are neurodiverse hear and respond to music differentially. Research for adaptations for making learning music accessible to juveniles and to residents of a dementia unit explored rhythms and dance and movement to music along with other topics. Recent research has continued to focus on connecting national and state standards for the arts with adaptations for accessibility and success for people with a variety of special needs and has also included a series of Latin rhythms and percussion applications grants. Social Justice Standards and Social Emotional Learning Applications were also included in the percussion grant. Many of the grants focused on the use of research in the field to assess, develop and revise new curriculum and to integrate national competencies and standards into the curriculum as well as on the use of harmonica for health reasons and on anger management in a jail/prison setting. Follow up work included a series of grants to explore Integrative Learning in music therapy and music education after Rasar served as a UW –System Fellow in this arena for two years. Work to integrate graphics and different types of text review to support concept learning in the Influence of Music on Behavior course is another area of recent focus. Refer to CV for a listing of grants and juried presentations.

Rasar teaches students from many different cultures and works in music therapy in the community with people from different cultures. Exploring the humility needed for using multicultural music and an awareness of the complexity of issues involved has become an integral part of her clinical work and her presentations at regional and national music therapy conferences along with anger management and harmonica research. She likes to integrate music from the cultures of her patients in her clinical work and has become especially interested in kalimba and steel pan music in this past decade. She is a frequent presenter on topics related to Gerontology and music due to her research at the Syverson Lutheran Home and received a state award for her volunteer work there. She received the local Jefferson Award for her volunteer work in the community at the Northwest Regional Juvenile Detention Center, Eau Claire County Jail, Sacred Heart Hospital, River Pines/River Prairie and Chippewa Manor Nursing Home and Retirement Community several times weekly over a period of 31 years, having been nominated by the school staff at the juvenile detention center. She is now in her 33rd year of volunteering there.

Lee Anna has engaged in research on the use of harmonicas in health and in November 2020 created 3 new prototypes of medical harmonicas with her research partner in Canada, John Schaman, M. D. They presented a continuing ed session in March 2021 at a music therapy conference which reviewed harmonica research and advocated for a way to dose the effectiveness of harmonica by using respiratory inductance plethysmography. Here is a link to a podcast with them from August 2020: . Lee Anna has presented many conference sessions for continuing ed in recent years on different aspects of ethical issues related to culturally respectful presentation of diverse music, including at the national and regional music therapy conferences with up to 7 colleagues representing different cultures and roles/experiences joining her.

At the university level Rasar received the Max Schoenfeld Distinguished Professor Award and the Excellence in Mentoring Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity  Award in 2022. She has received a Diversity Fellowship, served as a UW – System Teaching Scholar and Teaching Fellow, won a Student Advocacy Award, the American Ethnic Coordinating Office Distinctive Service Award, a Student Recognition Award for excellence in teaching/advising and acceptance and understanding of the individual needs of students with disabilities, and an Excellence in Service Award. One of her websites won the StudyWeb Academic Excellence Award as a featured site for “one of the best educational resources on the Web”. She is a member of Phi Beta Kappa, Pi Kappa Lambda, Mu Phi Epsilon, Phi Kappa Phi, Kappa Delta Epsilon, and Chi Delta Phi.

Rasar has received national awards from the American Music Therapy Association for her work in Clinical Practice and for her Service to the profession. She served as a charter member of the committee that authored the Standards of Clinical Practice, as a member of the committee that wrote the first certification exam in music therapy, on every Practice Analysis Committee (sets content for the exam) that the Certification Board for Music Therapists has conducted, on numerous committees for them (including as a permanent item-writer) and for the national music therapy association, having chaired major committees for over 3 decades. She maintains her WMTR and her MT-BC and has held them since the inception of both programs. She has served on the Assembly of Delegates for the American Music Therapy Association for over 43 years and served as President of both the largest and the smallest regions of NAMT/AMTA.

Rasar works in music therapy private practice and is also an employee of Western Wisconsin Music in Medicine. She began her career at the Children’s Hospital in New Orleans and then worked with Therapy Associates of Louisiana, starting music therapy programs in over 30 hospitals in the New Orleans area. She was chosen by Ft. Hood to help design therapeutic programming for their staff and families after the shooting there and presented anger management sessions at the Super Max prison in Colorado and also presented music therapy sessions and designed programming for a privately owned state prison with specialty units for chemotherapy, dialysis, hospice, and TB-M. Lee Anna did a Fellowship in NMT through the Robert F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapists. She holds certifications in infant stimulation, clinical indicators of mental health disturbance in the first 18 months of life, neuromuscular disorders, trauma, sensory integration, prison ministry, and has done post-graduate work at Harvard Medical School and in the field of music and neuroscience. Her web sites make useful information on her topics of interest available to the general public. Refer to CV to view the web sites.

Rasar enjoys volunteering, gardening, cooking, and playing music, having performed in a local flute ensemble and as a section leader and board member for the Chippewa Valley Concert Band in addition to performing in her volunteer work.

  • B.A., University of Alabama
  • M.M.E., University of Georgia
  • Fellow, Robert F. Unkefer Academy of Neurologic Music Therapists, Colorado State University