Music Saved My Life: How Arts Therapy Helped a Master Sergeant Recover from the Wounds of War

Text by Bill O'Brien and audio by Adam Kampe
Music therapist Rebecca Vaudreuil and Michael Schneider, a retired Marine Corps Master Sergeant. Photo by Bill O'Brien.  

Two years ago Creative Forces Music Therapist Rebecca Vaudreuil met Master Sergeant Michael Schneider at Walter Reed Medical Center. Newly retired from military service, Schneider was still in treatment for injuries he had suffered during deployment, including traumatic brain injury and PTSD. In this conversation between Schneider and Vaudreuil, he shares how engaging in music therapy allowed him to finally “bypass injuries,” and how he came to understand the true purpose of his healing: “… to put me back into society to help everybody around me, and to be a better person for my family.”

The NEA is partnering with the Department of Defense to place creative arts therapy at the core of patient-centered care for service members at twelve clinical sites around the country, while also increasing access to therapeutic arts activities in local communities for military members, veterans, and their families, and investing in research on the impacts and benefits of these innovative treatment methods. To learn more about the Creative Forces: Military Healing Network, please visit