Bree Kratz: Comfort and Connections through Music
When her niece participated in group music therapy sessions during regular hospital visits, Breanna (Bree) Kratz ’23 became interested in the therapeutic use of music.
“Music is one of my main sources of comfort,” Bree reflected. “It grounds me and helps me grow and connect to other people.” She decided to attend Immaculata, one of just a few Pennsylvania colleges with a music therapy major.
Bree, a Chambersburg, Pennsylvania native, also appreciated that she could continue swimming competitively on Immaculata’s women’s swim team. “I fell in love with IU, and it was pretty much my only choice,” she said. “I’m meant to be here.”
When Bree co-led music on a parish retreat, one of the songs she learned was “Emma’s Lullaby,” named for the composer’s niece. “I play it on the piano or guitar, and I play it when I’m stressed, and I can instantly feel less overwhelmed,” Bree said.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed at times, even though Bree enjoys her studies and activities. On top of majoring in music therapy and swimming, she is a member of Immaculata’s honor society and is minoring in psychology. This year, she will be taking graduate-level music therapy courses at IU and serving as president of the honor society, captain of the women’s swimming team, mentor for first-year students and personal relations representative for Immaculata’s music therapy club.
In recognition of Bree’s leadership and service at Immaculata, she will receive the Saint Catherine Medal in September. The award is sponsored by Kappa Gamma Pi, a national honor society for graduates of Catholic colleges, and the medal is named for Saint Catherine of Alexandria, who represents wisdom, fortitude and Christian service. “I hope that I can continue to be worthy of this honor and to display these values of St. Catherine throughout and beyond my years at Immaculata,” Bree commented.
Bree has developed connections with coaches, professors and friends who support her and help her take care of herself. She has learned to take the time to have a jam session and enjoy what she’s doing so she stays grounded.
“I live a pretty fast-paced life, with everything I do,” she said. “My advisors check in with me and encourage me, saying, ‘I know you can do it; you’ve done well so far.’ They are both really supportive in making sure I can achieve what I want to achieve while I’m here.”
Swim practice gives Bree a rest from mental effort and allows her to release stress through physical effort. She has noticed that her mentality shifts during swim meets—though she may be tired after her classes, getting into the water and seeing her teammates energizes her.
Bree also feels energized when she visits her niece, who always asks her to play the piano and sing with her, usually “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” and “Emma’s Lullaby,” which Bree taught her. “I see her personality come to life,” she notes.
During her music therapy practicum last year, Bree worked with children with disabilities. “One of my favorite interventions to do with the kids was our drumming improvisations, where each child was given the opportunity to play however they would like, and the rest of the group would copy them. This intervention was great for turn-taking, following and listening to classmates and self-expression, to name a few. Working in this setting allowed me to grow my clinical repertoire and grow my skills more than I had anticipated. It has given me a new and stronger passion for my studies, and I am thrilled to continue this journey with my classmates and advisors.”
[box]Update March 2023
Bree Kratz was featured in a story in the Western PA Sports Blog. Read more.[/box]