Integrated Search Menu

Robin Rio

Profile photo

Robin Rio began her work at Arizona State University in 1998 as assistant professor of music therapy, achieving the rank of associate professor at ASU in 2004. Rio is director of the ASU Music Therapy Clinic, providing programming and services to people with diverse needs. In 2010, a new community outreach focus, “The Center” at the ASU Music Therapy Clinic was established to reach larger groups in the community, with broader applications in wellness and recreational programming. Community partners in collaboration with Ms. Rio include Kymla Eubanks, MT-BC and Kerry Draney, MT-BC of Higher Octave Healing, who provide Life Coaching, Adaptive Yoga, Support Groups and an Arts Camp for children with Special Needs, in addition to traditional individualized and small group music therapy. Frank Thompson, founder of AZ Rhythm Connections, has partnered to provide hand drumming and drum circle facilitation to community members, as well as training for ASU Music Therapy students, through a grant from REMO. Thompson provides organizational and business expertise, and is a seasoned veteran of large group leadership. Nate Anderson, founder of Ear Candy Charity, has partnered with ASU MT through The Center, in the way of leadership and support for music education through high quality donated instruments and collaboration with many community volunteers whose main focus is bringing music education and therapy to underserved populations.

Rio teaches undergraduate and graduate classes for the ASU Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts Music Therapy Program, including: Repertoire for Music Therapy, Music Therapy as a Behavioral Science, Music in Recreation, Introduction to Music Therapy, Clinical Supervision and Administration for Music Therapy, Advanced Practice in Music Therapy, Improvisation, and Accompaniment. Outside the classroom, Rio provides supervision to students who are doing clinical placements and internships in the ASU MT Clinic and in the many outreach programs in the community.

Since her arrival at ASU, Rio has focused her research in music therapy on clinical applications including: Children at-Risk, Adolescent Offenders in treatment for Conduct Disorder and related Psychiatric issues, Homeless Adults in Recovery, Older Adults with Dementia, and hospitalized Oncology patients. She has published her work in Music Therapy Perspectives, The Arts in Psychotherapy, Southwest Parkinson News, Nursing Spectrum, the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy, The Journal of Music Therapy, and has a book chapter on Effective Music Therapy Practice with the Elderly with the Portuguese Society of Music Therapy. In 2009, her first book, “Connecting Through Music with People with Dementia: A Guide for Caregivers” was published with Jessica Kingsley, providing simple therapeutic music techniques for use by laypersons and music students.

In addition to her publications in music therapy, Rio has presented her work nationally and internationally at conferences and for professional continuing education and training workshops. She is on the faculty of the graduate music therapy program at Universidade Lusiada in Lisbon, Portugal, where she lectures regularly on clinical foundations in music therapy. She has had her work presented for the World Congress of Music Therapy in Oxford, England, and in Seoul, Korea. She is completing a ten- year term on the editorial board for Music Therapy Perspectives, a journal of the American Association of Music Therapy. Her most recent research focuses on Strength Based Improvisation, a method that is being developed for professional music therapists' advanced training in clinical improvisation.

Rio has served the American Association of Music Therapy as the Western Region Vice President and Conference Chair, a member of the Assembly of Delegates, Chair of the Affiliate Relations Committee, member of the Judicial Review Board, and served on several nominating committees. She continues to keep musically active participating in performances with “Synaptic Soul,” an eclectic pop-rock group, and “Daughters of Harriet,” a chanting group that facilitates large circles of song and vocal expression for the music therapy community. "Daughters of Harriet" released, "You are a Song" in 2009, and the group can be heard at the American Music Therapy Association conferences as well as in various interactive performances in the western region.

Rio received her bachelor's in Music Therapy from East Carolina University in 1985 and her Master of Arts in Music Therapy from New York University in 1994. She began her clinical career working with children with severe developmental delays, and then became a music therapist in the long-term care setting working with the elderly, becoming an internship supervisor, and teaching for the City University of New York at Bayside Community College in Queens, NY, from 1994-1998.

  • M.A. Music Therapy, New York University 1994
  • Bachelor's degree. Music Therapy, East Carolina University 1985
Research Interests: 

Research interests include: Music therapy in group work for developing personal insight; Strength-Based Improvisation for therapists and educators; Music and Dementia.

Research Activity: 
Expertise Areas: