Roberta Adler is the founder of the music therapy curriculum at Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, and became its first graduate in June, 1973. (The curriculum has relocated, and is still active, at the University of Windsor, Ontario, Canada.) She was the founder and first President of the Student Music Therapy Association. Following internship at a psychiatric hospital and the establishment of a small private practice in Michigan serving children and adults with intellectual disabilities and adults with psychiatric disorders, she relocated to California in 1978.
Mrs. Adler spent a year as a special education instructor at a private school, and three years as a Program Director at an Intermediate Care Facility for Developmentally Disabled persons (ICFDD).
She has been a Registered or Board Certified Music Therapist since 1974. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Neurologic Music Therapy, and holds a Community College Lifetime Instructor’s Credential and an Adult School Credential.
Honors and awards include the Howard J. Donnelly Award (given by Wayne State University in lieu of the valedictorian/salutatorian awards); the Shallway Foundation Award for Professional Excellence in Public Performance (1973); and the Western Region of the American Music Therapy Association Professional Practice Award (2000).
Since 1999, Mrs. Adler has mentored nearly 50 interns from all over the United States and many other countries. She has also welcomed music therapy practicum students.
Mrs. Adler owns one patent, for the Adapt-a-Pick, a device designed to facilitate simultaneous two-person use of an autoharp/Q-chord between a client and a therapist. She is the author of Musical Assessment of Gerontolotic Needs and Treatment: The MAGNET Survey. She has contributed research to the American Music Therapy Association in support of the inclusion of music therapy on the MDS (Minimum Data Set), a global assessment tool used to authorize therapy services for Medicare recipients. She has made numerous presentations at professional conferences.
A lyric coloratura soprano with operatic experience, Roberta Adler plays guitar, fretted dulcimer, and keyboard. She is President of Southern California Dulcimer Heritage and Co-Director of a youth fretted dulcimer ensemble.
Married to a newspaper reporter, her personal interests include her family and friends, collecting hand blown glass, folk and Celtic music, composition, and remaining an active member of her religious congregation.