Laura Pawuk

Photo of Laura Pawuk
Laura G Pawuk (Laura)
Faculty Specialist in Music Therapy
3029 Dalton Center, Mail Stop 5434
Mailing address: 
School of Music
Western Michigan University
1903 W Michigan Ave
Kalamazoo MI 49008-5434 USA
  • M.M., Music Therapy, Western Michigan University, 1999
  • B.S., Speech Pathology and Audiology, Miami University, 1994

 Laura Pawuk, MM, MT-BC has joined the School as a faculty specialist in music therapy.  She is a proud graduate of WMU’s Master’s and Equivalency program in Music Therapy and earned her undergraduate degree is in Speech Pathology and Audiology from Miami University (Ohio) where she minored in piano performance.  In 2009 Pawuk earned a certificate for Professional Training in Music Imagery, an adaptation of the Bonny Method of Guided Imagery and Music from the Therapeutic Arts Institute.

Prior to joining the Music Therapy Department at WMU as the Clinical Faculty Specialist, Pawuk worked as a music therapist throughout the greater-Chicago area for nineteen years.

After completing her internship at Lutheran General Hospital, Pawuk worked on the memory support unit at Brentwood North Nursing and Rehabilitation where she provided individual and group music therapy sessions for those living with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, dementia, and strokes.

As Evanston Northshore Hospital she specialized in caring for women on bedrest due to high-risk pregnancies, individuals and their families living with cancer, people with strokes and brain injuries, and those in hospice and palliative care.  She collaborated with her team to expand the music therapy program from a part-time music therapy position to a full-time position with three additional music therapists.

Pawuk focused on end of life care for twelve years at Rainbow Hospice and Palliative Care, Inc. where she worked with all ages of patients, families, staff, volunteers, and those who are grieving the loss of a loved-one.  She served as co-founder and co-leader of Hospice Music Therapists of Chicago, organized and hosted educational events and workshops about music therapy in hospice and palliative care, supervised dance/movement therapy and art therapy interns, provided music for memorial services and agency rituals, and trained and supervised volunteer musicians.  Two of her songs are included in the CD set, “Honoring the Passage:  Voices from Hospice Music Therapy and Beyond”.  Pawuk’s collaboration with administrators resulted in the creation of two additional full-time music therapy positions.

During her last three years in Chicago, Pawuk was a member of the Creative Arts Therapies Team at Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago where she joined interdisciplinary teams to care for patients and their families undergoing treatment for cystic fibrosis, sickle cell anemia, neurological disorders, short gut syndrome, organ transplants, cancer, and blood disorders.  She was also a member of the Cochlear Implant Program team and provided out-patient music therapy for cochlear implant recipients ages 1 – 18.  Pawuk collaborated with her colleagues to generate a comprehensive creative arts therapies assessment, provide supervision to music and art therapy interns, and add an additional music therapist to the team.

Pawuk has been called a “trailblazer” by colleagues; she successfully worked with administrators in a variety of healthcare settings to generate substantial funding through grants and donations, including the 2001 Highland Park Women’s Auxiliary Fundraiser Award of $800,000.  These collaborations resulted in the creation of five new music therapy programs and nine new music therapy positions throughout the greater-Chicago area.  Her program development work is described in a co-authored article in Home Healthcare Nurse, January, 2010 entitled, “Introducing Music Therapy in Hospice and Palliative Care: An Overview of One Hospice's Experience”.

Pawuk is a presenter who has offered numerous workshops and presentations autonomously and in collaboration with colleagues at local, regional, national, and international conferences including the American Music Therapy Association, the World Congress of Music Therapy, the Association for Music and Imagery, and the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization.  Topics have addressed music therapy in clinical practice, program development, creative arts therapies assessment, intern supervision, and educating volunteers and staff to provide music for patients and families safely and effectively.

Pawuk extends herself outside the clinical setting to teach.  She taught courses about music therapy, music medicine, and special needs learners for Northwestern University’s Master of Music in Music Education program.  For nine years, she was a visiting lecturer in the Honors College of the University of Illinois-Chicago teaching, “Music Therapy - Music Medicine:  A Multi-Cultural Examination” among others.

Pawuk is the owner of Living Resonance, LLC, which for over 20 years has cared for individuals with Alzheimer’s, dementia, Parkinson’s, stroke, brain injuries, and their families.  Her private practice also includes a piano studio offering adapted lessons for people ages 5 to 95 with needs of typical and gifted learning styles, visual impairments, limited mobility, developmental delay, and dyslexia.

Pawuk is a member of the American Music Therapy Association, Michigan Music Therapists, and the Association for Music and Imagery.  She has been certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists since 1999.