Jessica Brizuela, MT-BC is a harpist, board certified music therapist, certified neurologic music therapist, and music educator from southern California, currently residing in Pasadena, CA. She wears many different hats as she loves to be active and continue learning. Her primary passions lie with music and medicine and is an advocate of the importance of integrating music and the arts for wellness.
Graduating on scholarship from Berklee College of Music in the class of Felice Pomeranz, Jessica has joined a new harp generation trained not only in classical but also jazz, Latin, and other contemporary styles. With her unique background as a cultured harpist, Jessica has performed in a variety of places such as Boston Symphony Hall and in France at the Camac Harp Festival. Jessica continued her education in harp performance at Azusa Pacific University on scholarship with her longtime harp instructor, Bonnie Mohr.
Jessica is actively involved in the harp community having served roles at Pacific Harps, the Los Angeles Harp Ensemble, and as a board member of the Los Angeles Chapter of the American Harp Society. From 2017-2018, Jessica spent 6 months abroad as a harpist based out of Mumbai, Maharastra touring India and surrounding Southeast Asian countries with Sound Spirit Events. Today she continues to freelance playing for weddings, memorials, and various other corporate and special events in southern California.
As a Board Certified Music Therapist, Jessica believes that the harp is an instrument perfectly suited for helping and healing others. Jessica has worked in a variety of populations including geriatrics, psychiatrics, pediatrics, special needs, and medical settings.
During her time as a student, Jessica served on the board of the New England Region of the American Music Therapy Association Students (NER-AMTAS) for three years, two of those years being President. She presented in various conferences ranging from student, regional, and national levels and she participated in the first of many international services trips to the Cayman Islands working with adults with developmental disabilities.
Upon completing a hybrid internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles and Sherrill House Skilled Nursing & Rehabilitation Center, Jessica became certified in Neurologic Music Therapy at the Center of Biomedical Research in Colorado State University. Alongside of this, she continued her interest in advocating for music therapy on an international level by taking part in various services trips to Mexico to promote medical music therapy and work with children in need.
She continues working with a wide range of clientele. Since she also earned a certification in grant writing & nonprofit management, she has enjoyed working with nonprofits such as Children’s Music Fund where she helped start new music therapy programs in places like Huntington Memorial Hospital pediatric unit. Currently, she works primarily in private practice focusing on serving senior populations and with individuals on the Autism spectrum.
Since 2008, Jessica has been teaching private lessons in harp, piano, and guitar to students that vary in ages and abilities from beginning to intermediate levels. Starting in 2013, Jessica began teaching in the school settings, leading music groups at Carpenter Charter School before branching out to other schools. In 2017, she became the harp coach at Walnut High School directing their harp ensemble.
Jessica also taught in the Pasadena Unified School District at San Rafael Elementary School – teaching bilingual (Spanish/English) general music classes in grades K-2nd – and at Madison Elementary – teaching instrumental and choral music to grades 3rd-5th until leaving to continue her education to work earning a masters an teaching credential.
Jessica enjoys writing and singing with her harp. In 2017, she had the honor of being featured performer at the NALIP Latino Media Awards where she got to showcase her original music. It has been said her smooth voice is perfectly suited for the harp, making a perfect pairing.
Being a music therapist, Jessica knows the power music has to provide a cathartic and expressive outlet and it is because of this she started writing songs of her own and doing unique covers. Her music draws from her gentle nature along with subtle rhythmic grooves on the harp influenced by her Latin American roots. Inspired by real life experiences, her therapeutic heartfelt sounds pull on the heart strings while also pulling the harp strings.
Jessica performs regularly in various Centers for Spiritual Livings such as Ahiah, Ventura, and Spirit Uncensored events.
Jessica’s compassion and empathy shines through her work. She continues to use her skill and love for music to help others that are too often ignored and who are not completely satisfied with all modern medicine has to offer.
To continue linking her passions of music and medicine. Jessica completed a pre-health professional post-baccalaureate program at California State University, Los Angeles with goals of delving deeper in the health field. In this journey, she hopes to gain a deeper scientific understanding to help better serve her clients and to transform the field with her unique background, continuing to advocate for music and the arts in wellness to help address the healing of an individual as a whole through mind, body, and spirit.
She has involved herself in the Latino Medical Student Association and MiMentor, a nonprofit that develops and supports innovative mentorship opportunities inspiring the next generation of healthcare leaders.
As a self care from working and studying, Jessica participates in running events and triathlons, raising money for various charitable organizations such as The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society with Team in Training. Currently, she is training for a full Ironman of a total of 140.6 miles to take place in July 2020 – please consider donating.
She also enjoys dancing salsa, bachata, and Bollywood and can be seen as a regular at Athletic Garage Dance Center. She has performed in various local and international shows, festivals, and parades.