Challenge America Co-Founders & Country Music Legends Amy Grant, Vince Gill Host Seventh Challenge America Music Therapy Retreat For Veterans in Nashville May 9-12th

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12 Veterans will participate in the retreat, designed specifically for veterans struggling with post-traumatic stress or traumatic brain injury.    

Country music stars Amy Grant and Vince Gill, along with national Veteran nonprofit Challenge America, will host a music therapy retreat in Nashville from May 9-12th, inviting would-be music therapists to learn the ropes of helping others through songwriting and production. The retreat is also attended by military Veterans, many of whom hope to use music therapy as a solution to combat PTSD and other service-related conditions, and provides the tools and education to provide music therapy to others.


Challenge America is pleased to hold its seventh expert-led music therapy retreat for service members and veterans who struggle with post-traumatic stress and other conditions related to their service in the military. The retreat will take place at country stars Amy Grant and Vince Gill’s farm outside of Nashville.  “Music has given us so much, it’s an honor to be able to help provide Veterans with the space and tools to explore music’s unique ability to heal,” said Amy Grant, honorary co-founder of Challenge America and six-time Grammy award winner. “We’re proud of the way this program has taken off, and the positive effect it has had on the lives of those who have given so much to help defend our country's freedom.”

Adds Dallas Blaney, Challenge America’s Executive Director, “In recognition of music’s transformational qualities, it seemed natural to develop a music therapy program to help Veterans in need. This arm of Challenge America’s programming is creative and exciting, and we looking forward to its continued growth.”


Offered free of charge and directed by board-certified music therapist Susan Bock, each veteran will participate in guitar lessons and mindfulness practices, as well as one-on-one songwriting clinics with established musicians from the Nashville area, including Mark Elliott, Nicole Serrano, Rqcquel Warchol, Gene Miller, Jason Early, and Ken Spooner. The American Music Therapy Association-certified program begins on May 9th and ends with a certification and award ceremony on May 12th, with each music therapist receiving a “program in a box” that includes marketing materials, program outlines and more with which to stand up a music therapy program in their communities.


  • May 9-10: Music therapists begin their lessons with two days of classroom training on PTSD and the ways in which music therapy can help veterans cope. They also learn the business side of running a music retreat, so that they will be well equipped to start their own music therapy service.

  • Evening of May 10: Welcome dinner for the veterans (music therapists attend as well).

  • May 11-12: During the last two days the music therapists receive an experiential education as they observe an actual retreat in motion, which includes group work with a board certified music therapist as well as one-on-one work with a songwriter who helps them tell their story through music.

  • May 12: Closing Concert. The final day ends with a concert that allows the veterans and their songwriters to perform the music they created over the previous two days. Family and friends attend, as well as past participants.

Challenge America’s music therapy program began in 2017, when founders Houston Cowan, Vince Gill and Amy Grant determined a need to help Veterans through the power of music. The program emphasizes music’s ability not only to facilitate self-expression, but also to help reconstruct past events. In the course of each three-day clinic, participants are encouraged to release stress and anger through songwriting, creating mental and emotional space for new narratives and meanings to emerge. Each clinic includes guitar instruction, songwriting lessons, breathing therapy, and family music therapy lessons. Follow-up plans include goal setting and goal adjustment through lessons designed by a Challenge America music therapist, as well as ongoing local guitar lessons and regular updates via Challenge America’s quarterly music therapy newsletter. The music therapy program is in part supported by The Heartstrings Foundation.

Read more about Challenge America’s music therapy program here.