Marisa Nuñez, Marisa Hair, Long Island City, NY

Meredith Pizzi

Roman Music Therapy

Wakefield, Massachusetts

“To have that vote of confidence from Ascendus meant more than the money did.” –Meredith Pizzi

She’s Gonna Fly Now

“It might sound ridiculous, but my earliest memory is of a toy piano.” Meredith Pizzi was two years old and her grandfather had just passed away. Too young to attend the funeral, she stayed behind at her grandparents’ neighbor’s house while the rest of her family went. Meredith remembered feeling upset, yet as soon as she sat down to play the toy piano, a sense of comfort came over her.

Meredith started playing trumpet in the fifth grade and joined her school’s jazz band. It was after a performance of “Gonna Fly Now” from the motion picture Rocky that Meredith recognized the profound connection she felt to others through the power of music. “We still talk about that concert. Feeling that level of connection and understanding and life-giving force that is music, that’s what it was for me. It opened my eyes to what happens when people come together and make music.”

Meredith knew it was exactly what she wanted to do. She wanted to transform lives through music. It was her piano teacher who introduced her to music therapy.

A Vote of Confidence from Ascendus

Roman Music Therapy Services initially started as a private practice, with Meredith as the sole employee. But as the demand for her services grew, so did the number of employees, and as a result, the need for capital which Meredith couldn’t provide on her own. At the end of 2016, the organization moved into a facility twice the size of the previous space, quadrupling the rent. In addition, bringing on new staff and music therapy managers meant additional overhead costs. “It was really a challenging, stressful time, probably the hardest time for me of owning a business,” Meredith explained.

Meredith was introduced to Ascendus by her banker at Eastern Bank. She was approved for a loan, which she used for necessary additions to the facilities including putting up blinds in their music rooms for confidentiality and setting up an alarm system. It also provided her with the capital to take on new staff and launch new programs. “The loan helped me tremendously at a time when we really needed it. Without having the financial support of organizations like Eastern Bank and Ascendus, I couldn’t be where I am today,” said Meredith.

Yet the loan approval meant much more than additional financial support. “I felt like you guys believed in me and the importance of my business at a time when I was feeling so stressed with the financial challenges that I had. It’s easy to doubt yourself as an entrepreneur, and to have that vote of confidence from Ascendus meant more than the money did—it really gave me the strength to move forward after such trying times.”

Coming Together


While Meredith’s staff number continues to grow, she is also motivated by another invaluable support team: her family. “We have a very crazy, musical household. People break out into song and show all the time.” Meredith has three young children, each one plays at least one instrument and sings. Her husband plays guitar and studied music therapy as well. Meredith’s children were also some of her first clients, participating in the early childhood programs she created. “It’s really special to me that not only are we providing services that are just good in general, but that my family and my children have had the lifelong benefits of being able to enter into that early childhood music experience.”

Today, Roman Music Therapy Services employs a staff of 17 and serves clients of a wide range of ages and needs, from babies and toddlers to the elderly. Roman Music Therapy Services not only provides support to the individual, but to the family and caregivers behind them. In addition, Roman Music Therapy Services hosts events and programs for the community – most recently, a drum circle of around 45 attendees, whose ages ranged from 6 months to more than 80 years old.

With her financial struggles behind her, Meredith is excited for the future, and has an inspirational vision for what to do with it. In addition to offering a wider breadth of services, Meredith plans to see her organization continue to lead nationally in the music therapy field. “The need for connection in our communities is so great right now. In every town and every community, we need to come together. Our organization can be a key piece of moving things forward.”

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