Dawn Sandel

Director of Music Therapy Clinical Field Education


Dawn Sandel is the Director of Music Therapy Clinical Field Education at The University of Alabama (UA). She joined the School of Music in August of 2021 after providing 15 years of music therapy services at the RISE Center, an inclusion preschool at UA for children ages 8 weeks-5 years. Before moving to Alabama, Dawn was employed as a music therapist at Big Bend Hospice in Tallahassee, FL, where she also completed her music therapy internship. Dawn earned a Bachelor of Music (music therapy) degree from The University of Dayton and a Master of Arts in Education (early childhood special education) from The University of Alabama at Birmingham. During her time in Dayton, Dawn and singer-songwriter, Jon Dittert (Lexington, KY), wrote and recorded the 11-track album Winter in Lexington (available on most digital platforms). She was a member of Dayton’s Backporch Jam bluegrass band, and performed with renowned saxophonist and composer, Bobby Streng (Ann Arbor, MI), and Emmy-winning bass player and producer, the late Eric Suttman (Dayton, OH). In 2013, Dawn played the role of Murlyka (vocals and guitar) in Hermitage Cats Save the Day, a children’s jazz musical written by Chris Brubeck and Mary Ann Allin. The show premiered at The University of Alabama, The National Gallery of Art in Washington, DC, and the Hermitage Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Dawn previously served as chair of the Alabama Music Therapy State Task Force. In 2016, she was a recipient of the “Teacher Excellence” award from the Nick’s Kids Foundation (Nick & Terry Saban). She currently serves as a WellBAMA Ambassador for UA’s Office of Health Promotion and Wellness and she is a member of the American Music Therapy Association. Dawn performs at events in and around Tuscaloosa where she resides with her family.