The Fulton County Music Therapy interns are on their final stretch of internship. They only have a little more than six weeks remaining in their internship with us. At this point in the school year, they are leading their full caseloads and prepping to enter the professional world as music therapists. Pictured above is intern Carlee Efeney at Cambridge High School working on a music therapy intervention targeting toward telling time. Pictures provided by music therapist Brianna Henderson.
The music therapy team is busy meeting together at Centennial High School reviewing and analyzing music therapy assessments. It's in our vision to write a music therapy assessment as a department, so we decided to review all the literature that exists to start. The department split into teams and read various assessment and are reporting their findings during our professional development day for January.
With music therapist Tasia Carter, Wolf Creek Elementary School’s Exceptional Children’s Department participated in the “Santa’s Playlist” holiday show in conjunction with the general music classes under the instruction of Casey Hall. This year the exceptional children classes were placed into three groups to perform three holiday favorites.
The preschool special education classes performed “’Zat You Santa Claus?” by Dr. Teeth and the Muppets. This particular piece, while focused on performance, worked on attention to task, motor skills, and communication. Not to mention they were all dressed as Santa Claus.
Next, the Autism classes performed “Comin’ Down the Chimney” by the Learning Station. This song worked on attention skills, motor skills, and listening. The students in the three classes gave a tremendous performance that resulted in an outburst of praise from the audience.
The kindergarten special education class performed a thrilling arrangement of “Run Run Rudolph” by Kelly Clarkson. The students all wore reindeer antlers, played inflatable instruments, and frame drums. This song was the most demanding of all the classes. These students were required to stay focused, follow directions, watch for specific cues, use motor skills, and express themselves creatively through dance. The students had a phenomenal time and enjoyed performing for their peers!
The students at Sweet Apple Elementary School participated in their annual holiday show with music therapist Amber Weldon-Stephens. The students worked on communication and motor goals, as well as music skills during the performance and practices. Ms. Amber was even able to recruit the alumni drum line to participate in the show. Congrats on a job well done, Sweet Apple!
In keeping tradition, students at Alpharetta Elementary School also led a school-wide sing along for all of the students and staff- including some special reindeer visitors. It was so fun to see many of our students up on stage this year under the direction of music therapist Kirby Carruth, utilizing power links and adaptive switches to create a winter wonderland of lights and sound! All of the students worked so hard, and are so thankful to continue this tradition each year.
It was a festive holiday tour when students from Alpharetta Elementary School, under the direction of music therapist Kirby Carruth, performed their favorite holiday hits at the North Learning Center and Jackson Healthcare last week. To prepare for the fun field trips, students learned songs and incorporated turn taking, imitation of fine and gross motor movements, and following multi-step directions. Santa even made a visit to Jackson Health Care! The teachers at Alpharetta Elementary School are so thankful for generous support and sponsors like Jackson Healthcare each year.
On Thursday, December 13th, Hillside Elementary performed their 3rd annual "A Very Happy Hillside Holiday" singalong under the direction of music therapist Emily Minkow. Over 50 students sat on stage together and performed songs to celebrate various December holidays. While singing, dancing, playing instruments, and utilizing American Sign Language (ASL), these students strengthened multiple domain areas including motor, cognitive, and social-communication. This year, Hillside was excited to include the entire schools' students and staff, as well as family and friends in the audience. Additionally, the finale number "A Million Dreams" included singing from some of Mr. Murphy's 2nd grade students as all performers joined them with ASL. Hillside concluded the performance with a breakfast reception to celebrate this festive occasion.
Hard to believe that it's time for mid-evaluations in our internship program, but the interns are officially halfway through. All interns met with their team of supervisors today to discuss their strengths and areas for improvement as they prepare to take on their full caseloads starting in January. Just a few short weeks and the interns will be leading everything come January. Congrats to them for making it halfway!
Students at all of our schools are getting ready for the Thanksgiving Holiday coming up. The music therapists in Fulton County Schools have been busy helping our students prep for the holidays.
From all of the music therapists here in Fulton County Schools, we wish you the Happiest Thanksgiving!
David Vandewalker, the Coordinator of Performing Arts, and Amber Weldon-Stephens, Music Therapy Director, went to the Fulton County Legacy of Excellence Awards to celebrate Rachel Coon-Arnott as the Lake Windward Elementary Teacher of the Year. There were hundreds of people in attendance at the Georgia World Congress Center celebrating teachers, principals, professionals and partnerships of the year. Way to go Rachel!
The leaves are changing colors and the spookiest time of year is almost here. Music therapists all over Fulton County have been gearing up for the season and holiday with all sorts of interventions to address many needs.
"Reach into the cauldron, tell me what you feel. Can you describe it before the big reveal?"
Brittany Taylor-Stewart's students were reaching into the cauldron and using their descriptive words and sense of touch to help decipher what might be inside the cauldron before they saw it with their eyes.
Students with music therapist Brittany Taylor-Stewart were using their expressive communication skills to rank spooky songs/videos on a "Spook-o-Meter" scale.
"3 Little Pumpkins were sitting on the hay, one little pumpkin rolled away!"
What a great opportunity for our little ones to practice left to right progression, number concepts, and turn-taking with our music therapy intern Miss Kelly.
"It's Fall, That's All!"
Students of music therapist Kirby Carruth enjoyed sensory play as a group
to celebrate the fall season.
At Wolf Creek Elementary, music therapy intern Ms. Carlee led the students in a Halloween/Fall sensory activity. Can you describe what you feel?
On Friday October 5th, board certified music therapist Angie Sylas came to Fulton County Schools to give her presentation about how to navigate movement differences in the music therapy environment. Throughout the presentation, Angie discussed how behaviors are caused by firings under the skin and how to better understand those firings to meet the needs of our students. Huge thanks for Angie for the wealth of information she gave us during this presentation.
Finally, our last intern spotlight is McKensie Podell, or Kenzi. She attended college at Georgia College and State University in Milledgeville, GA. One summer, Kenzi studied music therapy in Jamaica and learned how to play Nyabinghi drums. Something different about Kenzi revolves around her living situation in college. She lived in a haunted historic home in Milledgeville while completing her studies. If you Google "haunted home in Milledgeville, GA" the house Kenzi lived in is the first one to show up on the web-search.
During internship, Kenzi is most excited to learn all about the different techniques from our diverse group of therapists. Welcome, Kenzi!
Our fourth intern spotlight is Erika Lowenthal. She attended the University of Miami. While in college, Erika learned about music therapy in Ghana, Africa on a two week study abroad program. This was a perfect opportunity for her because outside of music, Erika loves to travel and learn about other cultures.
During her internship, Erika is most excited to learn from all the different music therapists and other interns. Welcome, Erika!
Our third intern spotlight is none other than Ms. Emily Keith! She is our only graduate student this year in internship. She received her BA in Music and psychology minor from Western Kentucky University. She is working to complete her Master of Music with a music therapy emphasis at Illinois State University. One of the best music experiences she's had was during a jam session. It was when Emily and another music therapy friend did slide whistle cover of "Let's Call the Whole Thing Off."
Outside of music, Emily is a lifelong girl scout and during her summer job at the Kentucky Governor's Scholars Program, she had a club dedicated to her dog. People could stop by to hang out with him and at the end of the program, Emily distributed coloring pages that looked like her furry friend. During her internship, she is most excited to see how different MT-BCs bring their musicality and therapeutic approach into the field. From that, Emily wants to learn how to take these styles and better shape her identity as a future music therapist. Welcome, Emily!
Our second intern spotlight is Carlee Efeney from Texas Woman's University in Denton, TX. Carlee once played a marimba duet that required her to play on the backside of the instrument, which meant she performed the entire piece upside down. Outside of music, she enjoys scuba diving as she is scuba certified.
Carlee is most excited to learn different methods and styles of music therapy from all of her supervisors during internship. She's excited to use those skills in her future career as a music therapist. Welcome, Carlee!
Kelly Abrams is our first intern spotlight of the 2018-2019 school year. Kelly went to Berklee College of Music where she majored in Music Therapy and minored in psychology. She has had the opportunity to play in Boston's Symphony Hall twice. Outside of music, Kelly enjoys wood burning crafts.
In her internship, Kelly is most most excited to learn about and see the different music therapists’ approaches, and to determine how she can use that knowledge to develop her own music therapy style. Welcome, Kelly!
On Saturday September 22nd, the Music Therapy Association of Georgia (MTAG) hosted a continuing education event called the "Singing Journey Workshop." Virginia Schenck, a jazz vocalist and music therapist, lead the workshop for fellow music therapists and music therapy students at Georgia College and State University. Vocal improvisation and sound exploration techniques were used throughout to encourage different styles and learn new techniques for vocal interventions.
The 2018-2019 Fulton County Music Therapy Interns have begun their internship. On Friday September 7th, the interns met with internship director AmberWeldon-Stephens at Sweet Apple Elementary School for an instructional day where all interns received their school/supervisor assignments as well as other assignments for the course of their internship. After the conclusion of the information meeting, the interns met all sixteen music therapists and Fulton County's Performing Arts Coordinator, David Vandewalker, for a welcome luncheon. The interns first few weeks will be spent observing therapists throughout the county before starting to work with the students in early October.
NPR did a segment about the Parkland High School students this past week. Over the summer, the students at Parkland were invited to participate at Camp Shine. Camp Shine is a camp designed around using artistic expression to inspire hope after a tragedy. All of the counselors at Camp Shine are certified therapists or counselors and their program curriculum was created by Jessica Asch, a drama therapist from New York. Due to the variety of creative therapists employed at camp, the students were able to receive many different creative arts therapies including music therapy.
During the segment played on NPR on August 16th, host David Greene was allowed to sit in on a songwriting workshop where students were using music to heal, relax and calm themselves. You can listen to the segment here.
The music therapists in Fulton County have been busy this week. It was the first official week seeing students and to celebrate a successful first week back, here are some highlights from a few interventions the therapists have been doing this week.
An idea that was presented at our therapist kick off meeting, was an "I Spy" game related to school supplies. While therapists Marsha Lane and Kirby Carruth came up with the idea, Jessica Brodley-Lopez adapted it to meet her students' needs with the addition of sight words. Students all over the county went on a scavenger hunt searching for common school supplies to work on object identification and sight word recognition. After all, "I spy with my little eyes the things we use for school supplies."
Nicole Wright also adapted this idea for her students by turning it into a counting intervention. The pictures for this are below.
Shown above, students in Kirby Carruth's, Emily Minkow's and Brittany Taylor-Stewart's classes filled out a personal information form describing their musical interests. These middle and high school students worked on answering various wh-questions to express their likes and dislikes.
Some students at the elementary schools participated in various literacy activities using musical stories like "Pete the Cat" and "There Was An Old Lady Who Swallowed Some Books."
And finally, enjoy this video clip from therapist Nicole Wright using a hello song written by our own, Emily Minkow, to elicit spontaneous speech from her elementary schoolers.