On May 9th, Amber Weldon-Stephens was invited to be the guest speaker for the University of Georgia's School of Music Convocation celebrating all the recent UGA School of Music graduates. This was a huge honor and speaks to Amber's many years of service within various UGA programs. Congrats to all the music graduates and our fearless leader for representing music therapy!
Last week, North and South Fulton County held their annual Special Olympic events. On Monday May 6th, all South County Fulton Schools with participants gathered at Langston Hughes High School. On Thursday May 9th, North County did the same at Centennial High School. It was a great time of celebration and reunion between many current and old friends.
A few different news stations covered a story about a little girl named Harper who born with severe spina bifida which make walking a challenge. However, a doctor at John Hopkin's All Children's Hospital in St. Petersburg found the perfect thing to motivate Harper to help her learn to walk - the Baby Shark" song. This is a wonderful story about the motivating power of client-preferred music. The video to the news story is linked above.
On April 26th at their monthly meeting, the music therapy team celebrated Brittany Taylor-Stewart who is expecting a future addition to her family in June 2019. The baby shower was Harry Potter themed and started off our meeting before an in-depth discussion about music therapy assessment. See below for some fun pictures from the afternoon.
Missy Worden, a music therapist on our team says, "I can't go into Spring without teaching the Bunny Hop with some of my little folks. I love it because it not only gets them practicing their skills of jumping with 2 feet, it also hits on sequencing, locomotor movement, following verbal directives, and even tolerating tactile input (from peers!)"
Check out a sweet video below of her special needs preschool participating in this intervention at Heard's Ferry Elementary.
At the Southeastern Regional Music Therapy Conference, the University of Georgia celebrated 50 years of music therapy study at UGA. Many of our music therapy team attended the University of Georgia, as well as previous team members and interns that have been through our department. Congrats to our colleagues for reaching this milestone!
At the Southeastern Regional Music Therapy Conference, a group of music therapists presented at the conference including three of our own, Joe Bailey, Roy Joyner, and Harry Lester, who joined Dr. Roy Kennedy from the University of Georgia. Written below is summation of the presentation from Roy Joyner's words:
"This presentation was a culmination of work from professors, professionals, and internship supervisors. We have been on a quest in recent years in to find out if music therapy interns have the requisite skills on guitar that today’s music therapy profession demands. The bulk of this information was taken by a survey of students completing their course work up to the first half of their clinical internship. With guitar more popular than ever in the field due to its portability, cost, and flexibility to accompany many kinds of music, these skills and the ability to use live music are what sets the music therapists apart from our contemporaries in the allied health fields. This poses us to ask many questions based on how we as professionals use the guitar in our practice. In training interns we have found that spending extra supervision time teaching guitar has become the expected norm. The questions we hoped to answer in the presentation included:
It is our hope that we can open the discussion that will bring a renewed emphasis on the importance of using the guitar as a tool in music therapy. In addition, how we as professionals and intern supervisors can advise programs on how prepared students are when it comes to meeting the guitar needs of the profession. A copy of our survey can be found at this link."
You can find a link to the presentation here.
James Hiller and Susan Gardstrom wrote an article about the risks in all different types of therapies. They state that taking risks is necessary for any significant and enduring change to occur. Specifically, as music therapists, we must be educated about risk-benefit ratios for people who use our services. For example, Hiller and Gardstrom wrote that a possible risk in music therapy could be found in listening experiences. While listening and dancing to the music can be a great stress relief or form of self-expression, some people could find the situation over stimulating and confusing. It's up to each music therapist to understand the environmental situations/clients and make the best therapeutic choice for all involved. You can read the article here.
Thankfully, in Georgia and in Fulton County Schools, all our music therapists are board certified by the Certification Board for Music Therapists, as well as licensed by the State of Georgia ensuring that we have completed proper education prior to practicing music therapy and ensuring that we are continuing our education to stay up-to-date on best music therapy practices so we can always have a great understanding of this risk-benefit ratios.
On Saturday March 23rd, many of the music therapists and all of the music therapy interns gathered at music therapist Tasia Carter's house for a celebration of our current interns. The interns are finishing up their last week in internship and getting ready to say their goodbyes to all the students. Congrats on a job well done, interns! We can't wait to see what you all do in the future as professionals.
On Monday March 18th, Community Based Instruction (CBI) students at John's Creek High School took the stage for their annual show, John's Creek Idol! Students danced, sang and played instruments under the direction of music therapist, Brittany Taylor-Stewart, before joining their friends and family in the atrium for an art gallery and refreshments. Great job, Gladiators!
On March 14th, students at Liberty Point Elementary presented their ECW program “Put a Little Love in Your Heart” with help from our music therapist, Roy Joyner. This program incorporated students and faculty which highlighted the diverse amount of instruction that students receive every week from Adaptive Art, Adaptive PE, Music Therapy, Occupational Therapy, and Speech Language Pathology. The music of “Motown” was used to emphasize the different disciplines to help give parents insight into how their students participate in each of these classes throughout the school day. Narrators were selected from speech only and visually impaired students to read the script which introduced each selection. An outstanding job was done by all! Go LPES Patriots!
The students and staff of Alpharetta Elementary School “dabbed” their way through the decades and all the music genres for this year’s Exceptional Children’s Week show entitled, “On the Radio!” Under the direction of music therapist Kirby Carruth and other members of the special education team, the students participated in dancing, singing, and playing instruments. They even used assistive technology to communicate with the audience and give them the “Applause” and “On Air” cue with the help of some of our special friends. With hits from the 60s, 70s, and 80s- and all their favorite rock n’ roll, country, and hip hop hits, the students were able to showcase all of their unique talents and abilities for their family, friends, and their community. Additionally, to really get into the spirit of ECW, AES students and staff participated in spirit days this year, including Decades Day, Twin Day, and Pajama Day!
On Wednesday March 13th, the Community Based Instruction (CBI) students at Chattahoochee High School participated in their annual show, Hooch Idol! All different types of talents took the stage in the CHS auditorium including singing, dancing and comedy. The students practiced their talents for a more than a month with their music therapist, Brittany Taylor-Stewart. Bravo, Cougars, for a job well-done!
On March 12th, the Community Based Instruction (CBI) students at Northview High school participated in their yearly talent show, Northview Idol! The students all dance and sang to individually selected songs through out the show under the direction of music therapist, Brittany Taylor-Stewart. The transition teacher at Northview, Carrie Orr, was our judge and all the students were awarded special awards at the end of the show. Way to rock out for another year, Northview Idols!
On Monday March 11th, the Fulton County Music Therapy team, some band/orchestra directors, and a few special education teachers met with Julie Duty, the founder and executive director of United Sound which is a program that will soon be implemented into some Fulton County High Schools. United Sound, Inc. is a nonprofit organization who mission is to provide musical performance experiences for students with special needs through peer mentorship.
We are really excited to start this program in Fulton County Schools and can't wait to see what meaningful friendships are formed through it. You can check it out more at this link.
Wolf Creek Elementary school presented their 3rd annual Exceptional Children’s Week performance under the direction of music therapist Tasia Carter. This year’s performance, “Everyday Heroes”, focused on the hero in all of us. Students from preschool up to 5th grade showed their superpowers by representing different famous heroes through dance, instrument play, and even some tumbling! No task is too hard for these heroes. The show even gave a spot light to our community heroes. Way to go Wolf Creek!
The lights were shining at College Park Elementary on Thursday March 7th! Preschool Special Education and Kindergarten Special Education students, with the help of music therapist Marsha Lane, worked on following directions, remaining on-task, along with singing and performance skills, during their “Yes, I Can” awards ceremony. The students sang, played shakers, and waved their light sticks as they performed the songs “I Can Be Anything” and “Light of Love” for their parents, staff, and peers. Nice job, College Park Tigers!
Langston Hughes High held their 2nd annual CBI Superlatives award ceremony on Thursday, March 7th. Under the direction of music therapist Marsha Lane, and intern Kelly Abrams, the students ended the ceremony with a performance of “The Champion” by Carrie Underwood and Ludacris. The energetic and exciting performance included sign language, letters to spell out the word “C-H-A-M-P-I-O-N”, and dancing by a select group of students. LHHS CBI students worked together beautifully on a wonderful performance that proved they indeed, are the Champions
Bam! Kachow! Lots of superheroes took the stage at Medlock Bridge Elementary on March 7th for their Exceptional Children's Week Show, "The Hero Inside Us." Under the direction of music therapist, Brittany Taylor-Stewart, the students danced, sang and played instruments to help defeat the evils that Medlock Bridge was facing. At the end though, everyone learned that you don't need a cape and mask to defeat evil because we can be everyday heroes by being kind, sharing, and doing little things each day to make the world a better place.
Lights, camera, action! Under the direction of music therapist Emily Minkow, the students at New Prospect Elementary performed their annual Exceptional Children's Week show and this year's did not disappoint! Over 200 attendees took "A Trip to the Movies," learning about and seeing different animated movies in action. The performances included grooving with Trolls, hula dancing with Moana, playing ukuleles with cave men, getting jazzy with cats, and race car driving to name a few! Throughout the performance, Yes I Can awards were presented, and following the performance was a huge breakfast reception hosted by the PTA. The students did a great job displaying a glimpse of what they are capable of, and it was a morning to remember!
Community-based instruction students at Riverwood International Charter School put together a music video that displays a day in their lives. With the help of their music therapist, Emily Minkow, the students performed sign language to the song "A Million Dreams" from The Greatest Showman. Check our their awesome video to celebrate Exceptional Children's Week!
Students at Hopewell Middle School have been working for weeks on various songs to highlight their musical abilities. Led by music therapist, Stephanie Guest and music therapy intern, Erika Lowenthal, they performed their songs for peers, parents, and staff on Tuesday for Exceptional Children's Week.
Under direction from music therapist, Brittany Taylor-Stewart, the music therapy students at Haynes Bridge Middle School participated in their annual talent show, Haynes Bridge Idol, on March 5th. Students danced, sang, played instruments and some even showed some unique talent acts that they have been working on since January. It was an incredible show and the students really worked hard to showcase their abilities in celebration of Exceptional Children's Week.
On Wednesday, February 13th Holcomb Bridge Middle School and Centennial High School shared their 3rd annual Valentines Social. With help from the music therapists Kirby Carruth and Emily Minkow, as well as teachers and staff, the students moved from station to station making valentines and friendship bracelets, playing Love Song BINGO, taking pictures in the photo booth, face painting, and making a craft. The event concluded with a dance party, including a communal dance of the Cupid Shuffle. The students and staff continue to enjoy this yearly event, socializing with old and new friends!
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.