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.
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!
©2017 Fulton County School Music Therapy Department