If you have been reading for a while, you have heard me mention that I was a band geek when I was young. While I stopped playing music with a band after graduation, I still enjoy music and sharing music with my family. Today’s organization sees the power of music in enhancing lives.
In August 2003, Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh left a private music therapy practice to accept a position teaching music and music therapy in Cincinnati Public Schools. She worked with many students with special needs but one student in particular moved her. Latron was an autistic boy who did not speak except to echo back words spoken to him. He was different in the music room. He showed signs that he had perfect pitch. In December 2005, he learned a simple blues progression on the piano and when he returned after winter break in January, he sat at the piano and played the beginning of Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata after just listening to it on a recording each day. Through music therapy, Latron found his voice, a way to communicate.
A music therapist works to achieve musical and non-musical goals such as improvement in communication, academics, and motor skills. Other families were inspired by Latron’s improvement and expressed interest in lessons. Unfortunately, the cost of private music therapy is hard to fit into a budget already stretched by the expenses of occupational, physical, speech, and other therapies.
Like-minded people around the Greater Cincinnati area were willing to donate their time and resources toward the cause. A board of directors was formed including area writers, business people, teachers, therapists, and parents who had seen the benefits of music therapy first hand. Space was donated by the successful Starfire Council non-profit and other community members were willing to donate instruments to the cause. In April of 2009, Melodic Connections anticipated the possibility of 16 students receiving services from two music therapists. Over 40 individuals expressed an interest in participating.
The mission of Melodic Connections is to empower special learners through therapeutic group and individual music education and performance experiences. Melodic Connections also works to enhance the lives of Greater Cincinnati community members through the enjoyment of performance based musical art created by exceptional persons.
In 2010 the organization already needed to expand due to the growing interest and wait lists for their programs. They moved into a new location dedicated solely for their lessons. Since opening their new location in October 2010, they have expanded their adult conservatory day program from 3 members to 20. After school classes have doubled in number as well. They are proud to offer their programs at low or no cost to those who can benefit from the music therapy.
In addition to their in studio adult daytime and youth after-school programs, they go to several local schools to offer music therapy. They also offer summer social skills camps for kids ages 5 to 15.
Melodic Connections has a variety of ways you can help them further their mission.
- One way to help is hands on with the music and musicians. They need regular volunteers to assist with their classes. Every class is led by a board certified music therapist and you will receive instruction in how to best help the students.
- They also need help spreading the word about the organization and helping them grow. They need assistance with social media, their website, as well as other marketing and public relations tasks.
- They could also use event planning assistance for their concerts and fundraisers.
- They can also use monetary donations to help them continue to offer low and no cost music therapy to students in the Greater Cincinnati area. You can find a PayPay donate button on their website or contact Betsey directly.