Note-Able Music Therapy Services
Music for Everyone!
People of all ages and all abilities have the innate ability to respond to music. At NMTS, we help people discover their connection to music and allow it to bring out the best in people.
Music brings our community together, while acknowledging and celebrating our differences. Singing and dancing with others promotes connection, friendship, and a sense of belonging.
Note-Able Music Therapy Services started in 1999 as a music group called The Note-Ables at the Northern Nevada Center for Independent Living, and received 501(c)3 status in 2003. The impetus to form an independent nonprofit organization came from three fronts – the increasing number of people with disabilities who wanted to participate, the growing demand from the community to see the group, and the fact that there were no other organizations in Washoe County that were providing musical opportunities for people with disabilities.
Until January of 2012, Note-Able Music Therapy Services was known as The Note-Ables. The organization had been providing music therapy services since it started, but the name did not accurately reflect this. As programs grew, the staff and board increasingly recognized the need to raise community awareness of music therapy. One of the first steps in that process was changing the name of the organization to include the words ‘music therapy,’ which was legally accomplished in January of 2012.
Note-Able Music Therapy Services is the only nonprofit music therapy agency in Nevada and is committed to changing the face of disability through the power of music. Our performing group (The Note-Ables) plays an integral role in this process. Made up of twelve adults with disabilities, The Note-Ables have reached more than 9,000 audience members throughout northern Nevada in 2015. They were one of only six groups from across the state that were invited to perform at the Governor’s Inaugural Arts Celebration in 2011; they were also invited by Senator Mo Denis to sing at the opening of the Nevada state legislative session in February 2013. The group has also been part of several innovative and inclusive projects, including performing with the Reno Philharmonic, Reno Pops Orchestra, and the Reno Jazz Orchestra.
NMTS serves more than 100 children and adults per week in on-site programs. We serve an additional 900 individuals per year through collaborative programs and workshops. Current services include on-site classes and individualized music therapy, community performances and workshops, and music therapy contracts with Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, Northern Nevada Medical Center, Renown Children’s Hospital, Renown Regional Medical Center, and the Washoe County School District.
Manal Toppozada, MA, LPMT, MT-BC
Executive Director and Founder
Manal is the founder and Executive Director of Note-Able Music Therapy Services. She obtained her master’s degree in music therapy from the University of the Pacific and completed her clinical internship at Oregon State Hospital in Salem. Manal has more than 20 years’ experience in hospital, forensic, education, mental health, and community-based settings. As a member of the Nevada State Music Therapy Task Force, she helped draft Senate Bill 190, which created a state license that oversees the profession of music therapy in Nevada. Manal is a professional violinist and performs regularly with the Reno Philharmonic. She serves on the advisory board of Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful, is a member of the Disability Awareness Coalition of the Truckee Meadows, and is a Patroness member of Sigma Alpha Iota Women’s Music Fraternity. Manal also teaches a course in Disability Issues through the School of Public Health at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Sarah Toney joined NMTS as the Development Director in May 2014. Sarah holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cell biology, an MBA, and she recently earned her certification in Integral Coaching. After working as a research scientist and later in marketing and business development in the biotechnology and robotics sectors, she launched her own café and catering company and was acknowledged as one of Reno’s top entrepreneurs by the Entrepreneurs’ Organization (Reno) in 2012. After ten years of entrepreneurship, she successfully sold her company to explore new opportunities in community development and music. She brings a focus in marketing and strategic planning to help NMTS sustainably grow its impact in the community. In addition, she’s been a musician for the past 25 years, singing with many local classical groups including the UNR Symphonic Choir, the Philharmonic Chorus and The Reno Baroque Ensemble.
Jodi McLaren, LPMT, MT-BC
Program Coordinator/Music Therapist
A graduate of Lewis & Clark College and Marylhurst University, Jodi holds degrees in English, music, and music therapy. She has worked with older adults with dementia, oncology and post-surgical patients, veterans, and children with developmental disabilities. Jodi completed her clinical internship at VITAS Healthcare in Fort Lauderdale, where she worked with hospice patients and their families in individual and group settings. Jodi brings a deep belief in community-based music therapy and adaptive music programs. Her work with children with developmental disabilities, veterans, and hospice patients has shown her that music “connects individuals to their community, providing a sense of belonging, joy, and togetherness.” Jodi is also a singer-songwriter, and she has produced two CDs of original music, both of which are available on iTunes.
Maura earned her degree in Music Therapy and Music Education from Anna Maria College, where her primary instrument was the upright bass. Her senior internship at Westborough State Hospital involved working with adults diagnosed with emotional and mental illnesses in various groups and individual settings. Maura has since worked with children, teens, adults, and elderly who are affected by emotional and intellectual disorders, as well as addictions. She has conducted choruses and developed a drama club in the Special Education setting that have performed for various functions, highlighting the talents of the individuals she has had to honor of working with. She believes in empowering individuals through the use of music to cultivate a positive, lasting difference in the lives of others. Maura believes passionately in the power of music and allowing it to be accessible to everyone.
Dena became a member of Note-Able Music Therapy Services in June, 2015. It is a goal realized to work in and around the arts, while being involved in a field geared towards serving her community. This is her introduction into the non-profit world and she is excited to be in an inclusive environment where the work done each day has a positive impact in people’s lives. Dena is a Reno native and holds a BA in Art History with a Minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno.
Dance Instructor - Contractor
Wendy holds a BA in journalism with an emphasis in public relations and a minor in Women’s Studies from the University of Nevada, Reno. Taking her first dance class at age eight, Wendy began dancing and performing with people with disabilities in 1992 at Konocti Instructional Services in Lakeport, California. After moving to Reno in 1994, she continued her dual loves of working with people with disabilities and dancing with Area 51 and Wing and a Prayer dance companies. In 2007 she put together a dance group from Washoe Ability Resource Center (WARC) to perform at her Artown event, Beauty Without Borders. Thrilled at combining her two loves, Wendy created performance pieces for two more Beauty Without Borders events before coming to Note-Able Music Therapy Services in 2010. In addition to teaching dance, Wendy was the Advancement Director for NMTS, where she used her extensive marketing and arts programming experience to help grow our programs. Wendy is currently the Fund Development Director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northern Nevada, where she oversees grants, fundraising and special events. Even with her full-time commitments, Wendy remains a passionate advocate and a crucial part of the NMTS team. She teaches two dance classes, helps coordinate performances, and volunteers her spare time to help with events and concerts. As she always says, “My favorite part of every week is teaching the dance classes at NMTS.”
Music Instructor - Contractor
Nate received his bachelors degree in journalism from the Reynolds School of Journalism at UNR in 2015, specializing in photography, graphic design, journalism, and audio & music production. Nate began volunteering with Note-Able Music Therapy Services in 2011, helping with our community drum circle and playing with The Note-Ables. Once he got to know several of our participants, he started coming in once a week to teach individual drum lessons. After volunteering for more than three years, Nate was hired as a contract music instructor in 2014. He teaches drum, percussion, piano, and is currently teaching our new electronic music class. Nate is a talented photographer, graphic designer, and journalist. His many photos of NMTS programs can be found in our brochure, throughout our website, and in our annual report. According to Nate, “I am constantly learning, experimenting, and adapting my skills with the newest techniques and technologies. I love overcoming challenges and going above and beyond the status quo to create something truly unique.” Please visit Nate’s website to see more examples of his work.