April 2017

Perfect is the enemy of good. – English Saying

Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly. – G.K. Chesterton

And now that you don’t have to be perfect, you can be good. – John Steinbeck, East of Eden

Dear Friends,

April is Autism Awarenss Month and as I was looking for inspiration, I found this quote from Temple Grandin. “People can live up to high standards, but they can’t live up to perfection.” She was talking about working with cattle, but this applies to music and the arts, as well. So many of us believe music is somehow beyond our capacity to participate in, because we aren’t “talented.”

At Note-Able Music Therapy Services, we don’t believe in the necessity of talent or perfection. We believe in being good, and in particular, a rich and interesting version of good. If we define good as being “technically able to do something”, we limit ourselves to such a thin and unfulfilling experience of that word. What if a good performance meant successfully creating a loving connection between people? Or authentically expressing our truths? What if high standards simply meant that we do the best we can to be the most of who we are?

We serve many people with autism at Note-Ables. What I have learned about goodness in working with people with autism and other disabilities, is that prioritizing a thin, external version of good separates us unnecessarily from each other and diminishes our own capacity to experience the rich goodness of life.

I invite you to consider the quote above, “Anything worth doing, is worth doing badly.” If we don’t allow ourselves to do art or music “badly”, we may not do it at all. And isn’t that the greater mistake? Why not sing out of tune? It’s still fun. Why not dance awkwardly? It feels wonderful. Why not clap off beat? You’re still joining in the greater song. And joining in the song is not only enriching and healthy, it may open the door to a greater sense of good and connection. Thank you for being a part of our community. We are all made better by your presence and participation! Happy April and we hope to see you soon.


Sarah Toney

Interim Executive Director / Development Director

NMTS Moments with Jodi McLaren

John’s (name changed for privacy) favorite part of every music therapy session is when he gets to choose CDs from the collection, pick the track he wants, and we dance together. John is a nonverbal young adult with autism who seeks a lot of sensory stimulation for self-soothing and dance is an effective way for him to do that safely while expressing himself.

Like many young adults with autism, John loves Disney music. The other day, I was pleasantly surprised by his choice. This was a day when the weather was wildly changing from snow to sunshine, wind, and rain, John picked Little April Shower from Bambi. It starts off slow with happy sounding raindrops and then the storm builds and the song ends with crashing symbols and chaos. John’s dancing matched the changing intensity of the music, starting with small rocking back and forth to exaggerated movements and playing with the rain stick.

The weather that day truly was something to talk about. It was wild. John chose a song that applied directly to the weather and was able to express the intensity of the rain through his movement. Only a few months prior, John was locked in his own world and I was so grateful to have that weather conversation with him, dancing together with eye contact and understanding. John is unlikely to ever communicate so much through words, so this is why music is the difference for John and so many others like him.

“Little April Showers”

Music Therapy Perspectives

Those with autism spectrum disorder often experience severe anxiety and have difficulty regulating these emotions. A research study titled “Increased physiological responsiveness to preferred music among young adults with autism spectrum disorders” shows that young adults with autism spectrum disorder had more significant physiological responses than their neurotypical peers when listening to preferred music.

This result implies that self-selected music could be more important for people with autism and particularly useful as a non-drug strategy for self regulation of anxiety and the physical manifestations of anxiety. Everyone’s preferred music is different. So, if you have someone in your life with autism, can you discover what music they like best and make it available to them? Having access to “their” music may be an important coping strategy for them.

Hillier, A., Kopec, J., Poto, N., Tivarus, M., & Beversdorf, D. Q. (2016). Increased physiological responsiveness to preferred music among young adults with autism spectrum disorders. Psychology of Music44(3), 481-492.

Gaelynn Lea at Sierra Arts – April 8th, 7pm

Parlor Shows in Reno is presenting an intimate performance by Gaelynn Lea, winner of NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest in 2016, as a fundraising concert in support of Note-Able Music Therapy Services.

Gaelynn Lea “bewitch(es)…her fans with experimental and ambient takes on fiddle music, an approach that incorporates her love of traditional tunes, songwriting, poetry, and sonic exploration.” She is a musician without a match in the current music scene and is stopping in Reno during her tour for a one night performance.

Gaelynn is also an advocate for people with disabilities and loves to share about the importance of inclusion, overcoming challenges, and the joy of music. She has Osteogenesis Imperfecta, or Brittle Bone Disease, and uses her powerful music as a platform for advocacy and education.

Come join us for this great event! April 8th at Sierra Arts Gallery. Tickets available through Parlor Shows. $50 (includes wine)

Gaelynn Lea’s Tiny Desk Concert

Best of Facebook

This is a video of a group called Rex and Friends, a nonprofit community-based music therapy organization in Los Angeles. In some ways, Note-Ables and Rex and Friends are similar in that we are dedicated to providing music opportunities for people with disabilities. They are also sending the same message in this great video; people with disabilities are people with tremendous ability that is different than we expect.

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Current Class Openings!

Come play with us! Our classes are inclusive of all abilities, and we are happy to help you decide which class would be best! Visit our programming page for class descriptionsBelow are the classes that are currently open. Please call the office to register or to be placed on the wait list for a class that is currently full.

Exploring Music Junior – A class for children ages 5-11 to sing, play instruments, dance, and perform. Thursdays 4:30-5:15pm – $30/month

Songwriting Basics – This is a workshop for adults and mature teens offered in conjunction with TMCC Continuing Education. It’s a 5-week course from 5/3-5/31, weekly on Wednesdays 6-8pm. Registration for this course is online at TMCC.

Dance class

Dance class is full of movement and fun for everyone.

Upcoming Events

Gaelynn Lea Performance presented by Parlor Shows – April 8th, 7 pm (Sierra Arts) Winner of NPR’s 2016 Tiny Desk Contest performing at Sierra Arts in support of Note-Able Music Therapy Services

The Note-Ables Perform at Earth Day – April 23rd, 11am (Idlewild Park) The Note-Ables will be performing at Earth Day! Come check out the band and enjoy all that Earth Day has to offer.

Basement Session – April 24th, 12 pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center, west side basement) Would you like to know more about music therapy and our programs? You’re welcome to join us for lunch! We share stories and explain what makes music therapy so effective, and The Note-Ables play a brief set. It’s fun, informative and inspiring. Please email Sarah Toney for more information and to RSVP. Seating is limited, so please do contact us to attend!

The Note-Ables Perform at McAuliffe Photography Art Reception – April 27th, 6 pm (Fountain of Youth Health Spa) Shelby McAuliffe of McAuliffe Photography is donating 20% of sales to Note-Able Music Therapy Services from her current show at Fountain of Youth. The Note-Ables will be playing along with Zach Teran of The Novelists at the closing reception. Come join us and enjoy the art, nibbles, and beverages in a beautiful space.

The Note-Ables Perform at The Family Summit and Resource Fair – April 29th, 9am (Truckee Meadows Community College) Washoe County School District is hosting a family resource fair for families with children with disabilities. Contact WCSD for more information.

Spring Recital – April 29th, 1pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center, auditorium) Our individual music therapy and lesson participants will be performing at this annual event. The public is welcome to come enjoy the music and show support for our participants of all abilities!

Gaelynn Lea

March Thank Yous!

Thank you to our classroom and office volunteers!  Mark Geeson, Tia Henderson, Marilyn Moon, Cindy Oesterle-Prescott, Chris Keenan, Cheryl Eckert, Courtney Mayer, Katie Fountain, Scarlett Saiki, Jewelene Fritts, Ariel Miller, Tonia Meyers, and Cheyenne Underwood.

Thank you to our March donors! Marilyn Moon, Jaime Briscoe Collins, Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith, Reno Rodeo Foundation, Alliance with Washoe County Medical Society, Mary Miller, Pamela Griffin, Terry Schultz, Wendy Firestone, Linda Mandas, Megan Duggan, Mary Lee Fulkerson, Kate Kirkpatrick, Darcy Shephard, Jennifer Jacobsen, Barb Anderson, Amber Wilhelm, Jeanine Mooers, Angela Fuss, Suzanne Dugger, Kim Redding, Diane Dixon-Johnson

Big Give Thank Yous!  Big Give donations for providing music at The Eddy House are still coming in. However, you’ve already given over $900 so far towards continuing music. Thank you!

As always, thank you to our Endowment Founding Circle! The Note-Able Music Therapy Services endowment fund is managed by the Community Foundation of Western Nevada. By contributing to the fund, you will guarantee that children and adults – no matter their age or ability – will always have a place where they can learn, grow, and experience a community that is connected through the love of music. Please call or email us for more information about how you can contribute to the legacy of NMTS.

Music Quote of the Month

Wish List

  • Shredder
  • Art supplies – anything you’re not using, we’ll find a use!
  • Greeting cards and thank you notes
  • iTunes gift cards
  • Disposable food service goods, such as paper plates, cutlery, cups and napkins
  • Postage stamps

Board of Directors

Kate Kirkpatrick – President Director of Public Information, Marketing & Communications, Truckee Meadows Community College Dave Stockman – Treasurer  President – Stillwater Foundation Sandy Jacob – Secretary Dennis Doty – Director Physical Therapist – HCR ManorCare  John Firestone – Director Executive Director – The Life Change Center

Give the gift of music!

Your donations provide for our low cost and adjustable-rate fees for classes, workshops, music therapy and music lessons! Every dollar donated helps people of all abilities to continue to have access to music therapy and programs.

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