NMTS August 2016 Newsletter


As with many nonprofits, our new year starts every July. For me, this past month was a month of reflection, gratitude, and excitement about all that lies ahead at NMTS. We accomplished so many things, none of which we could have done without the help of our wonderful donors and volunteers.

Our 8th Teen Beat Summer Music Camp was our biggest yet, with 20 teens having a blast singing, dancing, playing instruments, creating art – and overall just making a bunch of noise and a big mess. The camp culminated in a lunch performance, complete with ghosts and lions. It was so fun!

Artown also kept us busy in July. The Note-Ables reached hundreds of new audience members at Art Paws and the Artown at the Airport series, and our Summertime Blues festival was a huge success. We were a little worried about the triple digit heat, but the sky clouded over as soon as we started, the temperature dropped, and we even got a few rain drops. It turned into the perfect summer evening, with great music, dancing, food, and fun. Thank you to everyone who came out to support us, especially to the Bridge Church Blues Band and Electric Catfish the Band. Can’t wait to do it again next year!

Last but not least, I’m thrilled to announce that we have hired a new music therapist. Her name is Caitlin, and she is moving to Reno from Fairfax, Virginia at the end of this month. We can’t wait for everyone to meet her! With Caitlin on board we will be able to expand our existing programs and begin to serve the many people on our wait list. See below for information about the exciting classes we will be starting in September.

I hope you enjoy the last days of summer break,


Teens posing

Making new friends at camp is the best!

NMTS Moments with Jodi McLaren

At a recent group at Northern Nevada Adult Mental Health Services, I worked with a small group of three adults who experienced an amazing transformation in just 45 minutes of music. We begin group by doing a “musical check-in” where each person in the group chooses an instrument and plays the instrument to convey how they are feeling without using words. The rest of the group then guesses how that person is feeling based on the sound they created. The general vibe of the musical check-in was that people were feeling restricted and angry.

To start, I invited the group to play the sound of one emotion and transform that sound into an opposite emotion. They chose to play from sad to happy and together we musically created the sound of sad and moved to the sound of happy. Next, we re-wrote the song “Heart of Gold” as a group, everyone engaging in the music making process and together we sang our new song.

At the close of group we did a musical check-out, similar to the check-in. The first person played rhythm sticks in a steady pattern. I asked, “Are you feeling steady?” He stopped playing, looked at me, and said “I feel something I didn’t feel when I first entered this room. I feel happy. I didn’t know what to expect when I decided to the join the group but I figured things couldn’t get much worse than they were. And things actually got better. Thank you.”

It’s moments like this that make my job incredibly meaningful. The group participants are in fact the ones choosing to embrace the experience and allowing themselves to open up to a new emotion/experience. However, it is so touching to see real impact in such a short period of time, which music makes possible.

Jodi playing guitar during a music group

Jodi McLaren leading a music therapy group

New Classes!

Our new music therapist is starting in September (YES!), which means we get to start more programs. We have big plans for the coming year and these new classes are just the beginning. Please call Dena at 775-324-5521 if you’re interested in one of these classes for yourself or someone you love. You can also email her at dena@note-ables.org.

Teen Exploring Music (ages 13-21) Tuesdays 3-4pm. Starting September 20th
This class is for teens of all abilities to sing, dance, play instruments, and perform together while improving social skills.

Exploring Music JR (ages 6-12) Thursdays 4:30-5:15pm. Starting Sept 22nd.
Kids of all abilities are invited to play instruments, sing, dance, and collaborate for performances.

Teen Creative Connection (ages 12-18) Mondays 4-5pm. Starting September 19th
Teen Creative Connection is a new mental health group for teens who would like to find creative ways to express themselves and connect with peers. The class will include songwriting, lyric analysis, discussion, and opportunities to perform, if desired.

Adult Creative Connection – Thursday mornings. Starting September 22nd.
Adult Creative Connection is a music therapy mental health group for adults to develop creative coping skills to life’s challenges. The group will include songwriting, drumming, lyric analysis, discussion, and guided relaxation, depending on group needs.

Exploring music having fun

Exploring Music I participants at Note-Able Music Therapy Services

Upcoming Events

Bowers Mansion Bluegrass Festival – August 13th 12:30 – 1:00 pm Come join us at Bowers Mansion under the trees and a day of community Bluegrass music! We’re so excited to be invited back to play again this year.

Basement Session – August 15th 12:00 – 1:00 pm at McKinley Arts in our Basement Classroom Are you curious to learn more about music therapy, adaptive music programs or The Note-Ables? This is a great opportunity to come for a private performance with the band and learn more about what we’re doing here. We provide lunch for our attendees and have limited seating, so please RSVP with Sarah Toney or call 324-5521.

A Note-Able Golf Tournament – September 9th 12:00 – 8:00 pm at Wolf Run Golf Course Join us on Friday, September 9th for our first golf tournament fundraiser! All proceeds from the tournament will support on-site music programming at NMTS. See below for additional information and a link to buy tickets.

Northern Nevada Bluegrass Association logo

Music Therapy Perspectives*

More soldiers have committed suicide since the Vietnam War than have died in actual battle. Guitars for Vets is a program to help veterans cope with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms by learning to play guitar in lessons and group sessions.

A research study conducted in 2011 showed how Guitars for Vets successfully reduced PTSD symptoms, depression symptoms, and improved health-related quality of life measures for veterans with PTSD. Volunteer instructors provided hour-long individual guitar lessons, as well as an hour of group lessons each week for six weeks. Each veteran received his/her own guitar with sheet music and other supplies to allow musical practice to continue after the six-week intervention. Guitars for Vets has many chapters across the country, the nearest to Reno being in Sacramento. We are happy to welcome vets or anyone experiencing PTSD to come to NMTS for individual music therapy or to participate in group classes. Call 324-5521 for more information.

* Even though Guitars for Vets does not provide music therapy, they are still a wonderful organization providing a valuable service for veterans throughout the country.

Guitars for Vets poster

Best of Facebook

Our Facebook community loved the live stream performance of Philip and his lesson with Nate Eng, our adaptive percussion instructor. Philip was ready for another performance and Nate thought that the new Facebook live stream would be a great way for Philip to showcase his talents for a broad audience. People loved it! It’s a long video, so explore different parts of the video to hear the variety of beats that Philip and Nate are producing together. Drumming can be a conversation between two people and different emotions are expressed at different times. Take a listen. What do you hear?

A Note-Able Golf Tournament

Join us on Friday, September 9th for our first golf tournament fundraiser at Wolf Run Golf Club, one of south Reno’s most popular courses! All proceeds from the tournament will support on-site music programming at NMTS.

The tournament will include raffle prizes, great play, lots of games, AND a BBQ at the end with a performance by The Note-Ables! For more information, please go to the event page.

July Thank Yous!

Thank you to our classroom and office volunteers – Mark Geeson, Tia Henderson, Marilyn Moon, Cindy Oesterle-Prescott, and Elizabeth Andersen

Thank you to our Teen Camp volunteers! – Alexander Grant, Maureen Groach, Lori Henderson, Chloe Keenan-Merlo, Tia Henderson, Allen Garcia, Maribel Garcia, Dave Stockman, Amina Wilson, Stephon VanDyke, and Forrest Zeiter

Thank you to our Summertime Blues volunteers! – Barb Anderson, Larry Duffrin,Cheryl Eckert, Jill Gabel, Sandy Jacob, Kate Kirkpatrick, Katherine Larsen, Liz Lenz, Jeanette Martin,Shelby McAuliffe, Mel Minarik ,Stuart Murtland, Hallie Oberg, Mike Rihaly, Dave Stockman, Dean Sweigart

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.

Thank You!

Our goal of raising $10,000 for our new music therapist was reaching during July! Yes!

Extra donations came in during July, including a generous sponsorship from Renown Health Foundation. We’re off to a great start for our new fiscal year. We can also happily report that we have hired a new therapist who will be starting at the beginning of September.

Special Thank You to Larry Duffrin for providing us with a new banjo! We’ve been needing a banjo for months and Larry made it happen.

July donors: Jaime Briscoe Collins, Larry and Laura Duffrin, Maureen Groach, Scott Harrington, Karen Hunsader, Jamie Liston, Lucille Knight, Kate and Jay Kirkpatrick, Jeanine and Pauline Mooers, Marilyn and Paul Moon, Renown Health Foundation, Heidemarie Rochlin, Larry and Judy Simcoe, Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith, Caren Toney, Geilan Toppozada, Bert and Chris Wells, Kristine Wines, and Sandy Young.

For a list of all of our wonderful donors, please check out our donor page.

Endowment fund members

Music Quote of the Month

Victor Hugo music quote

Wish List

  • Paper shredder and paper cutter!
  • Laminator
  • Office and art supplies
  • iTunes gift cards
  • Disposable food service goods, such as paper plates, cutlery, cups and napkins
  • Postage stamps

Contact Dena Sweigart with your donations! 324-5521

Board of Directors

Kate Kirkpatrick – President Director of Public Information, Marketing & Communications, Truckee Meadows Community College

Charles Kazemi – Vice-President Owner – Make Your Momentum

Dave Stockman – Treasurer President – Stillwater Foundation

Marilyn Moon – Secretary

John Firestone – Director Executive Director – The Life Change Center

Sandy Jacob – Director

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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