December 2016

I think it’s fair to say that 2016 has been an interesting year, to say the least! I’m sure that we’ve all experienced our fair share of stress this year. Stress is extremely damaging to our mental and physical health, especially interpersonal tension. No matter where we fall on the political spectrum, many of us have been involved in some tense discussions or even arguments recently. Since we will never agree on everything, either as individuals or as a country, I believe we need as many ways as possible to create opportunities for connection and community. What better way to create these opportunities than through music?

Music is the perfect way to bring people together. With music, we can come together in joy and expression and recognize the humanity within those we may otherwise overlook or even dehumanize. We are very excited to be singing with the Reno Philharmonic during their annual Spirit of the Season holiday concert this weekend. This wonderful concert celebrates the diversity of our community and the joy of the season. Being a part of this event furthers our goals of access to the arts and inclusion. And on a personal level, it is wonderful for me to see my two worlds come together to share the stage.

So, remember, if the upcoming holidays get a little tense or stressful, add some music to your festivities. If all else fails, break out the caroling books – everyone will be having too much fun to argue!

Wishing you the happiest of holidays,

Manal Toppozada
Executive Director

P.S. Evening of Romance – Enchanted Masquerade tickets go on sale today! You can buy them online, over the phone 775-324-5521, or in person at our office in McKinley Arts and Culture Center (925 Riverside Drive Suite 1, Reno)

NMTS Moments – Fall Showcase

The Fall Showcase was an incredibly special event this year, with our participants performing on the big stage at the Nugget Celebrity Showroom. The stage at the Showroom is spacious with professional lighting and great sound. Many of the seats in the audience are velvet-lined booths. It’s intimate, yet professional. In other words, a big step up from past locations, and our participants were thrilled!

One of our newer participants in dance was surprised when she walked into the Showroom and saw the stage for the first time. She’s a playful and sweet teenager who is nonverbal, smart, and has the most brilliant smile. When she saw that stage, her face lit up with delight as she pointed at the stage and then herself, asking the question with her eyes if that’s really where she was going to perform. The answer was grateful yes. The Fall Showcase was a gift to her, and a gift to the rest of us who had the joy of watching and cheering her on.

Please Join Us

This is the time of year when we reflect on what matters most to us and we ask the question what do we most want in our lives for ourselves and others. When it comes right down to it, we want to love and be loved. We all do. It’s how we’re made.

When you give the gift of music, you give the gift of connection, community, and love. We all thrive when we know that we matter. You can give that gift today.

Thank you for believing in and caring for all the people who make this place our home. If you are inspired to donate, please go to, call 775-324-5521, or send a check to NMTS at 925 Riverside Drive, Reno, NV 89503.

Thank you and happy holidays!

NMTS Moments

Like many people with autism, Charles is drawn to music. Music therapy is helping him develop his ability to connect and communicate.

As Charles was drumming during a recent music therapy session, he decided that he wanted to show his mom what he could do. He went out to the lobby to invite her in to his session and he started to play. As him mom filmed his performance, she started to cry with joy.

After a minute, Charles noticed her tears. He stopped playing and said, “You’re crying, Mom. I think you’re feeling joy, right?” As she nodded through her tears, he got up, gave her a hug, and reassured her, “It’s okay, Mom. I’m feeling happy, too.”

Music opened a rare window for mother and son to truly connect.

Chris with his congas

Music Therapy Perspectives with Jodi McLaren

Music therapist, Christine K. Stevens, wrote a powerful article, Could the Drum Circle be the next Ropes Course? In the article, she shows how and why drum circles may be a more effective team building experience than a ropes course. Drum circles support innovation, creativity, and continuous collaboration—all skills that are needed for organizations facing modern day challenges.

Taking it to the Beats is a group drumming program for corporate, educational, and professional settings. Drum circles are non­-threatening and fun for people of all ages and abilities, and more and more research is showing that they can reduce stress, boost morale, increase retention, and improve communication throughout the workplace.

Toyota has one of the best­ known corporate drumming programs in the country. According to Ron Johnson, Toyota’s Associate Development Manager, the company’s drum circles are “an environment where no one is advantaged or disadvantaged and where the participants create an inclusive environment where ‘we’ means ‘everyone’…it’s the leveraging of our diversity through this inclusive behavior that can bring the full creative potential of our associates to bear.”

After participating in one of our drum circles, Dr. David Kemppainen, substance abuse counselor at The Life Change Center, wrote “I have been facilitating team building activities for The Life Change Center for the last four years. The organization and I consider these activities to be very valuable for the performance of staff. Recently, Manal and Jodi provided a team building drum circle session and the outcome was much better than we predicted. Of the variety of team building approaches we have experienced thus far, this one rated at the top regarding impact and staff acceptance. I would strongly recommend this activity to any organization that prioritizes team building.”

Taking it to the Beats drum circles can take place at our facility or at your business, for as few as four and as many as 100 participants. We provide all of the instruments and we will work with you ahead of time to design the perfect session for you and your employees. Call 775-324-5521 or email for more information!

Upcoming Events

Holiday Choir at Renown Children’s Miracle Network Breakfast with Santa – December 3rd, 8am (Cantina Los Tres Hombres)
Join the NMTS Holiday Choir for a delicious holiday breakfast, caroling, and pictures with Santa. Event proceeds benefit Northern Nevada’s Children’s Miracle Network Hospital- Renown Children’s Hospital. For more information visit the Renown Children’s Hospital website or call 982-4100.

Holiday Choir at Charlie Brown Christmas – December 2nd, 7pm and December 3rd, 2pm (McKinley Arts and Culture Center)
The NMTS Holiday Choir will be adding to the festivities with caroling at TheatreWorks of Northern Nevada’s heartwarming production of A Charlie Brown Christmas. Tickets are available on the TWNN website.

The Note-Ables at Spirit of the Season – December 3rd, 2pm and 8pm; December 4th, 2pm (Pioneer Center for the Performing Arts)
The Note-Ables will be singing with the Reno Philharmonic at one of the most festive and beloved events of the year. Get your tickets soon, these concerts sell out quickly. Tickets available on the Reno Philharmonic’s website.

Fire It Up! Morning Dance Party with Laurie Martin – December 9th, 8am (McKinley Arts and Culture Center, west side basement)
Come join us for an fun, liberating, and exhilarating morning dance party. Laurie Martin lightly facilitates this dance with far-ranging music to help wake the body up from the inside out. Come join us down the basement steps on the West side of the building, in case the front door is not yet open. We’ll be there, ready to dance! $5 suggested donation.

Holiday House Concert with Susan and Dallas – December 11th, 3pm
Please join us for a wonderful holiday event with Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith, along with participants of Note-Able Music Therapy Services. Susan and Dallas are both world-renowned musicians and amazing supporters of the arts. This performance is an intimate and beautiful way to celebrate the season, while supporting Note-Able Music Therapy Services. Appetizers and holiday drinks will be served. Tickets are $50. RSVP by phone (324-5521) or

Evening of Romance – Enchanted Masquerade – February 4th, 8pm (Grand Sierra Resort)
The Evening of Romance is coming up again already! Save the date for February 4th. Tickets are on sale now, please visit the event page for additional information and sponsor opportunities.

Dallas and Susan
Susan Mazer-Smith and Dallas Smith

Best of Facebook

We shared an article titled “If You Want To Accelerate Brain Development In Children, Teach Them Music” that captured people’s imaginations. There is an ever growing body of research documenting the various ways music impact our bodies and our brains. This article provides an overview of how music can change us for the better, including how music helps children’s brains develop through the auditory system. Auditory maturation is particularly important for children gaining language and literacy skills. Check out the article here.

Watch our Facebook page for daily carols during the holiday season to inspire you to sing at home with your family!

Follow us on Facebook

November Thank Yous!

Special thank you to Phi Mu Alpha Music Fraternity! 
The guys of the Phi Mu Alpha fraternity were absolutely amazing volunteers at the Fall Showcase this year and even sang to us at the end of the event to thank us for the opportunity. Thank you, guys!

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

Thank you to our October donors!
Scott Harrington, Kate and Jay Kirkpatrick, Paul and Marilyn Moon, Enterprise Holdings, Eide Bailly, and Jaime Briscoe Collins

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

  • 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

John Firestone – Director
Executive Director – The Life Change Center

Sandy Jacob – Director

Dennis Doty – Director 
Physical Therapist – HCR ManorCare 

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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