Happy July!

Summer is such an exciting time in northern Nevada. Between Artown and dozens of other events in our area, we are surrounded by exciting arts opportunities. At NMTS, we see the power of music to bring joy and create community every day. We also know that not everyone is able to easily access traditional music opportunities. That’s why adaptive music programs are so important. We are often asked about the differences between adaptive music classes and traditional ones? The short answer is that in a traditional class people are expected to adapt to the set curriculum, while in an adaptive class the instruction is adapted so that every participant can be as successful and included as possible. Adaptive music and dance classes see individual differences as resources to enhance creativity, not as problems to be overcome. Our instructors adapt their classes so that everyone, regardless of limitation, can be included and feel like a star.

A young man who attended one of our music classes for the first time last week summed this up perfectly. At the end of the group he told me, “This was so much fun. It was like a party – but not a party where everyone felt self-conscious and awkward. It was like a party where we could all have fun together and know that it’s okay to be ourselves without being judged.” I couldn’t have said it better. We are starting several new adaptive classes in the coming months, please keep an eye out on our website, or call us at 324-5521 for more information. I hope you have a wonderful summer and that you can get out and enjoy some art and music, wherever you live!


Manal Toppozada
Founder and Executive Director

NMTS Moments

Rebecca Shipley is a founding member of the Note-Ables band and has wanted to learn to play the guitar since last fall. She knows from her experiences performing with the band that there is nothing she can’t do. Sometimes we just have to be creative about how to get things done.

Enter Larry Duffrin. Larry is a drummer, songwriter in NMTS’s first Songwriting Basics class and a long time NMTS supporter. When Larry heard about Becca’s desire to play and her physical limitations, he built a beautiful cigar box slide guitar for her. The slide guitar lies flat and can be placed on a table, making it possible to play while sitting in a chair. It also has a range of sound and stylistic flare that makes it a lot of fun to play.

As Becca held the metal slide and played the guitar for the first time last week, a huge smile spread across her face. She was thrilled to have an instrument that she could play. Adaptive music lessons are all about finding solutions to learning to play instruments, using creativity to overcome so-called limitations and opening doors to new experiences. Thank you, Larry, for making such a beautiful hand-made instrument for Becca! She’s in love with her new guitar.

Becca and her custom made slide guitar!

Upcoming Events

Mad Pride – July 13th 4 – 9 pm at McKinley Arts and Culture Center We are excited to be part of this year’s Mad Pride event. We will be providing a free, inclusive dance class for everyone who wants to attend from 4:15 pm to 5:00 pm in the auditorium, and will be supporting Laurie Martin’s community drum circle at 6:00 pm. Come dance and drum with us!

Art Paws  – July 17th 10 am – 5 pm at McKinley Arts and Culture Front Lawn The Note-Ables will be performing at ArtPaws again this year! ArtPaws is a celebration of Artown and fur babies (aka dogs)! Check out their site for more information. The Note-Ables will be taking the stage at 3:30pm.

Basement Session – July 25th 12 – 1 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.

Summertime Blues – July 28th 6 – 8 pm at McKinley Arts and Culture Front Lawn Join us under the trees at our annual summer Artown event! We’re celebrating the blues this year with The Note-Ables, NMTS classes, Electric Catfish the Band, and Bridge Church Blues Band. We’ll have tons of music, dancing, food trucks and kids’ activities. Be sure to get this on your calendar. This is a free event, with suggested $5 donation.

The Note-Ables at the Biggest Little Music Festival 2015.

Music Therapy Perspectives by Manal Toppozada

“Music is crucial to our development as humans … if we shut an entire minority out that is actually cutting them off of a huge part of our existence as humans.” This is a quote from Amber Galloway Gallego, a sign language interpreter featured in this story. Amber specializes in interpreting for music, and she has signed for more than 400 concerts, from Kendrick Lamar to Madonna. She has such a wonderful philosophy about music and how important it is to provide access to everyone who wants to experience it.

She challenges assumptions that deaf people can’t or don’t enjoy music. We unfortunately see such assumptions about people with disabilities all too often – from a casino venue questioning why there should be access to the dance floor because people in wheelchairs “don’t dance,” to parents questioning the value of having their child perform in a concert because they “don’t have any talent.” We are proud to think that we challenge those assumptions on a daily basis as well! We haven’t had the opportunity to work with music sign language interpreters in the past, but we would be happy to explore the idea for future events. If you would like to request interpreting for an NMTS event, or if you have interpreting skills that you would like to share with us, please don’t hesitate to give us a call or send us an email.

Best of Facebook

This month, our Facebook community loved this story of a six-year-old girl who loves to dance. However, she was asked to leave one dance studio for not being able to keep up. She was not accepted by several other studios, until she found this one, where she is a shining star. This is a perfect example of why we are so committed to adaptive music and dance programs.

Unless you or a loved one has with disability, it is easy to take access to music for granted. Most of us live in a world where we couldn’t imagine our six-year-old being asked to leave dance class for not being good enough or “teachable.” And yet this happens for children and adults with disabilities. Your support of NMTS means children and adults with disabilities, mental health issues, or behavioral issues have a place where they are welcomed to participate and succeed in a musical community. The joy you bring to people’s lives is really beyond measure.

Catered Dinner from The Grove – $600 Value Raffle

The Grove at Southcreek has generously donated a dinner served at your home for six people, including four courses and wine pairings! You can be the hostess with the mostest without hardly lifting a finger. Now, that’s worth a $5 raffle ticket.

$5 for one ticket, $10 for three tickets or $100 for 40 tickets. Buy your tickets here! We’ll be drawing the winner on July 28th at the Summertime Blues event. You don’t have to be present to win, but we’d love to see you there!

June Thank Yous!

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

Special Thank You to Craig Chaquico and Dara Crocket! Craig and Dara came to visit us prior to Craig’s performance at The Nugget. Craig jammed with The Note-Ables. He and Dara brought such joy for the band and our Exploring Music class who came to listen and dance.

Extra thank you to Jim Joseph! Jim provided support to for our families who could not afford this year’s Teen Camp coming up in a couple weeks! We can’t wait to share pictures and videos from the events. We have 15 teens coming this year, which is beyond our usual capacity, thanks to Jim. We’re bringing in extra volunteers and helpers to make this week a success for all.

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 for Donating in June!

We had a final goal for raising the last $10,000 in preparation for hiring our new music therapist. Thank you so much to everyone who donated. We’re so grateful and excited for our new music therapist to join the crew! 

We raised just shy of $7,000 this past month. We haven’t quite reached our goal yet, but we were so honored by all of your support. It really is a community effort. Your donations will allow our new therapist to start meeting the demand for services ASAP, without worrying about who can pay.

Dodie Bryant, Jaime Briscoe Collins, Florence Cordine, Dennis and Diana Doty, John Drakulich, Cheryl Eckert, Scott Faulkner, Kim and Dave Franchi, Frontier Financial Credit Union, Mary Lee Fulkerson, Scott Harrington, Tee Iseminger, Jan Johnson, Jim Joseph, Tom Kulczycki, Donna Leidner, Linda and Jon Madsen, Rick and Natalie Michaelson, Marilyn and Paul Moon, Sallie Moore, Nancy Oesterle, Norma Restivo, Bill Roach, Gerardo Rodriguez, Bonnie Rothman, Jeremy Satalick, Bev Savage, Larry & Judy Simcoe, Geilan Toppozada, Gail Trounday, David and Connie Wilson, John and Christine Worthington, Beth Quinn Varney, Ken and Doreen Vogel, Nancy Young, Sandy Young, and Anna Zucker. For a list of all of our wonderful donors, please check out our donor page.

Stay tuned for news on our new therapist. We’re still interviewing, but we hope to be able to introduce you to him or her during the donor party in August.

Music Quote of the Month

Wish List

  • Banjo
  • 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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