Allison received a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from Florida State University, one of the top music therapy programs in the U.S., with honors (cum laude). She completed her internship at San Antonio State Hospital, the state mental health facility in San Antonio, TX. Allison has been board-certified since 1997 and has worked with individuals of all ages ranging from neonates to geriatrics. She has worked with a broad spectrum of populations including mental health, early intervention, special needs, autism spectrum, drug and alcohol rehabilitation, Alzheimer’s and abuse victims.
In 2002, Allison was hired by Mars Music, Inc. to implement the Babies Make Music program in the Atlanta area, as the corporation placed a large emphasis on early music education and early music intervention. In addition, Allison has designed music therapy programs, music education classes and music camps for local schools and organizations. By combining her music therapy experience with her love of teaching, Allison is able to offer successful, adaptive lessons to individuals who might struggle in the traditional private lesson environment.
Sara holds a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Agnes Scott College and a Master’s of Music Education with Music Therapy from the University of Georgia. The focus of her clinical training has been child and adolescent psychiatric populations and working with children who have special needs. She completed her clinical internship at River Oaks Hospital in New Orleans, where she worked with psychiatric populations, including children and adolescents with eating disorders, trauma, and addiction/dual diagnoses, and with general adult psychiatric groups.
Sara is board-certified and specializes in working with children and adolescents, addressing a variety of needs associated with autism, ADHD, cerebral palsy and other behavioral, neurological and psychiatric disorders. She also teaches adaptive beginning and intermediate piano lessons for children and adolescents with special needs, and typical children as well.
My most treasured memory of my work so far has been the day that one of my adaptive students performed for the very first time. I had been working with her for several years, first as a music therapy client and then as an adaptive student as she met her treatment goals with me. She had learned to play “Twinkle, Twinkle” in our lessons together, and we had practiced everything from walking up to the keyboard to taking a bow afterwards. But when the day arrived, she was too afraid to perform for the audience when her turn came.
We encouraged her, but she was simply too frightened.
She watched all of the other students perform, and after everyone had finished and the audience had begun to leave, she looked up at her mother and me and said, “I want to try.” So I walked her up to the keyboard, and she played for her entire family and the remaining audience members. Not only that, she has performed many times since that day. That moment of immense pride and love reminds me every day of why I do the work that I do.
Kristen Van Dyke has a Bachelor of Music in Music Education from the University of Delaware, and a Master of Arts in Music Therapy from Immaculata University. She is a music therapist and vocal instructor who has taught private lessons as well as choirs. Before coming to Georgia and Metro Music Makers, Kristen worked as a music therapist in two children’s hospitals and a private practice specializing in children with learning disabilities in New Jersey. She is a member of the American Music Therapy Association and the Phi Kappa Lambda National Music Honor Society.
Kristen teaches voice and piano and also works as a music therapist at Metro Music Makers. “I love having a piece of my heart in both the music education world and the music therapy world,” she says. “I know how influential music has been in my own life, and I love helping my students discover their own journey with music and the role that it can play in their own lives.”
Kristen is known for her corny jokes and funny voices, which she uses in her quest to make music accessible to everyone while keeping them laughing in the process. She is also a huge Harry Potter fan who loves musical theater.
A graduate of Georgia College and State University with a bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy, Melanie has extensive experience working with diverse populations, including those diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, depression, anxiety, autism, learning disorders, visual impairments, developmental disabilities and more. Melanie received several awards and scholarships during her time at GCSU, including Outstanding Sophomore in Music Therapy and the Department of Music Therapy Technology Award. She was also a member of the Music Therapy Society, Salsa Club, Swing Club, Lifeline Voices and the Bridge Scholars Program.
Melanie teaches piano, guitar, ukulele and voice at Metro Music Makers, using various styles to teach her students. She also brings additional instruments to the lessons (especially for those students interested in playing in a group setting) to teach students how to listen to others and play well with their peers.
Melanie’s approach is person-centered and family-oriented, and her mission is to create a positive, safe environment where her clients and students are able to explore, ask questions, and gradually learn about the world around them while working on their individualized goals.
“My focus is to design highly creative, fun, and engaging sessions based on my student’s favorite music and their unique needs,” Melanie says. “We build strong skill development in our music therapy sessions, and work towards generalizing those skills to other areas of the child’s life through hard work and collaboration with the child and their family. My hope for my students is that they learn to love music and they carry that love through life and share it with others.”
Morgan Minyard is a music therapist who specializes in a variety of populations, including children, adolescents and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Morgan earned her Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy from the University of Georgia, graduating magna cum laude. There she performed with the UGA Wind Ensemble and Symphony Orchestra for four years (bassoon), was a member of UGA’s graduate woodwind quintet (Southern Winds), went on tour with UGA’s wind ensemble to Europe (Switzerland and France), and performed in Panama with UGA’s wind ensemble.
She has been a private lesson instructor for the bassoon since 2013, and was co-instructor/teacher for Georgia Children’s Chorus in 2015. Morgan also led individual music therapy sessions for children with intellectual and developmental disabilities at the YMCA in 2016. In addition, she completed an internship for her Music Therapy degree at Trident Medical Center in Charleston, SC.
Morgan teaches bassoon, ukulele, guitar, piano and voice at Metro Music Makers.
“I want to provide a caring environment for my students and clients in order to help them develop their musical skills in an efficient and fun way, as well as aid them in their growth and development in a therapeutic setting,” Morgan shares. Her advice for her students? “Honestly, just have fun! Music is a process, so don’t get discouraged – just enjoy creating music!”