For our very first client spotlight, Music Therapy St. Pete is incredibly proud to honor one of our most dedicated adaptive music lesson students. Katilyn has been playing piano with Music Therapy St. Pete since 2017, and has now begun playing violin, too. She simply loves music; she picks up her instruments and plays every day!
“I like it because I get to do something I love, making music, new music like every few weeks or every few months, and it doesn’t have to be anything specific, it can be from like a music score, or just a new exercise to help my fingers or something I love.”
She has certainly studied a lot of repertoire, technique, and theory, but as much as she loves music for music’s sake, her adaptive music lessons have also been helping with her auditory processing, too.
“Well, when I first started I could not sit in a crowded room. It was just too much for me to handle. I would just like, shut down. And I didn’t want to be in the room or around the people, but as we’ve progressed through music therapy, I’ve gotten used to sounds and it’s been easier to get used to more sounds and more noises, so now I have almost no trouble being in a room with people talking at a loud volume, more people and more sounds, and I think it’s helped me a lot.”
The teachers with Music Therapy St. Pete are able to redesign traditional music curriculum to better serve people of all ages and abilities with a wide variety of unique challenges. We teach with a very fun, engaging, success-based approach. We make special arrangements of the music our students will be motivated to actually play. We emphasize developing communication skills and enjoyment of music, while allowing students to gradually discover the rewards of focus and hard work.
Katie has autism, and a lesser known connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos syndrome (learn more at https://www.ehlers-danlos.com/what-is-eds/). She plays piano with fingerless gloves with rigid, stabilizing supports built it. We study piano technique that minimizes the stress on her wrists and other joints, but also check in frequently to make sure that there’s no increase in pain or discomfort.
“It can be challenging, more on some days than others, but I’ve learned, because with my Ehlers, sometimes it just hurts a little more to stretch on certain days, or they just feel more stiff. But I’ve learned don’t push it and just do what I can, and find alternatives like different finger numbers or exercises to help.”
Katie is also proud of, “Trying something new. I tried the violin before, but then I tried it with Kaela and I liked it a lot better than the first time, and I’m glad I gave it another go again.”
She has learned many songs through her piano and violin lessons, but she’s also learned how to teach herself music independently, too! This October, she came into piano and asked to play something for James. She absolutely floored him with a four page and rather complex rendition of “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, which she studied, figured out the best fingering patterns, and performed all on her own. It was a really, really cool surprise!
Kaitlyn has performed in the Music Therapy St. Pete showcase and in school talent shows. “My favorite [song] might be “Davy Jones,” but I still like doing all the Harry Potter songs, and “This is Halloween,” and Star Wars.” She’s recorded some music, written some of her own songs, and continues to progress through new songs and new milestones. It’s pretty clear that she’s a lifelong musician!
“I find it helps me relax. It’s a place that I can just like tune everything out, or I can just like sink into the music and that’s a really great feeling. Have fun. I like all of it. It’s a new experience, a new opportunity.”