Lessons from a Green Thumb

Article by music therapy intern, Becca Dideum

During my sophomore year of college, I went through a plant-hoarding phase. That is, I thoroughly enjoyed walking aimlessly through the numerous, filled greenhouses that were down the street from ECU and buying every plant in sight. I particularly loved the Norfolk Island Pines, the bleeding hearts, and the little pepper plants. By the second semester of that year, I had no less than thirty plants in my tiny apartment room… and I wish I were kidding.

In addition to buying all the plants I could get my hands on, I bought and planted seeds. Years later, I still have about ten of my original plants, including a hibiscus tree and some cacti that I managed to grow from seeds. Out of the six or seven cacti seeds I planted, four grew into actual, living cacti, and they survived the trip to Georgia with me this past year!

A few weeks ago, I repotted the cacti for the first time in their lives. They hadn’t grown any taller in years, from what I could see. I put each cactus into their very own pot and placed them on the back porch where they would get sun and rain. A few days later I went to check on them, and they had doubled in size! My tiny cacti had grown inches in a matter of days just because I gave them fresh mulch and room to grow.


Looking back on it, it’s simple science. I gave those plants the tools they needed to thrive, and they did so. Since coming to the George Center, I’ve had the pleasure of serving many different clients with many different treatment plans. Up until very recently, I was stuck using the same songs repeatedly for my clients. As soon as I started branching out and using songs and activities that not only motivated my clients but also allowed them to be the most successful, I saw a change in my clients’ growth.

By keeping my clients in the same pot, so to speak, with the same song and dance, I was hindering their growth. Through my exploration of new territory, my clients are able to spread their roots and have the most successful sessions. Whenever I get stuck while writing session plans, I remember how small my cacti used to be, and how a simple act of “fresh mulch” can do wonders for growth.

Jamie George


Jamie founded The George Center for Music Therapy, Inc. in 2010 in order to expand and increase access to quality music therapy programs in the metro Atlanta area. She is a licensed and nationally board-certified music therapist. Jamie holds additional certifications in Neurologic Music Therapy (NMT) and Neonatal Intensive Care Unit Music Therapy (NICU-MT).

Jamie received a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from Western Michigan University, and a Master of Music with a concentration in Music Therapy, from the University of Georgia. She completed her graduate research studying music therapy and its effects on children with sensory processing disorder. Jamie completed her internship working with exceptional children in the Fulton County Schools Music Therapy Department in metro Atlanta. Jamie specializes in autism and other neurologic conditions. In addition to teaching and treating, she actively consults with parents, therapists, allied health, and therapeutic and educational programs across the country.

Jamie serves on the Ethics Board for the American Music Therapy Association, and serves as Government Relations Co-Chair for the Southeastern Region of the AMTA. She serves as Reimbursement Chair for the Music Therapy Association of Georgia, having previously served as Treasurer for the organization from 2007 – 2012.  Jamie also serves on the Georgia state task forceand the Georgia Secretary of State appointed Music Therapy Advisory Committee.

Jamie is an accomplished vocalist, and comes to Atlanta after having performed for several years in New York City and Walt Disney World in Orlando, FL.

Check out some of Jamie’s work over on the blog!