Intergenerational Rock Band Coming to Hamilton Mill!





My name is Melissa Pate and I am the Director of Senior Services for The George Center for Music Therapy in Roswell, GA. The George Center is a music therapy private practice that serves children and adults with various special needs and diagnoses across the metro Atlanta area. We pride ourselves on offering a creative approach for individual growth and we employ licensed and board certified music therapists with additional training in neurologic music therapy.


We are excited to announce that we are about to begin our 1st season of Intergenerational Rock Band with the Independent Living Community at Arbor Terrace Hamilton Mill! We have already seen great success with this program over the past several years in both Roswell, Decatur, and Buckhead and can’t wait to crank up the volume and jump into some awesome music making at the new Hamilton Mill location!


Intergenerational Rock Band was developed and implemented by music therapy students at Florida State University and Drury University in order to reach across the perceived barriers of generational divides. Intergenerational groups are about connecting and belonging. It is that simple and that complex. Intergenerational programs rock because they can enrich the lives of participants while meeting special needs of one or both groups, but support is needed to make that bond happen.


We are looking for music therapy students and young adults who have an interest in music and an eagerness to serve their community. Volunteers will participate in rehearsals 1 hour per week, on Thursdays, from 1:30-2:30pm, May 10th through August 2nd. The semester will culminate with a ROCKING PERFORMANCE TBA!


This opportunity is perfect for students that are interested in a career in music, music therapy, or any student needing volunteer or clinical hours!


People rock our world. Music can help us rock together. Many people see music preferences as divisive yet they need not be. With careful selection and a variety of genres and eras, music can be a connecting and gathering point. The values inherent in music can transcend age. Research in music-based intergenerational programming has shown benefits such as improved cross-age attitudes and cross-age interactions between younger and older generations. We hope that YOU will take part in our program!


If interested in participating in our program, please contact Melissa Pate, LPMT, MT-BC, no later than April 27th with your name, contact information, age, any instruments you may play, and availability. We look forward to rocking with you!



Melissa Pate, LPMT, MT-BC

Director of Adult Programming


Bucket Drumming Fun!

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Ah, summer in Georgia. It’s on its way again, and I know I can’t wait for the sweet tea and lemonade, hours spent on the Chattahoochee, hammocks in the shade, and one of my very favorite experiences I’ve had as a George Center therapist: Bucket Drumming!  The summer can be a great time for kids and teens to spend time with old friends and to make new ones, and every Tuesday evening during the summer, we have an excellent opportunity to do both in a fun and educational setting during bucket drumming with the George Center.

In bucket drumming class, participants have the opportunity to learn how to play a rhythms from all over the world and what role each rhythm plays in a social setting. Whether it’s a Latin rhythm from South America, an African rhythm that dates back centuries, or a modern hip-hop rhythm, participants get to explore what makes these rhythms culturally important while layering different rhythms to make even more complex sounds by working together as a team.



Each week, the instructors, participants, and assistants meet to learn and have fun, and, when weather permits, they get to do it all under a shaded gazebo outside of the George Center and enjoy the summer evenings. But the best part? At the end, everything comes together in a final performance for family and friends to demonstrate what participants learned together, show off their drumming skills, and even teach the audience a little bit about the rhythms they worked on.


So, if you’re looking for a truly awesome opportunity to have fun with friends outside and wail on some bucket drums, bucket drumming with the George Center is definitely for you, so sign up and come join us!

G.R.O.W. is BACK!


Friends, I have the BIGGEST news to share with you.

G.R.O.W. is BACK!!!!

If you’re new to these parts and you would like me to take a step back, I’d be happy to! G.R.O.W. stands for Girls Reaching Our World….. Through music! It is a GIRLS ONLY 9 week summer music course focused on GIRL POWER! We’ll make music and build friendships as we explore empowerment, self-advocacy, and social skills.


Here are the deets:

Who: Your rock star daughters, rising 4th-12th grade

When: Monday afternoons from 4:15 - 5:15 pm

Where: Building Bridges Therapy in Cumming, GA


So, here’s the deal: we’re going to use our favorite music - I’m talking Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Moana, Frozen, and MORE! - we’re going to use that music to develop friendships and skills using evidence based techniques in music therapy. This will look like sing-alongs, musical games, instrument play, drumming, you name it! We hope you’ll join us for this non-stop fun class as we explore powerful music to discover the power in us individually and as a team! The most fun part might be getting to share a moment of this class with your girl on our last day of class when we show off some of our favorite activities from the summer. It truly is a can’t miss opportunity. We can’t wait to see you there!

For more information, or to REGISTER, visit or email



Camp CreARTive at The George Center


It’s that time of year again, my friends! It’s that time of year where all the summer camps are getting planned and everyone at the George Center is getting STOKED for our 2018 hosting of Camp CreARTive! As a new employee to the George Center last summer, I was lucky to be able to lead music in every day of camp and am here to tell you about how great it was!



One thing that sets Camp CreARTive apart from other camps is its emphasis on making art. We spend every part of the day being creative by exploring different mediums art, whether that is through playing music, moving to music, making crafts, etc. Camp is led by an Adaptive Art Teacher, a Music Therapist, an Occupational Therapist, a Speech Therapist, and a Recreational Therapist. With all these creative individuals leading camp, your child can’t help but have a good time!


Every day of camp is set to a theme that serves as an influential emphasis for the art to be made that day. Last year’s themes included themes such as Australia Day, Native American Day, and my personal favorite, MOANA Day. One of the highlights of last summer for me (and for most of the campers) was Moana Day! This day was particularly special in that we got to use ALL of the music from the movie within our music therapy sessions. That means all the hits such as “How Far I’ll Go” and “You’re Welcome”. The campers also made their own Hawaiian demigod masks and even Maui’s infamous hook. Did I mention we also learned how to dance the hula?!


With all this being said, you might be thinking “how can it get any better?”. Well, my favorite moment of camp was the last day of camp when all of the parents showed up for our final performance of the week where we not only showcased all the art that we had made that week, but got to show off our music skills in front of all the parents. We sang, danced, and played instruments, but couldn’t help ourselves in including all the parents. We capped off a magical week of art making with a full on drum circle! That means all the campers, therapists, parents, and families all making music together. Considering music is a universal behavior, everyone got to experience the power of music one last time before camp ended.


This camp is special one. You’re kiddos will leave each day feeling accomplished by their creations, empowered by their interactions, and excited to come back! Our goal is to provide an avenue to learn and grow through art and music. After my first experience with camp last year, I can’t wait to be back this summer for a full week of non-stop art creation and music-making!


Songs, Sensory, and Social Skills: Group Music Therapy for Children with Autism

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The possibilities that music brings to the therapeutic process are endless. Communication, motor movement, processing, stimulation, sensory elements, and so much more are easily accessed through the use of music alone. As a new intern, my first weeks at the George Center have been full of observing all of this in action.  My mind seems to be more full than ever of examples of how music therapy is used to benefit the lives of individuals everyday. Considering all of this, as I chose my first journal article, I decided to pick something that addresses one of many populations that I am passionate about: children with autism.

In my experience, Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) presents itself differently in every child. There is beauty in this, but it definitely does NOT make an easy job for science. This diagnosis can still be a highly controversial in many settings and even homes. The history of therapy for this population can be both inspiring and heartbreaking to those who know how far the world of healthcare has come in regards to individuals with ASD. All of this is exciting as we see research lead to successes being documented, especially with music therapy.

According to the  article Effects of a Music Therapy Group Intervention on Enhancing Social Skills in Children with Autism, statistics show that 1 in 88 children in the United States are diagnosed with ASD (LaGasse, 2014). Since this study statistics have changed. According to the Center of Disease Control and Prevention 1 in 68 children now meet the criteria for ASD. Autism is defined in short, as a neurodevelopmental disorder. Current research suggests that neurological aspects influence specific features of ASD. Some of these directly relate to motor deficits and difficulties with sensory processing. However, research also confirms that individuals with ASD demonstrate different musical processing skills, in that the activation of their brain surpasses that of neurotypical or normally developing individuals (LaGasse, 2014). So, good news: music is a multisensory medium!  

You may ask, “What is one of the biggest challenges for children with ASD?” I would venture to say that one of the largest areas of focus in general is socialization and communication. Although this is a large focus, to achieve goals in this area the regulation of the sensory system is what current research has shown to be most important. Therefore, it may be language development we are trying to foster; other times it is socialization skills and interactions that are required on a daily basis that we are trying to build on or make more tolerable through music therapy. The areas of expressive, receptive, verbal, and nonverbal language all fall under social and communicative areas of development. One way music therapy can help children that battle issues like this is through group interventions. This article by LaGasse exemplifies recent successes in this area, so let’s jump into the details!

Studies show that music therapy can improve social behaviors and joint attention in children with ASD. LaGasse delves into what impact music therapy has in a group setting along with areas of focus within the groups relating to social skills, which included eye gaze, joint attention, and communication. To examine this in the study children ages 6-9 with ASD were assigned a music therapy group or a non-music therapy group. The children participated in two 50-minute sessions per week for 5 weeks, for a total of ten sessions during the study. Each group was designed to target social skills.

Social skills are important to be addressed in children with autism because the lack of development in these skills will have lifelong implications (LaGasse, 2014). It is stressed that social skills are needed in every relationship and activity. Noting this, another important piece of research is referenced in this article, stating that, “ The notion that persons with ASD do not want to be involved in their environment is being challenged as self-advocates with autism indicate that it is not a matter of wanting to interact; rather, they have an inability to follow through or tolerate the desired interaction” (Goddard & Goddard, 2012). Key words there are inability and desired.  As research like this advances, it is becoming more apparent that by helping develop these skills in children with ASD, we are also giving them tools to enhance their overall quality of life.

The outcome of this study was very interesting. Through the use of uniform scales to measure the changes in social behaviors, the results found over this brief period of time that the music therapy group showed more improvements. Positive differences primarily showed up in attention with peers and eye gaze towards individuals (LaGasse, 2014). After 10 sessions the mean for eye gaze variable in the final calculations increased by 3.73 for the music therapy group. The mean decreased 14.75 for the non music social skills group. The explanation of these results pointed toward musical structure being able to maintain children’s attention to their peers more than the prompts and visuals used in the nonmusical group.

These results are important because they validate techniques being used in music therapy and highlight an issue that has a lasting impact on the ASD population. In the music therapy group of this study, some intervention tools used were rhythmic cueing, rhythmic deep pressure exercises with songs, instrument playing, as well as music and movement. For both groups the goals were the same, however, outcomes for the music therapy group were different. Both groups had interventions revolving around group interactions, cooperative play, and sensory experiences. The rhythmic and structural components of music can provide a cue or foundation externally that assists individuals with ASD in organizing their responses to their surroundings (LaGasse, 2014). This fact only supports why the music therapy group had higher positive outcomes.

This article is one of many that scientifically support the use of music therapy for children with ASD. This type of research impacts my work as a future music therapist and as an advocate for individuals I serve because it supports the use of music as a therapeutic tool to reach nonusical goals. Going forward, I will continue to observe and participate in ASD groups with the mindset that this type of research gives of hope and a solid foundation to what possible benefits music therapy services can bring. There are opportunities everyday to observe success happening at the George Center. I appreciate the proactiveness, integrity, and assumed competence I have observed each therapist treat ASD clients with at this facility.

The importance of early intervention and consistent complimentary treatments like music therapy cannot be advised enough by professionals.  It is my hope that through being able to share small pieces of this, that parents, teachers, and current therapists will continue to take initiative and stay updated on ASD research. For this relates to our professions, our caregivers, our community, and most importantly our loved ones impacted by this diagnosis everyday. It is our job to advocate and support these children that cannot always access the ability to do so for themselves.   



A. Blythe LaGasse (2014). Effects of a Music Therapy Group Intervention on             Enhancing  Social Skills in Children with Autism, Journal of Music Therapy,         51,(3). 250–275.     

Goddard, P., & Goddard, D. (2012). I am intelligent: From heartbreak to healing- A         mother and daughter’s journey through autism. Guilford, CT: Skirt!

About "Singing with Parkinson's"


In just a few short weeks, we at the George Center for Music Therapy, in partnership with The Alchemy Sky Foundation, will be kicking off Atlanta’s first Singing with Parkinson’s choir!  Singing with Parkinson’s is a therapeutic choral experience designed by neurologic music therapists to address the symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) all within a setting that is sure to provide a sense of community and a multitude of opportunities for growth.

We begin rehearsals on Monday, April 9th, from 6:30-7:30 PM at the beautiful Renaissance on Peachtree in Buckhead (complimentary valet parking is provided).  We will rehearse each Monday evening at the same time and location from April 9th to August 20th, with all our hard work and fun culminating in a community performance!

Singing with Parkinson’s is open to all those living with PD, and you do not need a musical background to participate.  We will begin each rehearsal with vocal and physical warm-ups led by a neurologic music therapist incorporating techniques designed to address the symptoms of PD.  Throughout our time together, we will explore a broad spectrum of repertoire, including genres spanning from folk, pop, and Broadway tunes to choral music. There is sure to be something that will challenge and engage participants from a range of backgrounds, as well as opportunities to build new and meaningful relationships.

Registration for Singing with Parkinson’s is currently open and will remain open until March 31st so if you are interested in joining, please click here and fill out a registration form.  If you have questions you’d like to ask, please contact us at  We’d love to have you join us in this therapeutic opportunity to blend backgrounds, experiences, and voices in a rich and beautiful music-making experience.

Hope to see you there!


Singing With Parkinson’s: Therapeutic Benefits and Potential

This April, we at the George Center for Music Therapy are thrilled to be partnering with The Alchemy Sky Foundation for our inaugural season of Singing with Parkinson’s! Singing with Parkinson’s is a unique choral experience designed to address various symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) in an engaging, holistic approach. The program is designed by Neurologic Music Therapists to specifically meet the individual needs of participants with PD, and promises to be a source of community, fun and treatment for all participants. (For more information on the kinds of music we’ll be doing, check in with our next write up in a couple of weeks!)

PD is a neurodegenerative disorder that primarily manifests through impaired motor abilities for those with the diagnosis. Individuals with PD frequently experience a variety of movement-related symptoms, include tremor, gait dysregulation, bradykinesia (slower-than-normal movement), impaired speech production, difficulty swallowing, and muscle rigidity. In addition, individuals with PD are at risk for mood disorders, including depression and anxiety (Tan, 2012), which can further affect quality of life for the individuals and their families. As of 2018, there are approximately one million Americans with a diagnosis of PD.


Fortunately, there is a vast body of research supporting the use of music therapy to address these various symptoms. Studies have shown that music accesses various areas of the brain, and that rhythm synchronizes neural and motor activity in humans in general, regardless of diagnosis. This means that your body has an innate response to music, and is activated to respond in predictable ways based on musical input and interaction. Music therapy, and Neurologic Music Therapy in particular, use these intrinsic responses to facilitate both neural rehabilitation and motor regulation. In relation to PD, research shows that music therapy is an effective means addressing multiple symptoms, including improving gait regulation (Lindaman and Abiru, 2013), reducing bradykinesia (Pacchetti et al., 2000), facilitating speech production (Yinger & LaPointe, 2012), and decreasing mood disturbances and depression (Raglio et al., 2015), to name a few.


So what does this mean for Singing with Parkinson’s? It means that we will be using evidence-based methods to maintain and improve functioning with our members so that they can maintain their best quality of living outside of the rehearsal. Furthermore, we hope to provide members with an engaging, quality musical experience within rehearsals using a variety of repertoire and activities. And we hope to provide a place where various individuals of the Atlanta area can come together and experience a community of support, encouragement, and fun. When we make music together, we acknowledge our commonality, our ability to come together from a diverse range of backgrounds and experiences to produce something beautiful.

We are so excited about this amazing program. And we are so excited to have you join us.

See you there!



Lindaman, K., & Abiru, M. (2013). The Use of Rhythmic Auditory Stimulation for Gait Disturbances in Paitents with Neurologic Disorders. Music Therapy Perspectives, 31(1). 35-39.

Pacchetti, C., Mancini, F., Aglieri, Ro., Fundarò, C., Martignoni, E., & Nappi, G. (2000). Active Music Therapy in Parkinson’s Disease: An Integrative Method for Motor and Emotional Rehabilitation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 62(3). 386-393.

Raglio, A., Attardo, L., Gontero, G., Rollino, S., Groppo, E., & Granieri, E. (2015). Effects of music and music therapy on mood in neurological patients. World Journal of Psychiatry, 5(1).

Tan, L.C.S. (2012). Mood Disorders in Parkinson’s Disease. Parkinsonism & Related Disorders, 18. S74-S76.

Yinger, O.S., & Lapointe, L.L. (2012). The Effects of Participation in a Group Music Therapy Voice Protocol (G-MTVP) on the Speech of Individuals with Parkinson’s Disease. Music Therapy Perspectives, 30(1). 25-31.

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A Descriptive Study of Myers-Briggs Personality Types of Professional Music Educators and Music Therapists with Comparisons to Undergraduate Majors: a review by Rebecca Dideum

Article written by Becca Dideum, music therapy intern

A study done in 2011, authors Anita Steele, MMEd, MT-BC, and Sylvester Young, PhD, sought out to determine personality types and demographic characteristics of professional music educators and therapists. They also wanted to determine if the personalities of professionals were consistent with undergrads in those fields and personal characteristics as suggested by the National Association for Music Educators (NAfME) and the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA).

There is previous research that supports personality being related to specific careers. However, there’s little research about music majors and their professional careers. In 1982, research was conducted that compared music educators with performers: it concluded that music educators were more extroverted, realistic, and tough-minded. The NAfME describes the professional music educator as one who has “the ability to work with people, the ambitions to continually study and improve, and the desire to help others learn.” AMTA states that music therapists should have a “genuine interest in people and a desire to help others empower themselves. Empathy, patience, creativity, imagination, openness to new ideas, and understanding of oneself are also important.”

110 music educators and 143 music therapists participated in the study. Participants were directed to a website that asked questions about their demographic information: this developed a profile of practicing music educators and therapists. Participants were also required to take the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator: one of the most widely used personality instruments in the world. The MBTI yielded two types of data; the personality type of each participant and the dichotomous type for each group. The MBTI offers four dichotomies of personalities with sixteen possible types: attitude toward life (Extrovert or Introvert), functions of perception (iNtuition or Sensing), functions of judgment (Thinking or Feeling), and orientation to the outer world (Judging or Perception).

The results concluded that the majority of subjects (52%) favored the Extroverts (50% of educators, 54% of therapists). Extroverts tend to have an open attitude towards life. An overwhelming number of therapists and educators favored the iNtuition preference: 77% of therapists and 67% of educators. People with preferences for intuition process information by way of unconscious associations. The battle for Thinking or Feeling resides in evaluating information with a logical process versus placing value generated by inner emotions and personal experiences. 80% of therapists and 63% of educators favored Feeling. The last dichotomy involved judging or perceiving: 75% of educators and 64% of therapists favored Judging. These MBTI results tell us that the most favored personality type for music therapists is INFJ, followed by ENFJ. For music educators the results are the opposite with extroverts in front.

The demographic question asked by the researchers was divided up into three categories: professional standing, college experience, and high school experience. The data revealed that 48% of the participants had been practicing in their field for 1-10 years; 52% had been practicing for over 11 years. The master’s degree was the highest degree reported for 57% of participants: only 8% held doctorates. In addition to degrees reported, major instruments were also taken into account. The majority of music educators played a brass instrument, followed by voice. Music therapists favored voice with pianists coming in second. In terms of high school experience, 72% studied music privately. Music therapists participated in church and community organizations more often than educators by a 10% margin; in addition, therapists volunteered in the community more than educators.

The results of the study suggest that the personalities of music educators and therapists are similar in many ways. It’s curious to note the differences in MBTI profiles in undergraduate music majors and professionals: the ENFP was preferred by the undergrads while the professionals preferred the ENFJ. The undergraduates’ profiles reflected individuals who make quick decisions, seek affirmation, and are spontaneous. Meanwhile, the professionals are seen as empathetic, responsible, and team leaders. These trait differences suggest the maturity that comes with age and responsibility.

I agree with both AMTA’s and NAfME’s expectations of professionals: that empathy, patience, and the desire to help others are extremely important attributes to both fields. While the MBTI supported the hypothesis that personality types of educators and therapists were related, that’s not to say that an individual with a different MBTI combination than the “preferred” cannot have a music career. The beauty of the music field is that every instrument is different, therefore every musician is different and will thus present a different outlook to their field of study, whether it be education, therapy, performance, history, or theory. I am proud to be an INFP and aspiring music therapist.

Interested in learning more about music therapy? Contact us today for a FREE CONSULTATION!!! 

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