Bessie received her Bachelor’s of Music in Music Therapy from Willamette University in 1996. During her schooling she worked with a variety of clientele including children with hearing impairments, high school special day classes, skilled nursing, psychiatric facilities, and children’s units in hospitals. She completed her internship at Welborn Hospital, Mulberry Center in Evansville, Indiana, a short-term psychiatric unit for children and adolescents. After completing her internship, Bessie spent two and a half years as a Music Therapist at Southside Arts Center in Sacramento, California, an adult day program for adults with developmental disabilities. She, then, spent time working at the Veterans Home in Yountville, California in the short-term acute hospital and skilled nursing units.
In May of 2000, Bessie began a private practice by becoming a vendor through ALTA California Regional Center. As her work continued, she was able to develop contracts with school districts in the Sacramento area. She spent two years working independently before expanding her practice to develop Music To Grow On and increase the number of therapists servicing children with special needs in the Sacramento region. As the business has expanded, the diversity of populations grew to cover all ages and capacities.
In April 2006, Bessie was approved to hold a National Roster Internship site at Music To Grow On through the American Music Therapy Association. She is the Internship Director and supervises two interns. She also provides in-services to various groups including Speech Therapists, preschool teachers, and parent support groups about the benefits of Music Therapy.
In 2007, she completed advanced training in Neurologic Music Therapy through the Robert F. Unkefer Academy for Neurologic Music Therapy, earning the title of Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT).
In 2010, she and Amy Murakami co-founded BRIGHT Children International, a non-profit to take services internationally to Bring Resources to Inspire Growth, Healing, and Transformation where she holds the title of President.
Crystal Chu MT-BC (she/her/hers) is a California native, who graduated from Berklee College of Music in May of 2018 in Music Therapy. She worked with a variety of populations, including geriatrics, developmental disabilities, mental health, and the NICU. Crystal completed her internship with Bay Area Music Therapy in January 2021, where she was able to serve various populations throughout the Bay Area, including teenage rehab centers, older adults with developmental disabilities, and school-age children on the spectrum.
Crystal found a passion working with children and worked as a music therapist in an ABA clinic prior to joining Music to Grow On. She is also passionate about breaking the stigma surrounding mental health and disabilities within the Asian community.
Prior to becoming a music therapist, Crystal studied classical and Brazilian jazz flute for more than 13 years and has worked as a high school woodwind coach and private flute teacher. Prior to Berklee, she studied at the San Francisco Conservatory of Music.
Crystal is incredibly blessed for all the experiences and lessons she learns from her clients everyday, and is thankful to be able to use her love for music to serve her clients.
Molly Coleman, MT-BC, Neurologic Music Therapist (she/her/hers) found out about music therapy in high school after she observed music’s impact on memory, movement, and social behaviors of older adults with Alzheimer’s disease. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Music Therapy at Seattle Pacific University. During her practicum experiences, she worked with at-risk youth, veterans with depression, mothers experiencing homelessness, seniors with Parkinson’s disease, and students with autism, cerebral palsy, and orthopedic impairments. The highlight of her education was studying abroad at the University of Limerick in the Republic of Ireland, where she studied Irish perspectives on music therapy, traditional music, biological psychology, motor learning, Spanish language, and entrepreneurship.
Molly completed her internship at The Music Therapy Center of California, a private music therapy practice in San Diego, California. She had the privilege of leading individual sessions with students on the autism spectrum, older adult groups in assisted living and memory care facilities, and groups of adults with developmental disabilities in residential, skilled nursing, and day program settings. Molly also had the opportunity to teach adapted piano, guitar, and voice lessons, as well as help adults with developmental disabilities practice social skills through Banding Together’s jam sessions program.
Molly also holds certifications in Music Together, Zumba Fitness, and working with terminally ill patients. Her primary research interests are the effect of auditory stimulation on hospice patients in a nonresponsive state, as well as the effect of practice schedule on motor skill development in a music therapy setting.
Molly joined Music to Grow On in January 2020.
In New Zealand, Tori worked with a wide range of clients, including children with autism and developmental delays. She led individual and group music therapy sessions for adults and children in home, school, and clinical settings. Additionally, she spearheaded an innovative program with the Auckland University of Technology, establishing an interprofessional collaboration course which combines music therapy sessions with various disciplines including speech, physical, and occupational therapy.
After living in New Zealand for 3 years, she moved to Binghamton, New York, where she facilitated group and individual sessions in a retirement community. Tori also has experience working in post-stroke rehabilitation for older adults.
Tori discovered her passion for Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy during her internship period and is in the process of completing her blended learning training through the Nordoff-Robbins Center for Music Therapy at NYU Steinhardt. She is also currently pursuing her graduate degree through Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. Tori has a particular interest in music therapy with at-risk youth.
Tori joined Music To Grow On in June 2022.
Stephanie Nicole Goodman (she/her/hers) is from Durham, North Carolina. She has recently completed her coursework at East Carolina University, with a major in Music Therapy and a minor in Hispanic Studies. She was introduced to the field of music therapy through a college outreach program, in which music therapy was discussed as a field of study. From then, she contacted music therapists in her area, and after observing a session led by an MT-BC, she then began pursuing a career in music therapy.
Stephanie’s clinical experiences include rehabilitation centers, assisted living, and telehealth home care. She has worked with young children, teenagers, young adults, and older adults, with a wide variety of need areas. At ECU, she worked as a research assistant on behalf of the Music Therapy program and Dr. Adrienne Steiner, on research investigating the use of music therapy and psychoeducation on the perceived well-being of informal caregivers. Stephanie completed her music therapy internship at Music to Grow On, and has now joined the MTGO team.
Stephanie joined MTGO in August 2022.
Maddie Horton, MT-BC (she/her/hers) is originally from Northern California. She completed her coursework at University of the Pacific where she discovered Music Therapy while enrolled as a Vocal Performance major. Her strong connection with music combined with her passion for supporting those in her community made it very easy for her to decide to pursue a career in Music Therapy. It was the best choice she has ever made!
Maddie completed her internship at MusicWorx Inc. in San Diego in September of 2022. She had wonderful opportunities to work with a large variety of populations and clients including adult medical, pediatric medical, those with special needs, those with neurodegenerative diseases, in behavioral and mental health, hospice, with older adults, people experiencing homelessness, and community outreach programs. Maddie enjoys bringing elements of songwriting into her sessions and actively engages in songwriting in her personal life.
Maddie joined the MTGO team in January of 2023.
Danielle Keaton, MT-BC (she/her/hers) is a Northern California native who graduated from Utah State University in May 2016, double majoring in music therapy and psychology. During her schooling, she especially enjoyed her practicum experiences working with a small group of young children at a preschool and an individual child diagnosed with autism. She completed her music therapy internship at Music To Grow On in July 2017 and has loved remaining with the company since then. Danielle works with a variety of clients spanning all ages and abilities and is incredibly passionate about using music to brighten their lives! She also enjoys writing for the MTGO blog on a variety of topics such as recommended playlists, intervention ideas, and tips and tricks for using music at home with your own children.
Kaitlyn McEowen, MT-BC (she/her/hers) is a December 2017 graduate from the University of Iowa in Music Therapy with an emphasis in Voice. She spent the last 4 years involved with her university’s women’s acapella group, The Hawkapellas, and spent the last 2 years as music director. Kaitlyn completed her music therapy internship with Music To Grow On in September 2018.
Having had the chance to explore a diverse range of populations and settings, she has found great passion working with students in schools of a variety of backgrounds and needs. She spent last summer caring for a 4 year old with Autism, giving her new insight to individuals with varying needs, interests and strengths. As a California native, she is excited to be back after spending the last 4 1/2 years in the Midwest.
Keeping music in her life, but finding a way to benefit her community through therapy has already been one of the most rewarding decisions she has made, and is excited to see what the future holds at MTGO.
Kaitlyn joined the MTGO staff in October 2018.
Amy Murakami, MT-BC (she/her/hers) graduated from Eastern Michigan University with a Bachelor of Music Therapy in April of 2010, and a Special Education Teaching Credential from California State University-Sacramento in May of 2013. She completed her Music Therapy internship with Music To Grow On under the direction of Bessie Barth and the supervision of Kimberly Smith-Ensign.
Amy has experience working with individuals with various disabilities including autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, brain damage, and severe multiple impairments. Her clientele has ranged from toddler to the elderly, and mild to profound disabilities. She also has experience working with groups. Amy’s teaching credential is in mild/moderate disabilities with the authorization to teach English Language Learners and those with Autism Spectrum Disorders.
Currently, Amy is the Assessment Coordinator for Music To Grow On, completing all assessments requested by local school districts. She is also the Secretary for BRIGHT Children International.
Amy joined Music to Grow On in 2011.
Marcia Schumacher, MT-BC (she/her/hers) graduated from the University of the Pacific in Stockton, California with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy in December 1979. She completed her music therapy internship at Camarillo State Hospital and Developmental Center, and continued to work there for several years while obtaining multiple subject and two special education credentials between 1984-1988 through CSU Northridge, Ca. From 2003-2017, she worked with the Elk Grove Unified School District teaching students with multiple disabilities, using music therapy in her classroom on a daily basis.
As both an educator and music therapist, Marcia has experience working with children and adults with a range of disabilities including autism spectrum disorder, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, genetic disorders, vision and hearing impairments, orthopedic impairments, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. She plays several instruments including violin, guitar, piano, ukulele, and autoharp. She has also
completed training in Neurologic Music Therapy through the Robert F. Unkefer Academy for Neurologic Music Therapy.
Since retiring from full time teaching in 2017, Marcia has joined Music To Grow On as a part time music therapist substitute to assist in providing continuous coverage for MTGO clients.
Gigi Siu, MT-BC (she/her/hers) graduated with a Bachelor of Music in Music Therapy, Piano and Organ Performance from William Carey University in May of 2016. She completed her music therapy internship at Music To Grow On under the supervision and direction of Bessie Barth and then joined the company in September of 2016.
Gigi grew up in Hong Kong, and she is also certified with the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music. Gigi plays piano, organ, hand bells and guitar. She has four years experience in teaching private piano lessons and providing piano accompaniment to various instrumentalists and vocalists.
She gained experience as she worked with individuals diagnosed with autism, intellectual disabilities, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, developmental delays, dementia, brain damage, Angelman Syndrome and other various disabilities during her internship and study in college.
Gigi joined Music to Grow On in 2016.
Kristina Taylor, MM, MT-BC (she/her/hers) graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a Master’s degree in Music Composition and went on to complete a certificate program in Music Therapy from Seton Hill University. She completed her internship with Music To Grow On under the direction and supervision of Bessie Barth and has stayed on as an employee of the company.
Kris has experience working with both children and adults with cerebral palsy, post-traumatic stress disorder, developmental delays, autism, Down syndrome, dementia, traumatic brain injury, speech impairments and other various disabilities.
With a background in composition, Kris also has experience with several instruments including piano, guitar, flute, voice, percussion instruments and most woodwind instruments. She has several years of teaching experience with grade school through college level and enjoys teaching adaptive and beginner lessons.
Kristina joined Music to Grow On in 2014.
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