AMTA Print this Page

News From the Nominating Committee - Question #3

October 14, 2015 06:51 PM
To give members the opportunity to interact with the candidates for the office of President Elect and Vice President Elect, the Nominating Committee is pilot testing a project whereby a question and candidates’ responses are posted on the website. About every two weeks the Nominating Committee will post a question (selected from the pool of questions members submit) and responses. We invite you to review the following and to submit your questions for the candidates to Piper Laird, at: Please indicate whether your question is for the President Elect candidates, the Vice President Elect candidates, or for both. Questions and responses will remain on the website until after the election.

Candidates for Vice-President Elect

Question 3: “Tell us about your music background and music interests.”

Tina Haynes, MT-BC, LCAT:

When I learned about music therapy around age 9 and chose this field, I knew early to be involved in as varied musical experiences as were available to me.  I was already taking piano lessons but soon joined the elementary school band playing trumpet, continuing with this instrument thru my senior year,   Getting to play the trumpet solos as first chair and in honor bands was especially fun.  I played piano for LOTS of events in my community:  weddings, receptions, the high school choir, ceremonies, parties, etc. 

As an undergraduate MT major, piano became my primary instrument.  I also accompanied the high school choir at the church I attended in Tempe.  I sang in various college choirs (I loved Handel’s Messiah – the WHOLE work!) and gave some piano and guitar lessons to earn extra money.  And back in those days, we MT majors had to take methods classes on all of the instruments. 

Moving to Nashville, I studied voice privately and became involved in musical theatre, acting, directing, accompanying, producing and appearing in commercials and as a movie extra as extracurricular activities from my MT job.  And of course in this area, songwriting became a pursuit, studying the craft, attending workshops, co-writing, performing at a few writer’s nights, etc.  For two and a half years, I worked with Operation Song, an organization which pairs pro writers with veterans and military, helping them tell their stories thru song.  I continue to play piano for my church’s praise and worship band.

Kristen O’Grady, MA, LCAT, MT-BC:

I first fell in love with making music on the piano and I continue to identify most strongly with that instrument. Having studied classically since age 6, my relationship to the piano has shifted greatly over time. While I grew up learning, understanding and performing the music of others, it was through my internship and master’s degree that I was able to develop my ability to express my own music more fully on the piano. I also love the social aspects of creating music with others, and studied other instruments to join various musical groups. As a high school and college student, I played flute in concert and marching bands, enabling me to travel internationally. I also played snare drum in a colonial fife and drum corps and greatly enjoyed this intersection of music and American history. I am a lover of live music experiences of numerous genres, relishing in the experience of a community of people listening, moving and responding to music simultaneously. Like many of you, my relationship with music has changed significantly over time. Much of what draws me to music is the experience of being in music, either alone or with others.

Candidates for President-Elect

Question 3: “Tell us about your music background and music interests.”

Amber Weldon-Stephens, EdS, MEd, LPMT, MT-BC:

As far back as I can remember, my life has always been immersed in music. My father played his favorite albums late at night and early on Saturday mornings. I could sing the entire Elton John and Bee Gees repertoire as a young girl. My piano lessons began in elementary school and by 4th grade, I had selected saxophone in beginning band! Growing up in a VERY small town in South Georgia, the only musical opportunities came in band. However, this fostered a passion that has stayed with me throughout my life…namely conducting. Or rather, being a Drum Major! I embraced conducting as a sophomore in high school and continue to teach drum major camps and lessons 35 years later!

Though a classically trained saxophonist, jazz band was always in my world. I went on to perform in a professional jazz band at the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland along with festivals in Toronto, Canada, and Amsterdam. Once marriage and children entered my life, my musical passions shifted to a focus on praise and worship music. Currently, I conduct a very large children’s choir and serve on the music team at local retreats.  Moreover, having teenage children keeps me current and relevant in my musical selections for my students.  Simply put, I can’t imagine a life without music.

            ….of all the arts beneath the heavens that man has made and God has given none draws the soul so sweet away, as music’s melting, mystic, lay…

- Anonymous 

Annette Whitehead-Pleaux, MA, MT-BC:

Many of my earliest childhood memories revolve around the music my parents listened to: jazz, classical, and popular rock. I can still remember looking at my father’s LP collection--the graphics, the smell of the records, and knowledge that each contained amazing music that touched me deeply.

When I was 5 years old, I announced wanted to play the baritone saxophone. Much to my dismay, when I asserted this again in 4th grade, I was encouraged to play the clarinet, an instrument that was not bigger than me. However, I got taller by 7th grade and seized the opportunity to finally play the instrument I had loved for so long. I played baritone, alto, and tenor saxophone through college and beyond. I played in jazz and classical ensembles, marching band, and solo performances. My love of marching bands led me to a season in DCI as well as to an LGBT marching band. These days I don’t have much opportunity to play my sax, but my guitar has become my main axe.

My listening taste was deeply influenced by my parents and to this day, I listen to jazz and classical. However, popular music was never of interest to me. In my teen years, new wave, punk, and alternative rock were my mainstay. Over the years, my tastes have broadened to include electronic music, bachata, and many other styles. I appreciate that my music therapy career brings me in contact with so many new genres and artists.




Copyright © 1998-2020. American Music Therapy Association® and its logo are registered trademarks with the U.S. Patent and Trademark office. Information, files, graphics, and other content on this site are the property of the American Music Therapy Association® and may not be reproduced beyond personal use in print or any other media without express written permission of the American Music Therapy Association. The American Music Therapy Association® is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization and accepts contributions which support its mission. Contributions are tax deductible as allowed by law.
8455 Colesville Road, Suite 1000 | Silver Spring MD 20910 | Phone: 301.589.3300 | Fax: 301.589.5175