Our OWNER

Mary Altom, MT-BC

Mary Altom, MT-BC

Owner, Music Therapist

Sound Starts Music was established by Mary Altom, a board certified music therapist, in 2011 to provide music therapy and adapted music lessons for children with special needs. Giving students opportunities to learn through music is Mary’s passion, and she is a firm believer that music can help every individual reach their fullest potential.

Mary earned her certification as a Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT) through intense training at Colorado State University. Mary completed her music therapy internship with MusicWorx of California under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Reuer and graduated from Tennessee Technological University with a Bachelor’s in Music – Music Therapy in 2007.

Mary is an active member of the American Music Therapy Association and the Southwestern Region American Music Therapy Association.  She enjoys attending national and regional conferences each year and has presented at regional conference.  Mary is married to Ben and they have three children – Jaxon (8), Lily (4), and Owen (baby). She enjoys reading and pinterest crafting in her spare time.

Watch Ms. Mary’s Facebook video here.

 

Our DIRECTORS

Samantha Lowry, MT-BC

Samantha Lowry, MT-BC

Center Clinical Director, Music Therapist

Samantha Lowry is a graduate from West Texas A & M University with her Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. As Center Clinical Director, she oversees all things related to our center-based services in Frisco and Grapevine! Throughout her career, she has worked with a wide variety of clientele and discovered that serving school-aged children is her preferred and strongest area of practice. Samantha completed her internship spring of 2015 at Hurst-Euless-Bedford I.S.D. near Fort Worth. Her experience at Hurst-Euless-Bedford I.S.D reinforced her calling to work with the school-aged population. She enjoys using familiar songs and writing new materials to target specific goals as well as engaging her clients in improvisational music making. Her love of music and desire to help others is what brought her to Sound Starts Music! Samantha loves sharing her passion for music with the families at Sound Starts Music!

Watch Ms. Samantha’s Facebook video here.

 

Jorja Benjamin, MT-BC

Jorja Benjamin, MT-BC

Internship Director, Music Therapist

Jorja Benjamin has been a board-certified Music Therapist since July 2016. She graduated from Southwestern Oklahoma State University with her Music Therapy degree with an emphasis in voice. As internship director, Jorja runs our internship program and coordinates all practicum placements for local students. Jorja worked with medically fragile kids during her internship at The Children’s Center Rehabilitation Hospital in Oklahoma City. She has served children with special needs, adults with special needs, and children on the Autism Spectrum. Jorja was a Registered Behavior Technician ABA Therapist for a year. She is so excited to be part of a wonderful Music Therapy team and serve the families of North Texas! Jorja is from Amarillo, TX and loves bowling, darts, and learning new music.

Watch Ms. Jorja’s Facebook video here.

 

Tyler Smith, MT-BC

Tyler Smith, MT-BC

Community Clinical Director, Music Therapist

Tyler Smith is a 2018 graduate of Sam Houston State University majoring in Music Therapy. As Community Clinical Director, Tyler completes school evaluations and oversees services provided at our schools and other outside organizations! Tyler is a percussionist and was a drummer for the SHSU jazz lab band. Plano, Texas is his home, so he is excited to be back serving in this community. He is recently married so in his free time he enjoys spending time with his wife, Madison, watching movies, playing ping-pong, and watching the sunset. Tyler is excited to lead The Band Experience at Sound Starts.

Watch Mr. Tyler’s Facebook video here.

 

Our TEAM MUSIC THERAPISTS

Becca Kittleson, MT-BC

Becca Kittleson, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Becca Kittleson is a graduate of Nazareth College in Rochester, New York.  She moved to Texas to complete her internship with Denton ISD and fell in love with school based music therapy and the DFW area.  She is currently pursuing her Master’s in Music Therapy at Texas Woman’s University.  Her primary instrument is oboe and she hopes to join a community band or orchestra in the area.  She has two miniature dachshunds, Cheddar and Topanga, and loves to spend time playing with them outside of work.  Becca is excited to be providing music therapy to students in the DFW area! 

Watch Ms. Becca’s Facebook video here

Fatima Herrera, MT-BC

Fatima Herrera, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Fatima Hererra graduated from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor’s of Science in Music Therapy. More coming soon!

Charlotte Clark, MT-BC

Charlotte Clark, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Charlotte Clark is a graduate from Texas Woman’s University with a Bachelor’s in Music Therapy and has been Board Certified since 2016. Charlotte has experience working with different age groups and diagnoses. She has grown up and resides in Denton, TX where her love of music was created and nourished. She is a firm believer that music is a universal language and anyone can be a musician. Charlotte is also involved in her church choir and in the Denton Bell Band. When she is not working, Charlotte enjoys reading books, manga and online webcomics, as well as pottery, archery, and attempting to sew. 

Kelsey Clark, MT-BC

Kelsey Clark, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Kelsey Clark graduated from Sam Houston State University in the Fall of 2019 with a Bachelor’s degree in Music Therapy. Kelsey completed her internship at Sound Starts Music in December of 2019. During her time at SHSU, Kelsey worked with a variety of clientele, including preschoolers, a client with Childhood Apraxia of Speech, geriatrics, and a client with Cerebral Palsy. Her primary instrument is the cello. Kelsey has known since she was 12 that she wanted to work with children with special needs, and is excited to work with this population through Sound Starts. In her free time, Kelsey loves writing poetry, binge-watching TV shows (especially Grey’s Anatomy), and hanging out with her cat, Strudel, and her dogs Kujo and Brady. 

Watch Ms. Kelsey’s Facebook video here.

Our ADMIN ASSISTANT

Amrita Atrey

Amrita Atrey

Administrative Extraordinaire

Amrita Atrey has served as Sound Starts’ administrative assistant (guru!) since 2018, though she and her family have been part of the Sound Starts family for much longer! She does ALL the things and keeps our office running smoothly. If you have an an administrative or billing question, she is the one to contact.

Our INTERNS

Dorothy Schaettle

Dorothy Schaettle

Music Therapy Intern

Dorothy Schaettle, a former music educator and corporate business manager, is currently working on her Master’s Equivalency in Music Therapy at Sam Houston State University. As a Music Therapy student Dorothy has worked with children with autism, caregivers and infants, and older adults in hospice and palliative care. Dorothy’s major instruments are piano and voice, and she is proficient with guitar. Dorothy is married with two grown sons; her family is very supportive of her pursuit of her future career as a Music Therapist. In her free time, Dorothy enjoys songwriting, quilting, baking, swimming, and visiting family.

Hope Gray

Hope Gray

Music Therapy Intern

Hope Gray attended Sam Houston State University and finished her coursework in Spring of 2021 for a Bachelor’s Degree in Music Therapy. During her time at SHSU, Hope worked with a variety of clientele, including preschoolers, a young adult with ASD, a group of elementary aged clients with ASD, and a client in hospice and palliative care. Her primary instrument is violin and loved her years playing in orchestra. Hope has been employed as a caregiver for individuals with special needs for over 3 years and is looking forward to working with this population at Sound Starts. In her free time, Hope loves to discover new coffee shops in the area, spend time with family and friends, and play with her dog Dash

Specially Designed Songs & Strategies

Our team is trained to develop specific songs and music interventions to meet a wide variety of goals specific to each of our client’s needs.

Client Centered Services

We believe in client centered services. We take the time to get to know you and meet you exactly where you are.

Evidence Based Practice

Our music therapist’s techniques and strategies are a direct reflection of the most current evidenced based practice in music therapy.

Clear Communication

You can expect frequent communication from our music therapists. Session reminders and session summary notes are shared weekly.

Clients Served Each Week

Music Therapists on our Team

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Passionate

Get In Touch.

We offer a complimentary consultation so get on our schedule today!