Our Team of Music Therapists

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    Courtney A. Elder, MT-BC

    Owner, MT Coordinator, Clinical Supervisor

    North Bethlehem, NY

    Courtney started Music Speaks in 2011 after nearly a decade working in the music therapy field in the Capital Region, seeing a need for creative therapeutic services that focused on the student above all else, and emphasized collaboration with teachers and parents. Courtney graduated from Berklee College of Music in Boston with her Bachelor's in Music Therapy, conducted clinical work at facilities like Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Lemuel Shattuck Hospital, and completed her internship at Wildwood School in Schenectady under the supervision of Beth McLaughlin, MME, LCAT, MT-BC.

     

    A performer and songwriter from an early age, Courtney enjoys helping her students express themselves through original songs, including collaborating on original recordings. Courtney still performs with her husband Andrew, in the duo "Hearty Hearty Love", throughout the Albany area.

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    Cassie Perrone, MT-BC

    Board Certified Music Therapist

    Guilderland, NY

    Cassie graduated from Marywood University with a degree in Music Therapy and her voice as her principle instrument. She completed her internship at Broome-Tioga BOCES in Binghamton, NY. Here, she was able to work with students of all ages in order to assist them in achieving social, physical, and intellectual goals. Cassie's excited to be welcomed aboard the Music Speaks team and can't wait to see what's in store!

    Cassie is from Syracuse, NY and has grown up in a very musical household. With both parents and all 3 siblings having been involved in ensembles and musicals, it was impossible to deny her immediate love of music. She enjoys performing occasionally with her former music teacher at various events as well as spending time with friends and family

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    Amanda Pfeiffer, MT-BC

    Board Certified Music Therapist

    Albany, NY

    Amanda graduated from the University of Kansas in 2020 with a Bachelor's in Music Therapy. She completed her internship at the Institute for Therapy through the Arts in Chicago. Throughout her practicum experiences and internship, Amanda worked with a wide range of populations from children to older adults with diagnoses such as ASD, Down Syndrome, Alzheimer's, Dementia, Depression, Anxiety, and more. Amanda looks forward to continuing working with a variety of clients as a Board Certified Music Therapist with Music Speaks. 

     

    Amanda grew up playing music and singing with her sisters around the family piano. She also enjoyed singing in choirs and playing the French Horn in bands and orchestras. Amanda is thrilled to have the opportunity to help others experience the benefits of music in therapeutic settings. 

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    Colleen Thomas, MM, MT-BC

    Board Certified Music Therapist

    Normal, IL

    Colleen graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in music therapy from Illinois State University in 2016 and completed her internship at Helping Hand Center in Countryside, Illinois. After obtaining her MT-BC credential, Colleen worked in northern Illinois providing music therapy services to a wide variety of populations and diagnoses, including hospice, older adults with Alzheimer’s disease, children with ASD, and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. In 2018, Colleen returned to Illinois State University to complete her Master’s in music therapy and acted as the Graduate Teaching Assistant for the music therapy program, supervising clinical practicum students and co-teaching undergraduate courses. She graduated from ISU with her Master’s in music therapy in 2020 and is thrilled to join the Music Speaks team!

     

    Colleen’s primary instrument is voice, and in her free time, enjoys singing and performing with her fiancé Daniel in their singer-songwriter duo Apricot Protocol. She lives in her hometown of Normal, Illinois.

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    Nicole Harney, MT-BC

    Board Certified Music Therapist

    Newport News, VA

    Nicole graduated from Shenandoah University with a Bachelor of Music Therapy in 2020. Throughout her practicum and internship experience, she has worked with a wide range of populations. She completed her internship at Sentara Neurology Specialists in Norfolk, Virginia, working with clients with diagnoses of dementia, mild cognitive impairment, TBI, stroke, pulmonary disease, Autism, and developmental disability. She completed part of her internship leading sessions via telehealth, and she is excited to continue using technology with her clients at Music Speaks!

     

    Nicole grew up in Virginia surrounded by other musicians - her parents and her brother all play clarinet and saxophone professionally, along with some other instruments. Nicole’s main instrument is the cello, and she also enjoys playing guitar and singing.

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    Dara Ribis

    Music Therapy Intern

    Albany, NY

    Dara received a Bachelor of Arts in Music from the University at Albany and is currently a music therapy student through Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College in Indiana.  Dara completed practicum experiences with Music Speaks, the Bernard and Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center, and Note-Able Music Therapy Services in Reno, Nevada via teletherapy.  Throughout her practicum experiences, Dara worked with individuals of all ages with complex medical conditions, developmental disabilities, cognitive impairments, and behavioral and mental health concerns, supporting social, cognitive, emotional, communication, and physical needs.  

     

    Dara’s primary instrument is viola which she has been playing for over 25 years, having performed with orchestras and chamber ensembles throughout the foothills of the Catskill Mountains and the Capital District.  Dara enjoys performing and composing music with her husband and is an active member of the University Symphony Orchestra at the University at Albany.  Dara is excited to join Music Speaks as a music therapy intern!  

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    Emily Ennis

    Music Therapy Intern

    Queensbury, NY

    Emily has been a music therapy student at Montclair State University in New Jersey since 2017. Having completed all other coursework, she now interns with Music Speaks as the last step before graduating with her undergraduate degree. During her clinical practicums at Montclair she worked closely with dementia, alzheimers, children with ASD, Down Syndrome, other developmental disabilities, as well as adults with Bipolar Disorder, Schizophrenia, Depression and substance abuse. Originally from Queensbury, Emily looks forward to the next step in clinical training and completing her education with Music Speaks, closer to home. 

    Emily is a classically trained violinist of over 10 years having been a member of Empire State Youth Orchestra during high school and playing venues such as Carnegie Hall and Disney World. She also loves playing the piano and writing instrumental music. 

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    Alyssa Yeager, MA, MT-BC

    Board Certified Music Therapist

    Troy, NY

    Alyssa Yeager, MA, MT-BC obtained her masters degree in music therapy from Drexel University in Philadelphia. She has worked with children of all ages in settings ranging from in-home to schools and hospitals. Alyssa created the music therapy internship program at Rainbow Babies and Children’s Hospital in Cleveland, OH, and continues to provide clinical and continuing education services now in the Capital District.

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© 2018 Music Speaks, Music Therapy Services in the Capital Region ~ Albany, NY ~ 518 227 4494 ~ info@musicspeaksmt.com