Shared from the 9/21/2021 Valley News Dispatch eEdition

‘Creative Melodies’

Springdale natives open music therapy practice to help others


PHOTOS: TANISHA THOMAS | TRIBUNE-REVIEW Edward McElroy puts his hand on music therapist Haley Welsh as she sings a song during a group session on Sept. 9.


Music therapist Haley Welsh sings to one of her clients, Christopher Taylor.


Music therapist Haley Welsh sings to one of her clients, Jimmy Jeffery Hammons, who plays the tambourine.

All it took was the strum of a guitar playing a rendition of “Skip to my Lou” by Judy Garland for Raymond Zlobecki to perk up and contribute his baritone vocals.

“Skip to the lou my-y-y…,” Zlobecki said as music therapist Haley Welsh pointed her guitar to Zlobecki for a cue.

“Da-a-a-rling,” he finished.

Despite the mask covering her face, Welsh has mastered smiling with her eyes from the upward motion they make.

“Good job,” she said to the group of four clients in the room.

That’s the kind of magic Welsh is able to create during her music therapy sessions.

The 32-year-old Springdale native took a chance during the pandemic to open her own music therapy practice called “Creative Melodies” in December, and the private practice based in Winfield has taken off. While she has lost count of how many clients she has helped, she estimates at least hundreds have requested her services.

Programs are designed based on the client’s needs. Her practice works with a variety of clients ranging from young children to adults.

She frequently has worked with day cares, adults who have intellectual and/ or physical disabilities, youths at risk living in shelters or group homes and young children with disabilities.

“This happened quickly, and it has been really rewarding to see the benefits of it,” she said.

The program uses music in a clinical approach to help a variety of clients achieve personalized goals. Welsh said during every session, clients are encouraged to find socialization, sense of control and awareness of others.

“The goals that we work on in music therapy are aimed to be carried throughout their life,” Welsh said.

During the sessions, songs are performed, and clients are invited to play instruments such as drums, tambourines and guitars.

“It’s really important to me that I provide an environment that empowers them to grow,” Welsh said.

Going into the music therapy business was natural for Welsh, who said she always has felt connected to music. When she went to a music camp that introduced her to the practice, she knew it was where she belonged.

“I knew this would be the career that would fulfill me,” she said.

Welsh is not alone in her work, as she has two certified music therapists on her team: Calli Puko and Laurie Fox.

Puko has worked for Creative Melodies for six months. She loves being able to use music as way to help change people’s lives.

“Haley is really open to new ideas. She is really big on treating me like such an equal and so open to what I want to do for the company,” Puko said.

Welsh also hired her first intern this summer. Haley Coscarelli, a senior at Seton Hill University in Greensburg who is majoring in music therapy, started her internship at Creative Melodies in June and has enjoyed her time being able to be hands-on with clients.

“It’s really the one-on-one sessions in person with clients where you learn how to work with people and see what benefits them,” she said.

Seeing the steady growth of clients has been rewarding to Welsh.

“I think it says a lot about the music therapy field that people really understand what it is and the benefits of it,” she said.

Tanisha Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tanisha at 412-480-7306, or via Twitter @tanishajanae.

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