Origin Story

First things first, welcome! Open Air Music Therapy is a Tempe, Arizona based business that provides both music therapy services and music lessons. Typically (not during a pandemic) we provide services all around the Phoenix metro area in home and on location. Currently, it’s been a busy season of transitioning to telehealth, centralized services that practice social distancing, and an online presence. But, it is so exciting to grow!

A prepared Music Therapist on the go

Why did you choose your business name?

The name was born from a few different ideas: 

  • Because it invites a visualization of openness and transparency that is reflected in how we choose to practice (following HIPPA protocol, of course).
  • Because I (Autumn) moved to Arizona in 2012 and am continually amazed by the expansive skyline and mountains of the southwest.

Starting off in my career meant working in schools, clinics, and for larger companies before starting my own. The biggest struggle I’ve noticed with staff and parents alike is that honest and effective communication is not always guaranteed. Now, having started my own practice, I’ve built in ways to solve that. Even when it’s difficult to express yourself, you have a safe space in which you can get it all out in the open air, be heard, and be understood. This also provides parents and caregivers with a clear understanding of the ‘what’ and the ‘why’ behind music therapy sessions and lessons. 

What made you start your own business?

Simply put: Need.

More times than not, when I tell people about my profession they immediately think of someone who could benefit from music therapy. “That’s awesome! My daughter (church member, nephew, etc) … loves music and has autism (ADHD, TBI, etc). How do we find out more?” I figured I could either recommend them all to be placed on a long wait list for the various contracts I was working for, or I could start my own practice that better reflects my own values.  

Those values are:

  • Cultural awareness in music selection and populations
  • Age appropriate and engaging music (This keeps music an empowering motivator and not a chore)
  • Clear communication on goals and progress
  • Respect and individuality

There is also a huge need for gentleness and mindfulness. In my practice, that goes hand in hand with respecting individuality. Early in my career, I had a session in which the young client cried for 45 minutes and worked towards their goals (“played”) for only 10 minutes. Their mother expressed embarrassment, and I gently informed her that her child’s behavior was in fact very effective communication. Behaviors are communication. They couldn’t say they were frustrated, or that this was new and different, but they successfully communicated and participated. Through integrating gentleness and knowledge from my ABA training, I was able to better understand their needs. This new environment and interaction was a lot to take in. What they really needed was gentleness and support to succeed. And they did!

What’s next?

The goal of starting this company is to make music therapy more accessible and visible in Tempe. I believe that growth and healing happens in community. A beautiful part of humanness is constant exchange – giving and receiving. As this company grows, its network of helpers and opportunities will, too – and our clients, families, and community will feel the support they deserve. Reach out today if you would like more information on how to be a part of Open Air Music Therapy by phone (480)-269-0756 or email openairmusictherapy@gmail.com .

Published by Autumn McClintock

I'm a board certified Music Therapist in Tempe, Arizona.

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