Meredith Faith Hamons, MT-BC

Founder and Clinical Director

A board-certified music therapist, Meredith uses her broad-based clinical training to create effective, customized treatment approaches, both in individual therapy and group programming. Her ability to connect with clients and to apply her knowledge of diverse models of music therapy through creative and engaging interventions is the hallmark of her clinical work.

Though Meredith started in music at the age of five studying classical piano under the direction of her mother, she was more intrigued and motivated by the power of music to move people and touch lives. Seeking a field that combined her love of people and her love for music, Meredith pursued a degree in music therapy at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on a full tuition academic scholarship.

After graduating summa cum laude, Meredith relocated to Austin, Texas and completed her training at the San Antonio State Hospital as a music therapy intern, before receiving her board certification in early 2008. Meredith received additional training in neurologic music therapy (NMT) from the Center for Biomedical Research in Music at Colorado State University in 2011.

With a commitment to compassion and excellence, Meredith founded North Austin Music Therapy in 2010 to expand possibilities for children to seniors through the power of music. She has extensive experience in providing on-going individual treatment to diverse clients of all ages and facilitating both large and small groups. She also has created and developed several unique music therapy based programs. In addition to designing and implementing effective treatment plans in meeting a wide range of cognitive, emotional, and physical needs, Meredith is experienced in creating customized treatment approaches based in the behavioral, neurological, improvisational, and psycho-social therapeutic models.

In addition to her clinical work, Meredith is also gaining recognition as a presenter and author. Recent speaking engagements include the Texas Parent to Parent State Conference in 2010, 2011, and 2014, the Brain Injury Association of Texas State Conference in 2011, the National Music Therapy Conference in 2009, 2011, and 2013, and the Saint David's Foundation Health's Angels in 2015. In 2014 she taught continuing education courses in music therapy at both the Regional and National Music Therapy Conferences and also led an online seminar through musictherapyed.com. Her first book, Musically Engaged Seniors was published in October, 2013.

Cathy Befi-Hensel, M.M., MT-BC

Clinical Music Therapist, Research Specialist

Cathy has always believed in music as a powerful means of communication, and it was the idea of being able to reach people through music that drew her to the field of music therapy. As a board-certified music therapist, Cathy combines her love of helping others with her love of sharing music on a daily basis.

While Cathy's formal music instruction began in elementary school, it was while she was studying electrical engineering at The University of Texas at Austin that she truly realized the potential use of music to reach others. While in school, and extending through her graduation and subsequent employment as a software engineer, Cathy held a position as the director of music ministries at her church, a position that involved both choral and band direction and piano accompaniment. When she decided to change careers and leave engineering, Cathy realized that the joy of sharing music was one she wished to pursue professionally. Passionate about combining that joy with her desire to help others, Cathy earned a degree in music therapy at the University of the Incarnate Word in San Antonio, Texas. Cathy completed her internship at the Methodist Hospital Women's Services Unit in San Antonio, and graduated in 2010, receiving her board certification that same year and immediately beginning to practice clinically.

In 2011, Cathy chose to pursue an advanced degree in music therapy at Sam Houston State University, where her work as a graduate assistant allowed her to discover a love for both teaching and research. After successfully defending her thesis, entitled "Music Therapy Career Aptitude Test, Generalized Self-Efficacy Test, and Undergraduate Music Therapy Student Practicum Grades", she graduated with her Master of Music degree in music therapy in 2013.

Cathy is currently an adjunct professor at the University of the Incarnate Word, where she teaches music therapy courses. Cathy co-authored a research article based on her master's thesis which was published in the Journal of Music Therapy in 2014. In spring of 2015, she earned her Neurologic Music Therapist credential from the R. F. Unkefer Academy for Neurologic Music Therapy at TIRR Memorial Hermann in Houston, Texas. Cathy also has presented at several regional conferences, including the 2010 Ribbons of Awareness Cancer Conference, the 2012 and 2013 Southwestern Region of the American Music Therapy Association (SWAMTA) conferences, the 2013 Sam Houston State University Music Therapy Awareness Weekend, and the 2015 Texas Parent to Parent State Conference.

Tara Parks Jenkins, MT-BC

Clinical Music Therapist

Tara has always had a passion for helping others. At a young age she began playing and listening to music with her father and started formal instruction during elementary school. It was Taraís passion for helping others and her love of music that led her to a career in music therapy. As a board certified music therapist she believes in building meaningful relationships and fostering connections through musical experiences.

Tara continued to hone her skills as a music therapist and received her music therapy degree from Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. While there, she received awards for Music Therapy Professional Service and The Music Therapy Scholastic Award. Tara felt strongly about providing quality care and services for older adults and went on to complete her internship at Ruxton Health of Winchester.

After passing her board certification exam, Tara accepted a job with Sunrise Senior Living, in Bethesda MD. As the Activities Director she provided group and individual music therapy services and led a variety of structured, spontaneous and creative activities. She then went on to pursue a full time music therapy position at a dementia care community in Skyesville, MD. At Copper Ridge Tara had the opportunity to create, develop and implement a multi-sensory music therapy program for groups, individuals and those receiving hospice care. She decided to work closer to home and started her own private practice working with older adults both in the community and at home. During this time Tara presented on Music Therapy and Dementia, supervised both observation and practicum students, and spread the word about the benefits of music therapy throughout the Washington DC area. She has been providing music and recreational services for older adults for the past 9 years and has had extensive training in Alzheimerís and Dementia care.

Tara and her husband have recently relocated to Austin and she is looking forward to sharing and expanding her skills and expertise. She is passionate about music therapy, is committed to fostering meaningful relationships, and above all loves to engage in shared music experiences with older adults.

Annie Vandervoort, MT-BC

Clinical Music Therapist

Annie's music therapy practice emphasizes a strengths-based approach while utilizing techniques supported by research to assist all of her clients in reaching their goals. Annieís clinical experience with children, adults, and seniors has enabled her to learn from a variety of populations, including clients with traumatic brain injuries, autism, cerebral palsy, and dementia. Providing empathic, individualized treatment is fundamental to her practice.

Annie's journey to music therapy began when, at her father's urging, she started taking piano lessons as a young child. After this initial entrance into the musical realm, she pursued her music studies with her own fervor. While studying piano at the University of Texas at Austin, she became interested in styles and applications of music beyond classical performance. As a result, she took jazz lessons and became involved in the ethnomusicology ensembles. Only after completing her undergraduate degree in music from the University of Texas at Austin did she discover the world of music therapy from a book by former neurologist Oliver Sacks. In 2014 she went back to school to receive her masterís equivalency degree in music therapy from Sam Houston State University. While there, she gained a strong foundation in both neurologic and behavioral music therapy, and provided inservices and presentations on the benefits of music therapy to both professionals and fellow peers.

Annie completed her internship in a private practice setting in Austin where she worked with children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She is the recipient of the 2016 Central Texas Music Therapy Association Scholarship award based on her composition of an original song. Annie received her board-certification in 2016 and is currently finishing her graduate coursework in music therapy through Sam Houston State University. She plans to complete her thesis on cultural awareness in music therapy, and hopes to continue to conduct research and spread knowledge that will further the growth of the music therapy field.