Natalie and Megan practicing in the music room.

The annual Matheny talent show is a creative forum that enables students and patients to express themselves and feel empowered to share their gifts and talents. Nowhere was that more evident than in the triumphant performance this year by adult patient Natalie Tomastyk, who decided to sing “Brave,” a song by Sara Bareilles. While learning the piece, Natalie decided she also wanted to play the piano.

“Alternating between singing and playing was a new skill for her to learn,” said music therapist Megan Chappius, “but she was determined and motivated to do it. Fortunately, she very quickly and easily mastered the skill. She never grew tired or frustrated, and she was very motivated.” Natalie was “a little nervous” before the performance, but afterwards, she said: “I am proud of myself, and I feel good.”

The talent show was held Wednesday, October 16, in the Robert Schonhorn Arts Center at Matheny. Among other performances: Amanda Kochell’s rendition of Alicia Keys’ “No One” and Jessica Evans’ original poem, “My Memories are Painted in the Sky.”

Music therapists at Matheny use various types of music to positively impact students’ and patients’ cognitive, physical, emotional and social skills, helping them realize their potential in society. Activities and techniques include improvisation, rhythm, songwriting, songs, chants, instrumental activities, live music and recorded music.

Music therapist Sabrina Deutsch congratulating Natalie after her performance.