Heart of CMB – Melodic Connections


“Without music, life would be a mistake.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

Music, specifically playing the piano, has been an integral part of my life ever since I can remember. When I was younger, I had the option of a piano or braces….I chose the piano (and my teeth are perfectly straight now, by the way). I can’t imagine a day going by where music isn’t involved in some aspect.

I’ve been involved in all aspects of music starting at a young age. Church choir, church soloist, school choirs, music competitions and I even started my college career as a piano and voice major. Now it’s just a hobby and source of relaxation when I get a free moment. I strive to make music an important part of my life and in turn, also my children’s lives. So much so, that when I was pregnant with both of my boys (they are now 9 and 7), I played music on my burgeoning pregnant belly through large headphones. Even then, I could tell the impact music was having on them.

Over the last few years, I’ve learned about the Melodic Connections program in Cincinnati, which is a community music therapy studio, providing services to all ages and abilities.  The program prepares their students for the community and prepares the community for the students. At Melodic Connections, each voice is unique and each voice will be heard.

Their mission is carried out through their core programs:

  • Adaptive group guitar, piano, voice and drum lessons
  • Studio and community programs for adults with developmental disabilities
  • Summer social skills camps
  • Music in the schools program. 

In 2008, Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh, a music therapist and special educator, founded Melodic Connections. After helping Latron, a student with autism who has perfect pitch and beautiful musical expression, unlock his talent at the piano (see the video below), Betsey recognized the need for a studio to support musicians with a love for music, who require alternative teaching methods and an understanding instructor, trained to address individual special learning needs.

Confirmed need and community desire for this type of programming has driven rapid expansion. In the beginning there were three volunteer music therapists, each providing one hour of therapy per week. Now there are six full-time, salaried music therapists providing programming, dedicated administrative staff, and talented musicians who serve as music educators.

On August 28, 2016, a devastating flash flood destroyed Melodic Connections. They lost everything.  But they never, ever lost sight of their single-minded dedication to changing lives through music. They have weathered the storm, and emerged even more dedicated to bringing music to the 700 students in their classrooms, after-school classes and summer camps.

Opening in late June, their new space at 6940 Plainfield Road in Silverton was made possible by community donations. 

Melodic Connections will be holding a fundraiser at the end of the summer with the goal of raising $8,800 through 100 donations of $88 in those 8 days. The money they raise will help fuel their summer and fall programs. In doing this, they strive to put the flood behind them and get back to the business of changing lives through music.

Why $88? When I personally heard the story of the flood last fall, I decided to donate $88 — in honor of the number of keys on the piano keyboard. I was one of the hundreds of donors who helped Melodic Connections keep the music playing when things were really dark.  My family budget was tight, but I found the $88 to help children with disabilities have access to music, because I know how important music had been in MY life and I wanted to share that with others.

Could you make a donation of $88 today?  These kids need it.  Music changes their lives. 

To contribute to this life-changing cause, visit their fundraising page here






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Abby Turner Hager
I am originally from New Hampshire and moved to the Cincinnati area in 2003. I am a single mom to 2 amazing boys, Eli and Ethan. We are avid Reds fans and you will likely find us at the ballpark quite a bit during baseball season. I have a degree in healthcare management and work full-time in Cincinnati. I have shared parenting of my boys, so when we are together, I try to make sure we make the most of our time! Whether it’s seeing Madcap Puppets, exploring the numerous local parks, enjoying the Cincinnati Pops, or cheering on our Cincinnati Redlegs, I strive to expose my boys to as many aspects of culture that I can! I enjoy music (I’ve played piano for 30 years) as well as being crafty (as time allows!), making crazy cool cakes, and relaxing with my boys, our dog Frankie and cats Lyra & Luna (we have quite the animal kingdom in our house)! I’m really excited about sharing a piece of my world with you and this oftentimes humorous and wild adventure I call my life as a mom!


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