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Life & Work with Jaime Kennington and Tracie Sandheinrich

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jaime Kennington and Tracie Sandheinrich.

Hi Jaime and Tracie, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start, maybe you can share some of your backstories with our readers.
Music Therapy St. Louis (MTSTL) launched in July 2018 when two female-owned private practices joined forces to create a “home” for music therapists, guaranteeing quality services and collaborative supervision. At this time, MTSTL is the first and only music therapy company in the area to employ board-certified music therapists, offering security and stability through team support and employee benefits. This structure is unheard of in our local industry, but we believed it was our duty to take care of music therapists and ensure consistency of care.

ABOUT MUSIC THERAPY ST. LOUIS
Music Therapy St. Louis offers quality board-certified music therapy services and consultation to our community: patients, clients, and families on both sides of the river. We are the first and only music therapy-focused company in our area to employ music therapists to serve our community. MTSTL partners with many local and non-profit organizations which support music therapy services. Some are listed below (and many more!)
 Maryville University Music Therapy Program
 Maryville University’s Kids Rock Cancer
 St. Louis ARC (disability support)
 Lafayette Industries (disability support)
 Angel Band Project (survivors of sexual assault and intimate partner violence)
 Love Like Jackson (grief support for bereaved siblings)
 Music That Reclaims (foster care/adoption support)
 Lutheran Senior Services & Hospice Care (MO)
 Family Hospice (IL)
 ABC Brigade (stroke support)
 Pujols Family Foundation (Down Syndrome support)
 Washington University Music Heals (formerly BeatNF)

MTSTL strives. We strive to be consistent community partners in the St. Louis metro area, St. Clair, and surrounding counties of Illinois, bridging both sides of the river. We are a resource of information for music therapy services, including educational outreach, music therapy consulting, program development, and advocacy. Music Therapy St. Louis supports educational growth and opportunity by offering supervision to music therapy students in AMTA accredited programs.

HOW IT STARTED
Tracie Sandheinrich, MA, PLPC, MT-BC, – Owner, Director of Clinical Services & Development. Tracie has been a practicing board-certified music therapist since 2007. Post internship, Tracie worked for BJC hospice in Farmington, MO for two years. During that time, she started a private practice called Through Melody (2009-2018), headquartered in Illinois. The practice specialized in senior, memory care, palliative care, and hospice in private and group settings. In November 2009, she helped pioneer Maryville University’s Kids Rock Cancer program, specializing in therapeutic songwriting with patients/families affected by cancer and blood disorders. Tracie has helped hundreds of young children, teens and young adults share their stories through songwriting, recording and performing. With her passion for mental health awareness, Tracie also pursued a master’s degree in professional counseling and graduated from Lindenwood University in 2018. She is currently a provisionally licensed professional counselor specializing in trauma, grief and loss.

Jaime Kennington, MMT, MTBC – Owner, Director of Clinical Services & Supervision. Before music therapy, Jaime had a 10-year career in marketing. She took a leap of faith to pursue music therapy. Jaime has been a practicing board-certified music therapist for 5 years and owned a private practice, JKW Music Therapy, headquartered in St. Louis. She focused mainly on children and adults with varying abilities in group and individual settings. Jaime completed her masters degree in music therapy at Maryville University in 2017. She has also worked closely with Maryville University, as adjunct faculty, in addition to finding placements for undergraduate and graduate students needing practicum experience through Music Therapy St. Louis. In 2017, she joined the Kids Rock Cancer team the summer of 2017.

Together, Tracie and Jaime wanted to create something bigger for the community; they merged their practices to create Music Therapy St. Louis (MTSTL) in July 2018. They identified the need for music therapy services and employment positions to fulfill those needs at the highest quality. Music therapists need a support team and security to provide the best care possible. It did not exist, so they created it. They focus on the “medical model” of music therapy and merge to address most populations who receive a therapeutic benefit from it.

WHY IS MTSTL UNIQUE?
We are doing something no one else is doing in our area. Owned and operated by two women, we are the first and only music therapy company to hire high-quality board-certified music therapists, as employees, to service our clients. The three pillars of MTSTL are quality services, music therapist advocacy, support and collaboration, and community support. Serving all ages, MTSTL provides board-certified music therapy and trauma-informed practice to persons with disabilities, palliative/hospice, geriatric, grief/bereavement support, mental health/wellness, and medical-related illnesses. We are breaking the mold. In an area flooded with contractors, we wanted to create a “home” for music therapists in a supervisory and support model to promote collaboration and continuity in care. As a result, we started a company that supports our employees by offering employee benefits, collaboration, supervision, team building, and staff support. We shared common contracting woes: “How can we support music therapists, provide consistent and quality care, be a reliable resource to our community, and advocate for the clinical benefits of music therapy under one entity?” Together, we realized we wanted to create something bigger for the community. We identified the need for music therapy services and employment positions to fulfill those needs at the highest quality. Music therapists need a support team and security to provide the best care possible. We focus on the “medical model” of music therapy and merge to address most populations who receive a therapeutic benefit from music therapy.

We all face challenges, but looking back, would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
It has not been an easy road. Every day we learn something new! There are a few perspectives from which we view our struggles; being a women-owned business, we had to learn the ins and outs of a private LLC that owns employees. Every day is different at MTSTL! We’ve learned how to keep our business running while offering services, especially during COVID. Essentially, our goal is to provide services for those who need them. The other aspect is keeping our employees happy and ensuring they feel supported with a sense of consistency. Through these struggles, we feel we’ve become a strong team. We recently hired a mentor to assist and support our employees while (the owners) continue to build and create jobs for music therapists. We want MTSTL to be a home for therapists while offering quality care.

Have you learned any interesting or important lessons due to the Covid-19 Crisis?
Think outside the box. We were challenged to figure out how to still provide services, in a new way, to our clients and facilities. A lot of this looked like telehealth and customized videos.

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Image Credits
Richard Nichols

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