All MHTP teachers are Certified Music Practitioners (CMPs) and highly-trained specialists in their field, passionate about teaching the art and science of therapeutic music.  Many have both medical and musical education and experience, which they combine in their MHTP teaching.  As CMPs, they each have an active independent therapeutic music practice in their home locations.  Each teacher has been rigorously qualified by MHTP to teach one or more specific modules, via extensive module observation and team-teaching with one or more veteran MHTP faculty members.  All Module 5 faculty have medical credentials.

MODULE 1:  Patient assessment for live therapeutic music & Injury prevention for music practitioners

Melinda Gardiner, CMP, RN,  has an extensive background in Integrative Healing modalities and has been teaching in the field since 1970 in Boston, Massachusetts.  She taught Therapeutic Touch and other holistic therapeutic modalities at Columbia-Greene Community College, Hudson, New York, from 1985 to 1995.  Melinda has conducted workshops and retreats in integrating spirituality and music since 1994 and has taught for MHTP since 1997.  She graduated from MHTP in 1998 and since then has worked as a CMP in hospitals, nursing homes, and hospices.  She was Executive Director of MHTP from 2004 to Spring, 2017.

Kris Snyder, CMP, BA, is a fourth generation harper with over 45 years of musical experience, including more than 28 years with the harp.  She owns five harps, including her great-grandmother’s Clark harp.  Kris has an education background and was a corporate training specialist for over 10 years before pursuing harp full-time.  She became a CMP in 1999 and works at a progressive care community as well as with a local hospice.  She has taught for MHTP since 2009, and currently is Vice President.  She also has a private harp teaching studio in Glenville, Pennsylvania, is the director for The Muses, and has multiple recordings.

Dona Wonacott, CMP, MS, PT, graduated from MHTP in 2011, certified in harp and voice.  Dona spent 40 years as a physical therapist, including 10 years at the college level as director of a physical therapy education program where she taught kinesiology and neurobiology.  Dona has sung in choruses and choirs all her life, and played a variety of instruments before coming to the harp 25 years ago.  She is currently employed as a CMP three days a week between the hospital and a nursing home, served for two years as Area Coordinator for MHTP in Syracuse, New York, and is a member of a local harp ensemble.  She began teaching for MHTP in 2015.

MODULE 2:  Music as a language

Aileen Kelley, CMP, MS, holds a BA and MS in music. She has been active in the Sacramento, California area for over thirty years as a teacher and free-lance musician.  She taught music theory, history, and piano at American River College for 18 years.  Currently she works as Coordinator of the Healing Music Program at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Roseville, California and works as a CMP in skilled nursing facilities.  Aileen has served as a CMP in all areas of hospital settings as well as in hospice, skilled nursing, and memory care.  She was a founding member and Board member of Music Partners in Healthcare, Inc.  Aileen became a CMP in 2004 and has taught for MHTP since 2006.

Catherine Maglaras, CMP, MS, is a veteran music educator for Baltimore County Public Schools, with a BS and MS in Music Education from Towson University.  She currently teaches for the Howard County Public School System. As a CMP since 2006, Cathy provides therapeutic music at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland.  As an experienced violin, viola, Celtic harp, and piano teacher, Cathy maintains a private studio and she performs professionally in the Baltimore/Washington DC area.  Cathy has taught for MHTP since 2008.

MODULE 3:  Music, Sound, and Healing & PARADIGMS OF HEALING

Melinda Gardiner, CMP, RN, (see Module 1 faculty).

Ise Kannebecker, CMP, MSN, BA, FNP-BC, NP-C, holds a BA in Music and an MSN.  She has been a registered nurse for over 15 years, with experience in medical-surgical nursing, obstetrics, and hospice.  She currently works as a nurse practitioner in family and women’s health and supports the use of many holistic and integrative healthcare modalities.  Ise plays piano and harp.  Since graduating from MHTP in 2007, she has practiced as a CMP in a variety of settings including intensive care, hospice, and long-term care.  Ise has taught for MHTP since 2009.

Carol Spears, CMP, MS, has taught college-level courses in the biological sciences, and for 28 years worked as an educator and trainer for the National Park Service.  Carol is a Reiki Master and teacher, and also has taught meditation techniques and Reiki since 2000 in her private practice and for local hospitals, including the Cleveland Clinic.  Since graduating from MHTP in 2002, she has worked extensively as a CMP and currently is President of MHTP’s Board of Directors.  Since 2005, Carol’s experiences as a science teacher and as a practitioner of several complementary healing modalities have combined in her teaching of Module 3.

MODULE 4:  Etiquette and Independent practicum & Profession of Music Practitioner

Martha Lewis, CMP, MA, MTS, BA, CET, CMT, was the co-founder and first Executive Director of MHTP. Besides teaching for MHTP since 1995, she teaches and facilitates expressive therapy workshops at Shalom Center, Spendora, TX, and is a trainer for Safeguarding God's Children, an Episcopal child-abuse prevention training required for all working with children/youth.  Martha’s past teaching credentials include masters-level classes in music, spirituality, and the arts as adjunct professor at Holy Names College Sophia Center, Oakland, California, as well as teaching and facilitating expressive therapy, spirituality, and the arts at conferences and churches throughout the country.  Martha graduated from MHTP in 1997 and has taught all MHTP modules except Module 5.

Kris Snyder, CMP, BA, (see Module 1 faculty).

MODULE 5:  Care of the Dying, ALTERATIONS IN HEALTH, & Independent practicum

JanieWoods Alexander, CMP, MSN, BSN, has been an RN since 1969.  Educated at Duke University, she has practiced and taught in pulmonary and cardiac critical care and other areas of nursing.  In the mid-1990s, through post-masters’ nursing courses, she became interested in complementary care in medicine, simultaneously starting to play flute, and several years later the harp.  She became a CMP in 2009 and was first employed in hospice. She works currently in multiple areas of Emory Healthcare, including ICU, ER, nursery, cancer treatment, and pre- and post-op care.  She has taught for MHTP since 2012.

Carol Joy Loeb, CMP, RN, BSN, HNB-BC, has been a Registered Nurse since 1975 and a CMP since 2004.  As a clinical nurse, she has specialized in emergency medicine and critical care.  Carol Joy’s experience as a CMP has taken her to hospices, hospitals, nursing homes, and to individual patient homes.  She presently works as a CMP and Board Certified Holistic Nurse on the Integrative Care Team at The University of Maryland Medical Center and the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center / University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore.  Carol served as a Director of MHTP for several years.  Since 2007, she has combined her experience as an RN and a CMP in the classroom when teaching Module 5.

Bonita (Bonnie) Wood, CMP, RN, BMus, has been an RN since 1975 and a CMP since 2003.  As an RN, she worked in the areas of Intensive Coronary Care, Post Anesthesia Care and the Operating Room.  Bonnie has a dual love of music and medicine since she was a child and has always sensed a connection between the two.  She studied classical piano growing up, went to Nursing School and later earned a Bachelor of Music degree.  After that, she learned to play the lever harp and discovered in MHTP a formal way to integrate music into medical settings.  She is currently working as a CMP at The George Washington University Hospital in Washington, DC in the areas of ICU, ER, Med/Surg, Oncology, PACU, Rehab, L&D, Mother/Baby, Psych, and Surgical Waiting.



Each locale in which MHTP holds classes has an Area Coordinator who takes care of the myriad of details and logistics of each class.  Area Coordinators may be CMPs or current students, and they interact with students, faculty, the facility in which classes are held, and others as needed.

California – Sacramento

Elizabeth Bogdanovitch, CMP

Canada – Woodstock, Ontario

Joanne Does, CMP

Colorado – Denver

Barbara Lepke-Sims, CMP

Florida – Tampa

Robin Hill
727-385-2213 (3 ls!)

Georgia – Atlanta

Michelle Friedman

Illinois – Chicago

Sue Wohld, CMP

Maryland – Baltimore

Kris Snyder, CMP

Michigan – Ann Arbor

Greg Maxwell, CMP

New Hampshire  – Concord

Alice Kinsler
603-227-7000 x3867



New York – Craryville (Pumpkin Hollow)

Melinda Gardiner, CMP

New York – Syracuse

Dona Wonacott

North Carolina – Wilmington

Carole Green, CMP

Oregon – Portland

Joanne Arnst

Texas – Fort Worth

Gil Wade, CMP

Utah – Salt Lake City

Peggy Cann

Virginia – Harrisonburg

Virginia Bethune, CMP

Washington – Federal Way

Cheryl Zabel, CMP


Melinda Gardiner, CMP, RN – MHTP Executive Director, is a Registered Nurse and, since 1998, a CMP, with an extensive background in alternative healing modalities.  She was a hospice nurse and a teacher of Therapeutic Touch, trained by Delores Krieger, RN, PhD and Dora Kunz.  Additionally, she is a harper, singer, liturgical musician, and retreat leader.  Prior to becoming Executive Director of MHTP in 2004, Melinda was a Community Health Nurse at Camphill Village, Inc., an Anthroposophical community for disabled adults in Copake, New York.  Melinda has been a teacher for MHTP since 1997.

Our MHTP Founders

Laurie Riley is a lifelong multi-instrumentalist and professional musician.  She has training as a nurse's aide and extensive experience in medical settings.  She began her work in therapeutic bedside music in 1991.  In March 1994, Laurie co-founded the Music for Healing and Transition Program, Inc. with Martha Lewis.  Laurie’s vision for bedside music was not limited to the harp and she imagined therapeutic musicians in many different kinds of medical settings.  She continues to support the work and training of therapeutic musicians, and performs, records, and also writes instructional materials.  Laurie is a popular teacher and keynote speaker.

 Martha Lewis left the corporate world after many years to pursue her passion for the healing arts.  After completing an MA in Expressive Arts Therapy & Counseling and an MTS in Spirituality and the Arts, she co-founded the Music for Healing and Transition Program, Inc. with Laurie Riley in 1994. Martha was the first President and Executive Director of MHTP and remained an MHTP Director until 2002.  She has taught for MHTP since 1995.  She also teaches and facilitates expressive therapy workshops at the Shalom Center, Splendora, Texas, and coordinates special needs ministries for Episcopal churches in the Texas Diocese.

Founding directors who incorporated MHTP in 1994:

  • Laurie Riley
  • Martha Lewis
  • Mary Radspinner
  • Maryann Schulz

MHTP’s Board of Directors is responsible for all governance of MHTP, including both short- and long-term guidance of the organization.  MHTP is the only therapeutic music training program governed by a Board of Directors.  This is a ‘working Board’ comprised of volunteers who put in many hours in service to MHTP.  Most Directors have at least one major MHTP project for which they are responsible and serve on one or more active committees.  Directors have a wide diversity of education, experience, and interests that collectively and synergistically combine to create a powerful and highly-skilled group of individuals who deeply love MHTP and are dedicated to its highest good.

Carol J. Spears, CMP, MS, RMT – MHTP President, helps clients access their abilities to heal themselves—body, mind, and spirit—through her work as a CMP (since 2002), Reiki Master and teacher (since 2000), and Meditation Instructor.  Carol has an MS in Zoology, and completed three years of Doctoral studies and research in Wildlife Ecology. She worked for the United States Fish and Wildlife Service, and worked 28 years for the National Park Service (NPS) as a park ranger and manager in parks around the country and on international assignments.  She retired from the NPS in 2008 to devote her time to complementary medicine.  Carol worked in a Cleveland, Ohio hospice as a CMP and as a Reiki Practitioner at the Cleveland Clinic for 10 years before moving to central Florida in 2012.  Since then she continues to study and teach about the benefits of sound, music, and meditation, including teaching for MHTP since 2005.

Kris Snyder, CMP, BA – MHTP Vice President, is a fourth generation harper with over 45 years of musical experience, including more than 28 years with the harp.  She owns five harps, including her great-grandmother’s Clark harp.  As a CMP since 1999, she works at a progressive care community and with a local hospice.  Kris has been a teacher for MHTP since 2009, served as MHTP’s Secretary for many years, and is the Advisor Administrator.  She also has a private harp teaching studio in Glenville, Pennsylvania, is the director for The Muses, and has multiple recordings.

Susan Krysiak, CMP – MHTP Secretary, is a professional harpist, harp teacher, and Reiki Master.  As a CMP since 2000, Susan has provided therapeutic music to patients in hospitals, hospice, nursing homes, dialysis centers, and private homes.  Before relocating to Florida in 2013, Susan was MHTP’s Ohio Area Coordinator in Cleveland for 10 years and worked as a CMP in an Ohio nursing home for 11 years.  Susan is serving her second term as MHTP Secretary and also serves as MHTP Exam Administrator.

Cheryl Zabel, CMP, BA – MHTP Treasurer, works full-time as a CMP and professional harper and singer, serving the South Puget Sound region in Washington in hospices, skilled nursing facilities, assisted living, and memory care facilities.  A 2007 graduate of MHTP, she also serves as MHTP’s Washington Area Coordinator.  Cheryl came out of a successful career in industrial sales and marketing and has a BA in German Literature and Language from the University of Washington.  She leads enrichment webinars for MHTP on business development for therapeutic musicians.

Debby Hix, CMP, PhD, is a CMP since 2000, and has since then been employed continually by hospitals and hospices in Blacksburg, Virginia to provide therapeutic harp music for a variety of patients.  She plays often for healing and memorial services, as well as festive occasions, and gives presentations on MHTP and her experiences with healing harp music.  Debby was MHTP’s Curriculum Reviewer for 10 years, during which time the curriculum was completely updated and standardized across all modules.  Debby is retired as a Senior Research Scientist from the Computer Science faculty at Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, and continues to study the growing scientific body of literature on the effects of therapeutic music.

Rachel Allen, CMP, BA, is a CMP since 2007, as well as a Sound Healer, Reiki Master, and Registered Yoga Teacher with a trauma informed/social justice framework.  She has 20 years of experience working with some of the most amazing people on the planet:  hospice patients and their families; survivors of sexual abuse and domestic violence; those in recovery from substance abuse; adults with mental illness; and incarcerated women.  Rachel gives training for intensive self-care to caregivers to reduce compassion fatigue.  Both locally and nationally, she teaches Creative Movement and yoga, weaving the two into themes of compassion, self acceptance, and transformation.  Rachel is committed to engaging people from all walks of life in the healing arts to create healthy, diverse, and joyful communities.

Karen Peterson, CMP, BA, is employed part-time at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, outside New York City. She plays therapeutic harp music at the bedside for patients in all areas of the hospital, including ICU, CCU, oncology, pulmonary, cardiac, renal/transplant, and hospice. Karen has a BA in Scientific and Technical Communication from Bowling Green State University, where she also studied pedal harp. She plays the double-strung harp for her patients.

Former directors and/or executive directors:

  • Angi Bemiss
  • Stella Benson
  • Kathleen Bingaman
  • Randolph Case
  • Faye Clerget
  • Allen Dec
  • Margo Drohan
  • Melinda Gardiner
  • Sue Hoadley
  • Glenn Huels
  • Peggy Jaegly
  • Barbara W. Lepke-Sims
  • Martha Lewis
  • Carol Joy Loeb
  • Nick Magerl
  • Mona Peck
  • Ruthann Ritchie
  • Cynthia Snodgrass
  • Donna Snead