All MHTP Faculty 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 began playing the harp in 1987 and participated in Don Campbell's Sound School in the 1990s. 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 President of the Board from Fall 1998 until 2003, and Executive Director of MHTP from 2004 to Spring 2017.

Amy Lauback, CMP, graduated with an Applied Studies in flute and theory/composition dual major from Ohio Northern University in 2014. She is a 2017 graduate of MHTP and has worked in hospice and several hospitals in Michigan and Ohio. In addition to flute, she is also certified on violin, recorder, and harp. 

MODULE 2:  Music as a language

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.

Matt Peroutka, CMP, has a passion for playing guitars, and he has been doing that for more than 50 years. In high school and college he played bass in a rock band, moved up to jazz, and eventually developed his fingerstyle guitar playing. Most recently he has studied classical guitar. Matt became a Certified Music Practitioner in 2011, and began working at the University of Maryland Medical Center soon after that. He now works at this hospital and Medstar Georgetown University Hospital. He has also pursued a successful career as a meteorologist, from which he has retired. Matt lives in Ellicott City, Maryland with his wife, Mary. He has taught for MHTP since 2015.

Elizabeth Proett, CMP,  has been playing the harp since 1978 and has been performing professionally and teaching harp for many years in Sacramento and Placer County communities. She studied harp at Mills College with Anne Adams and received her BA and a teaching credential from San Francisco State University. She also earned a Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from Concordia University. Elizabeth received her certification as a Music Practitioner in 2007 through the Music for Healing and Transition Program (MHTP). She is currently providing therapeutic music as an aid to health and well-being at Sutter Auburn Faith, Eskaton, and Kaiser Permanente Roseville where she is also the coordinator for their Healing Music Program.   Elizabeth is one of the founding members of Music Partners in Healthcare, Inc. and served on its board of directors from 2008 through 2012. She started teaching Module 2 for MHTP in 2016. 

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

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

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 she is a past Board Director and President of MHTP. Currently Carol is the MHTP Program Director. In 2005, Carol starting teaching Module 3 for MHTP, using her knowledge, skills, and experiences as a science teacher and as a practitioner of several complementary healing modalities.

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

Mary Ellen Armbruster, CMP, MA, was certified in voice and guitar as a Music Practitioner in 2015. She has served as a CMP at both Littleton Adventist Hospital and St. Anthony's Hospital in the Denver metro area, in addition to serving as a CMP with memory care and continuing care patients at various senior care facilities. Her previous experience serving as a musician alongside the medical team with Mercy Ships in multiple developing nations became the springboard to recognizing the healing value of music and becoming certified as a therapeutic musician. She makes her living solely now as a Certified Music Practitioner and Director of Music at Red Rocks Fellowship in Littleton, Colorado.

Cheryl Zabel, CMP, was originally certified in voice with MHTP in 2007, adding harp in 2011.  In addition to Module 4, Cheryl teaches the Marketing 101 and Bookkeeping 101 live webinars for CMP business development.  She has also served on the Board of Directors from 2013 - 2017, including time as the MHTP Treasurer.  Prior to her therapeutic music work, Cheryl worked for over almost 30 years in outside business-to-business sales, primarily in industrial rental laundry services.  She has been working as a full-time CMP since 2010, serving in hospitals, hospice, skilled nursing, memory care, and adult family group homes. 

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

Sandra Lumpkin-Embry, CMP, MS, CCC,  a native of Texas, has lived in Maryland since 1973.  Sandra had a hospital based private practice that was limited to the diagnosis and treatment of voice and swallowing disorders.  In addition to her clinical practice  she published articles in professional journals and  presented original research at local, national, and international conferences. She has been an Adjunct Faculty member at two Universities. Since retiring from her private practice she has devoted more time to training and evaluating therapy dogs and she volunteers at a hospice weekly with one of her canines.  She has been a CMP since 2009 and loves meeting the students that attend 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.

Program Director

Carol Spears, CMP, MS, (see Module 3 faculty) is the MHTP Program Director, overseeing the curriculum, and assisting the Executive Director in overall organization and operational management of the MHTP student instruction program. The Program Director serves as the supervisor and liaison between student instruction staff, Board of Directors, and Executive Director .

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 Bogdanovich, CMP

Colorado – Denver

Barbara Lepke-Sims, CMP

Illinois – Chicago

Kirk Moore, CMP

Georgia – Atlanta

Johnnie Proby

Maryland – Baltimore

Ellen Vikestad

Massachusetts – Boston/Cambridge: Longy School of Music

Aline Benoit, CMP

Michigan – Ann Arbor

Emily Olson, CMP

New Hampshire  – Concord

Alice Kinsler
603-227-7000 x3867

Oregon – Portland

Sue Carney

Texas – Dallas

Dirje Childs, CMP

Virginia – Harrisonburg

Virginia Bethune, CMP
540-820-9631 (preferred contact method)


Dr. John E. Wyble, CAE, MHTP Executive Director,  has proven success in leading complex organizations to sustained and strategic growth. His  expertise is to evaluate and incorporate strategic efficiencies so resources can be redirected to the mission. "I help organizations who do good... do good BETTER!"  

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 active as an MHTP Board Director until 2002.  She was an instructor for MHTP from 1995-2017.  Now semi-retired, she is once again serving on MHTP’s Board of Directors. Over the years she has taught and facilitated expressive therapy workshops throughout the country and served in various ministries for Episcopal churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

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.

Karen Peterson, CMP, BA – MHTP President, has been employed part-time since 2012 at St. Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, New Jersey, outside New York City. She plays live therapeutic music at the bedside for patients in all areas of the hospital, including ICU, CTICU, BICU, CCU, cardiac telemetry, cardiac step-down, oncology, pulmonary, renal/transplant, surgical, orthopedic, emergency, and hospice. She also plays for staff at the nurses stations and medical records. Karen has a BA in Scientific and Technical Communication from Bowling Green State University in 1998, where she also studied pedal harp. In addition to serving on MHTP’s Board of Directors, Karen is a member of the Research Committee and this site’s webmaster. She has over twenty years of experience in technical writing, user interface design, and software development project management, working with American Express, Nikon, IBM, Starwood Hotels, Yahoo!, TIAA-CREF, and others. She also works as a harp coach and workshop presenter. Karen is probably the only double-strung harper who is also a bodybuilding figure competitor. She graduated from MHTP in January 2012.

Angela Brown, CMP, BS – MHTP Vice President, MHTP Treasurer, having grown up in the deserts of the Southwest, now makes her home in the White Mountains of northern New Hampshire. A CMP since 2014, Angela brings 40+ years of piano/keyboard experience and 15+ years of non-profit experience to her role on the Board of Directors for MHTP. Even though her degree is in Family Science (BYU ‘90), her job experiences have been in the world of healthcare, and she currently works from home for Hamilton Dermatology in Alpharetta, GA, as a pre-cert specialist. Now that her two children are grown and in college, Angela finds time to share live therapeutic music weekly at a local nursing home and hospital, provide accompanist services for local schools and churches, and serve on the school board and other local non-profit boards.  As a governor-appointed councilor on the New Hampshire State Council for the Arts, she spends many hours attending and supporting local arts events. On summer evenings you can find her kayaking, relaxing on the deck, or enjoying the sunset. In winter, she is out snowshoeing or cross-country skiing. She admits to having an obsession with sheet music.

Karen Stowe, CMP, RN, VAHT-P – MHTP Secretary, began her studies in harp at the age of 24, after receiving her licensure as an RN. She became a Certified Music Practitioner in 2005. She has been employed by Bon Secours DePaul Medical Center for 12 years, providing hundreds of hours of live therapeutic music at the bedside and in the medical departments at DePaul as well in various memory-care and assisted living facilities throughout the Coastal Virginia area. She is also employed at Lake Taylor Transitional Care hospital providing live therapeutic music in the pediatrics unit for severely disabled patients.  She partners with Tidewater Arts Outreach, whose mission is to share the joy and healing power of quality arts experiences with people who have limited access to the arts due to health, economic, or social circumstances. In addition, she regularly plays for weddings, parties, church services, and community events. She became certified as a Vibroacoustic Harp Practitioner in 2014, and has provided over 300 therapeutic sessions.

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 live therapeutic music on the harp 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, when she is not traveling the world, continues to study the growing scientific body of literature on the effects of therapeutic music.

Dawn D. Collins, CMP, MA, was certified by MHTP in May 1997. She is a vocalist and acoustic guitarist, and additionally plays Native American style flute, mountain dulcimer, harp, ukulele, and a variety of percussion instruments. Dawn has been an advisor for MHTP since the inception of the mentor/advisor program and has volunteered in difference capacities for past MHTP conferences. Dawn’s education background includes a BS in Business Administration, Masters in Expressive Arts Therapy, a Masters in Worship Studies/Ethnomusicology, certification as an interfaith chaplain, among other certifications in healing arts-based programs. At present, Dawn is an independent contractor serving as a CMP at Whittier Nursing Home, Ghent, New York, as well as serving the Columbia County ARC as a therapeutic musician and expressive arts program provider for private special needs clients.

Martha Lewis, CMP, MA, MTS, 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 active as an MHTP Board Director until 2002.  She was an instructor for MHTP from 1995-2017.  Now semi-retired, she is once again serving on MHTP’s Board of Directors. Over the years, Martha has taught and facilitated expressive therapy workshops throughout the country and served in various ministries for Episcopal churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Texas.

Chuck Beckman, CMP, has been providing live therapeutic music for hospital and hospice patients in metro Atlanta since 2010. Chuck is the Therapeutic Music Program Coordinator at Northeast Georgia Medical Center in Gainesville, Georgia, where he oversees the development and operation of a therapeutic music program that provides live therapeutic music to patients five days per week.  He also provides live therapeutic music for end of life patients with Agape Hospice Care. Since its founding in 2012, Chuck has been the Executive Director at Strings of Mercy, Inc., a 501(c)(3) organization that works to raise awareness of live therapeutic music and helps develop sustainable therapeutic music programs for healthcare facilities around Atlanta.  Strings of Mercy currently provides live therapeutic music services at Gwinnett Medical Center in Lawrenceville and Duluth, The Joan Glancy Rehabilitation Center, The Gwinnett Extended Care Center, and St. Mary’s Medical Center in Athens, Georgia. Chuck also developed therapeutic music programs at Agape and Capstone Hospice. Chuck lives in Cumming, Georgia, with his wife Cheri and two adult sons living nearby.  When not playing or promoting the use of live therapeutic music, Chuck enjoys cycling and tournament bass fishing. 

Former directors and executive directors:

  • Rachel Allen

  • Angi Bemiss

  • Stella Benson

  • Kathleen Bingaman

  • Randolph Case

  • Faye Clerget

  • Allen Dec

  • Margo Drohan

  • Melinda Gardiner

  • Sue Hoadley

  • Glenn Huels

  • Peggy Jaegly

  • Susan Krysiak

  • Barbara W. Lepke-Sims

  • Martha Lewis

  • Carol Joy Loeb

  • Nick Magerl

  • Mona Peck

  • Ruthann Ritchie

  • Linda Sherman

  • Cynthia Snodgrass

  • Donna Snead

  • Kris Snyder

  • Carol J. Spears

  • Cheryl Zabel