AZ Giving and Leading: Higher Octave Healing

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The therapists at Higher Octave Healing know that music not only touches people, but can help heal them. This non-profit provides a variety of music therapy for Arizona children, teens and adults. We’ll introduce you to members of Higher Octave’s rock band and learn how music is making a difference in their lives.

Ted Simons: Tonight's edition of Arizona giving in leading looks at the power of music which can make a smile or relax or give us energy. Producer Christina Estes and photographer Steven Snow show us how a group in Tempe is making music that does all of the above and more.

Kristen Turner: I work with kids with developmental disabilities. That encompasses like autism, that's a big one, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy.

Christina Estes: That includes Katie Griffith.

Kristen Turner: She has cerebral palsy, so one of her hands is clinched so to work on opening up and using fine motor with her fingers we have her do little plunking on the keyboard.

Christina Estes: After working with Kristin for two years, Katie has opened up more than her hands.

Katie Griffith: Yes, I used, used to be like a shy person, and it was hard for me to vocalize my opinions. And since I've been with Kristin, I've been able to be a stronger person and vocalize my opinions and feelings more.

Christina Estes: She is among 300 clients who take part in weekly sessions with Higher Octave Healing.

Kymla Eubanks: We know that we are making a difference by the smiles on the faces when we are finished. We know we are making a difference on paper because all of our board certified music therapists track goals assessed by the team, families, and sometimes, the clients themselves.

Katie Griffith: Because I have some kind of anxiety disorder, it helps to relax me and makes me feel better about myself.

Christina Estes: But relaxing is not the only benefit. Meet the members of the rock band, Spice it Up. Ricky's on keyboard. Caleb is on drums, and Yaya handles vocals.

Yaya: It's excitement for me.

Christina Estes: Do you worry about messing up or no?

Yaya: No.

Christina Estes: How come?

Yaya: I don't do stage fright.

Christina Estes: At this session they do a little Metallica, and one of Yaya's favorite songs by The Cockroaches. Interns, volunteers and staffers lend helping hands.

Kymla Eubanks: So when I was ten and learning to play French horn, when I first played that horn, it did not sound great. I had to really work on those skills. And so they are working on those skills to play the instruments. The amazing thing is if that's not the ultimate goal for us. The ultimate goal is that rock band members are able to have opportunities to socialize with peers, to communicate with peers, to do teamwork together.

Christina Estes: They socialize before practice with a game of hot potato. Whoever catches the potato, answers the question.

Voice: You are going to a party? A friend's party?

Caleb: Yes.

Kristen Turner: It's rewarding. It's -- I get to use music, which is a passion of mine to help other people. And, and that's all I can ask for.

Katie Griffith: This is probably one of the best therapies that are out there and, and, and they show compassion and really care for people with disabilities, and really try to help them in the best way possible.

Christina Estes: Whether that's a piano duet or a group jam session.

Ted Simons: The Spice it Up band performed at the Higher Octave Healing fundraiser. And you can find out more at their website at

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