Melodic Connections is a community music therapy studio providing services to all ages and abilities. We prepare our students for the community and prepare the community for our students. At Melodic Connections, each voice is unique and every voice will be heard.
Our mission is carried out through our core programs: Adaptive group guitar, piano, voice and drum lessons, day programs for adults with developmental disabilities, summer social skills camps and music in the schools program. Instruction is performance based, so that performers and audiences alike experience the transformative power of music created by exceptional people.
Melodic Connections was founded in 2008 by music therapist and special educator, Betsey Zenk Nuseibeh. After helping a student with autism who has perfect pitch and beautiful musical expression unlock his talent at the piano, Zenk Nuseibeh 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 from three volunteer music therapists each providing one hour of therapy per week to six full-time, salaried music therapists providing programming, dedicated administrative staff, and talented musicians who serve as music educators.
Betsey is a special educator and a board certified music therapist in Cincinnati. Betsey received her BM in Music Therapy from the University of Iowa. She has an MM in Oboe Performance from CCM and her MEd from UC in Special Education. Betsey is also the founder of Melodic Connections. Melodic Connections opened its Conservatory Program Fall 2010 for adults with different learning needs and has also provided services for the Stepping Stones Day Program, Clovernook Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired, the TALL Institute, Rising Star Studios, the Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, Starfire University, and the Marjorie Book Continuing Education Society. In addition to managing Melodic Connections, Betsey regularly advocates on behalf of music therapy through speaking engagements and providing group services throughout the Greater Cincinnati Area.
Christina McCracken, MT-BC
Christina is a University of Dayton graduate. Throughout her college career, she enjoyed participating in various vocal groups and being a part of Sigma Alpha Iota, a women’s music fraternity. Following her graduation she moved to South Carolina to complete her internship in a general hospital. She comes to us from Indiana where she worked as a Music Therapist for a private practice. Christina is a certified Music Together teacher and is authorized to provide Music Together Within Therapy services. Christina grew up in Cincinnati and is excited to come back to her hometown.
Elaine Ramage, MT-BC
Music Career Module Coordinator
Elaine Ramage graduated with a degree in Music Therapy from the University of Dayton in May 2009 and has been teaching private adaptive lessons since getting her certification in 2010, before joining Melodic Connections. Elaine has been playing piano since age 7 and guitar for the past 5 years. Classically trained, Elaine also has taken three years of jazz piano. She has been singing as long as she can remember and currently sings with the Sweet Adeline barbershop chorus Cincinnati Sound, and she and her sisters have competed in barbershop quartet competitions for several years, internationally.
Service Learning Coordinator
Shelly Zeiser is a board certified music therapist who graduated from University of the Pacific in Stockton, CA and completed her internship at Children’s Hospital Los Angeles. She has been passionate about music since she began playing oboe at the age of seven and passionate about music therapy since she first discovered the profession. Her additional interests include international opportunities and community engagement, stemming from previous experience with music therapy and education work in Jamaica and China, as well as domestic music therapy work with at risk youth.
Elizabeth earned a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Therapy from the University of Dayton. After, she completed a 9-month internship at the Pioneer Center, a school for children with special needs, in Chillicothe, Ohio. Originally from Plain City, Ohio, her love of music was apparent from a young age. By the age three, Liz was known for performing in front of anyone who would listen, including at local doctor’s offices. She was always singing. In high school, she grew to enjoy volunteering with special populations and performing in musicals, bands, and choirs. She decided to combine her love of music and working with people to pursue a degree in music therapy. In addition to music therapy, Liz enjoys volunteering outside, leading faith groups, serving in the community, and performing.
PRESS INQUIRIES: Lynn@melodicconnections.org
Lynn is a marketer-turned-musician, and she brings a unique blend of skills to Melodic Connections. As a former marketing executive, Lynn worked with national brands and technology companies to develop brand identities and message strategies. She has served as a writer, public relations executive, strategy consultant and partner in an award winning communications firm. Lynn had a second career as a licensed Kindermusik Educator, and she taught early childhood music for a nationally recognized Kindermusik studio. While teaching Kindermusik she became inspired by the work of music therapists, and she returned to school to pursue a music degree, receiving an Associate of Arts in Music from Thomas More College, and completing additional course work toward a music degree at Northern Kentucky University. She also holds a graduate certificate in nonprofit management from Northern Kentucky University. She uses her marketing skills and passion for music therapy to direct the outreach and development efforts at Melodic Connections.
James’ first experience with school music wasn’t until the last two months of his senior year in high school when he auditioned for the school talent show. The director asked him if I had any interest in singing in the chorus to which he promptly replied, “nope. choir is for geeks.” Little did he know he was about to become a professional geek. James went on to receive his bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Northern Kentucky University. He spent three years working as a special education teacher at Lloyd High School and returned to school for a Master’s in Education degree with a certification in Learning Behavioral Disabilities. Following that, he served as Director of Choral Studies for both Lloyd High School and Tichenor Middle School and he is finishing a Master’s degree in Music Education through Kent State University.
Nathan is a native of Dayton, Ohio where he graduated from Northmont High School in 1999. He has been a professional musician since graduating high school. His musical travels led him to spend time San Diego, CA, and Ft. Worth, TX, before returning home to Southwest Ohio where he has been a member of “Magic Jackson”, a popular regional band, as well as several side musical projects.
Nathan is married to Tess Warner Lewis and the couple has two young daughters, Ruby and Tillie. Tess is the general manager of The Sleepy Bee, a popular dining spot in Blue Ash. The family resides in the Madisonville neighborhood of Cincinnati.
Jenny McCloy, Board President
Jenny has over 20 years of experience as an advocate for a child with special needs. She is a mother of four, and has a degree in speech/language pathology.
Martha Ostendarp, Director
Martha is retired from her position as Early Matters Coordinator at Down Syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati, and she is the grandmother of a child with Down Syndrome.
Michael Knab, Treasurer
Michael is banking center manager with Bank at First. He has seven years of experience in banking, four of the seven in small business banking. He is knowledgeable about how to run a business including understanding business returns. He is a graduate of BOARDway Bound, a coaching program provided by ArtsWave.
Ramzi Nuseibeh, Director
Ramzi is a small business owner, member and current president of a service-oriented organization in Lawrenceburg, IN, and an experienced fundraising event planner.
Peter Solimine, Secretary
Peter has ten years of experience representing investment banks, commercial banks and public and private companies in a wide range of corporate and financing transactions. He holds a B.A. cum laude from Vanderbilt University, and a J.D. cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School.
Ken Rinehart, CFP®,CRPS®, Director
Senior Vice President – Wealth Management
Senior Retirement Plan Consultant / Institutional Consultant
Ken has over 29 years of experience in Investment Management and Retirement Plan Consulting Services. He has extensive experience in plan design, investment policy, investment option selection and fiduciary responsibility. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and holds the Certified 401(k) Professional (C(k)P®) designation from TRAU, the Chartered Retirement Plans Specialist (CRPS ®) designation from the College for Financial Planning and the Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®) designation from the Center for Fiduciary Studies. Ken and his wife, Barb, reside in Anderson Township and are blessed with two children, Paige and Alex.
Pam Rieke, Director
Pam has over 15 years of experience working with adults with disabilities at organizations such as United Cerebral Palsy, LADD and Down syndrome Association of Greater Cincinnati. She has worked with Melodic Connections and their students on many occasions before joining the board. Her expertise includes advocacy and fundraising.
Susan Casella Odell, Director
Susan is a family succession adviser for Coppertree, Ltd., her family’s business. Her focus is on communication and encouraging younger generations to get involved and give back. Prior to joining Coppertree, she taught preschool special education for 7 years, where she saw very well how much music impacted her students. She graduated from the University of Dayton with a degree in education.
Sue Antczak, Director, Chair of Finance, Non-voting Member
Sue is a Certified Public Accountant with Integrity Accounting Solutions.