Healing Notes

An interactive concert program focused on music therapy


The performers for Healing Notes are all long-time members of the Plano Symphony Orchestra. These professional musicians are active in the local community and boast long resumes in both performance and education. The programming includes chamber groups of mixed instruments in an intimate setting.


Program Administrators


Jennifer WheelerDr. Jennifer Wheeler
Program Director

Dr. Jennifer Wheeler has been a member of the Plano Symphony Orchestra for over 10 years. She holds a doctorate from the University of Texas at Austin in flute performance. She currently teaches flute, music theory, and music history at Collin College. Dr. Wheeler is actively involved in community engagement through the Plano Symphony and is excited to expand concert involvement beyond the concert hall.


Mary Altom
Music Therapist

Mary Altom is a board certified music therapist and owner of Sound Starts Music, located in Frisco, TX. Mary founded Sound Starts Music in 2011 to provide music therapy and adapted music lessons for children with special needs. Giving others the opportunity to learn and grow through music is Mary’s passion, and she is a firm believer that music is a language that transcends DIS-ability and creates A-bility.

Mary graduated from Tennessee Tech University in 2007 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Music – Music Therapy.  She completed her music therapy internship with MusicWorx of California under the supervision of Dr. Barbara Reuer where she also practiced geriatric, hospice, rehabilitation, and medical models of music therapy.  In 2013, Mary earned her certification as a Neurologic Music Therapist (NMT) through Colorado State University.

Mary is an active member of the American Music Therapy Association and the Southwestern Region American Music Therapy Association.  She enjoys attending national and regional conferences each year and has presented at regional conference.  Mary lives in Frisco with her husband Ben and their three year old son, Jaxon. In her spare time, she enjoys reading and working on pinterest crafts.

About Healing Notes

Healing Notes is a music therapy influenced concert program designed to provide an interactive experience for its audience. The program includes showstoppers from classical literature as well as popular songs from the twenties, thirties and forties. Participants interact with a licensed music therapist who leads interpretive movement, instrument playing, and other activities intended to enrich the concert experience.

The Plano Symphony Orchestra will perform each session at the partner facility so participants are in a comfortable and familiar setting. Each concert includes high quality live music performances that engage the participants in active involvement. Activities include active listening and participation, the utilization of functional fine motor skills, the exercise and movement of upper extremities, the application of cognitive and long-term memory skills and the encouragement of relaxation. These 45-50 minute sessions have a theme that resonates among the participants.


Kelsey Kruzich/Plano Star Courier


According to the American Music Therapy Association, music therapeutically addresses physical, psychological, cognitive and/or social functioning for patients of all ages. Music promotes relaxation, relieves stress, counteracts depression and alleviates pain.

Healing Notes provides much more movement and participation opportunity than a traditional concert series. The participants are encouraged to move and be involved actively in the program.

The movement and activities are tailored for each audience group after working in conjunction with the facility. Activities can be designed for mobile concert goers as well as those with more limited mobility.

Gross motor skills - dance, arm movement, foot tapping, conducting
Fine motor skills - grasping and manipulating instruments
Cognitive - recognition of familiar tunes

For more information on Healing Notes, please contact Nancy Baumgarten at nbaumgarten@planosymphony.org or 972-473-7262 x27


Healing Notes is made possible through generous grants from Texas Commission on the Arts (TCA) and is funded in part by the City of Plano

TCA           City of Plano