PSHS graduate provides therapy with music

PARKERSBURG – A former Parkersburg resident is glad to have brought her start-up business to her home state of West Virginia.

Amy Rodgers Smith graduated from Parkersburg South High School in 2002 and attended Ohio University where she graduated in 2007 with a Bachelor’s degree in music therapy. She and her husband, Justin, moved to several states, including Texas, but were drawn to return to the Mountain State.

Smith started her own business where she uses her studies of music therapy.

On A Better Note Music Therapy is a music therapy private practice (LLC) serving clients and agencies from Morgantown to Parkersburg. Smith, who lives in Morgantown, said her practice provides board-certified music therapy services to individuals and groups.

“We are happy to be home in West Virginia,” Smith said of she and her husband. “(Music therapy) is a new thing for the state – which is why I’m excited to be here and give clients the opportunity for this service.”

Smith said musical therapy is about an intervention, which can include singing, relaxation, playing instruments, lyric analysis, reading and talking aloud about what a singer/songwriter was trying to say with a particular song.

She said those who can benefit from the practice are children, adults and senior citizens.

She started her own company where she is the founder and sole employee.

While in high school, Smith thought she wanted to study psychology but always had a passion for music in her heart.

Smith will be bringing her company to the Parkersburg area in October.

“I grew up loving music,” Smith said of her music history. “I was in a Christmas concert at Parkersburg South and I thought ‘how am I going to go everyday without music being a part of (my day).'”

Being one of about 10 board-certified music therapists in the state, Smith said her colleagues and friends at the national office in the District of Columbia area are excited to have her practicing in the state.

“I was introduced to the program (of music therapy) and thought it was a perfect fit for me to combine music with behavioral science and helping people,” Smith said. “To serve people who have special needs.”

Wanting to make an impact on her hometown, Smith said she is coming to SW Resources in Parkersburg on Oct. 1 to help the people there with any needs they may have.

“There are many different places (her profession) can serve clients,” Smith said.

West Virginia University is in the early planning stages of creating an American Music Therapy Association-approved undergraduate degree program in music therapy, Smith noted.

It would be the first music therapy program in the state, allowing West Virginia students who are interested in pursuing a music therapy degree and board certification to stay in-state for their education, Smith said.