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Helping everyone soar higher through music.

The Ascending Scales program at the Chattanooga Autism Center helps individuals with autism and other disabilities access music in a way that is most beneficial to them.  We specialize in using an individualized approach to music in order to allow anyone, regardless of ability, to make, enjoy, and ultimately benefit from their interactions with music. 

What is Music Therapy?

Music Therapy is the clinical and evidence-based use of music interventions to accomplish individualized goals within a therapeutic relationship by a credentialed professional who has completed an approved music therapy program.

This means that you will work with your music therapist through assessments and discussions to create goals that are just for you or your loved one.  

It also means that your music therapist is certified and trained in the best ways to use music to address various non-musical goals.  You will not just spend your time listening to music, but rather engaging and interacting with music in the way that makes the most sense for you!



Music Therapy

Through the Ascending Scales music therapy program, music is utilized in a variety of evidence-based interventions to develop non-musical goals.  These goals may be used to address communication, socialization, fine and gross motor skills, sensory integration, attention span, behavior regulation, and emotional recognition and expression.  All interventions are individualized and based on ongoing assessments and evidence-based music therapy practices. Interventions may involve playing instruments, moving to music, actively listening, playing musical games, and/or writing songs.  Participants in the Ascending Scales music therapy program and their families will receive regular updates regarding progress toward goals, as well as interventions to practice at home in order to build on the skills addressed during the music therapy session.  

Music Lessons

The music lessons offered through the Ascending Scales program at the Chattanooga Autism Center are adapted to the individual in order to ensure each clients’ success.  Whether this means utilizing a different learning or teaching style or physically adapting an instrument, the music lessons offered at Ascending Scales seek to offer everyone, regardless of ability, a successful experience while learning an instrument.  Current lessons being offered include: beginner piano, intermediate piano, beginner guitar, intermediate guitar, beginner trumpet, and beginner percussion.

Group Music Therapy

Group music therapy sessions offer music interventions that are designed to meet goals that are easily addressed in a group setting such as socialization and communication.  Group music therapy sessions provide opportunities for individuals with similar needs to work together to learn and explore through music. Groups may include 3 - 10 clients and can be created by the clients if you have a group of friends you’d like to make music with, or you can join one of our ongoing group sessions.  Be sure to watch for upcoming groups!

Why music therapy for someone with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD)?

Why MT?

Music therapy has been proven to be effective with individuals with ASD because of its ability to engage both hemispheres of the brain at the same time.  When processing and interacting with and through music, individuals are engaging the communication, sensory, motor, and auditory areas of the brain. Music is one of the few modalities available that allows for the stimulation and growth of so many brain areas at the same time.

Because music is a social exercise, music therapy has also been shown to increase the social and communication skills of individuals with ASD.  By learning how to interact and communicate with the therapist through music, individuals build the skills necessary for social development. These skills include turn taking, waiting, appropriate volume/voice control, and transitioning.

Music therapy is so effective with individuals with ASD because it’s fun! Learning an instrument and engaging with music is a great way to build leisure skills. Individuals with ASD often need guidance to learn how to “play” and exposure to instruments and music opens the door to countless opportunities for leisure and enjoyment.

Interested in learning more about music therapy and ASD?  Check out these websites:

Meet the MT

Kennedi Bryant, MT-BC

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​Kennedi Bryant, originally from Manchester, TN, has called Chattanooga home since 2016. She earned a Bachelor’s of Music with a Concentration in Music Therapy from the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. Music therapy combines Kennedi’s two biggest passions: music and helping others. Her primary instrument is voice, and she also plays the guitar, ukulele, and piano.​


Kennedi’s music therapy clinical experiences include providing services to older adults with Parkinson’s disease or dementia, adolescents with various special needs, adults with IDD or Mental Health Disorders and Substance Use Disorders, and children with ASD and varying diagnoses. She completed her six month clinical internship at In Harmony Pediatric Therapy in Woodstock, GA working mostly with individuals under 20 years old with a variety of diagnoses, including ASD.


In her free time, Kennedi loves to spend time with her family, including her husband and little boy, and loves to be outside, hiking and traveling! She also enjoys volunteering with the Miracle League of Chattanooga, assisting children and adults with various special needs in playing baseball. She is a huge animal lover with three dogs and one guinea pig and a huge Disney fan! Kennedi is very excited to be a part of the Ascending Scales Music Program!

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Hannah Patterson, MT-BC

Hannah Patterson is native to the Chattanooga area, with a long heritage in Hamilton County. While attending Austin Peay State University, she earned a Bachelor's degree in Music with a concentration in Music Therapy. Her primary instrument is voice, but she also plays guitar, violin, ukulele, and piano. She brings her passions for music and helping people into her role as a Music Therapist.

Hannah's clinical experience included providing music therapy for pre-k and kindergarteners with a variety of developmental needs, older adults in a memory care facility, adolescents and teens in an in-patient psychiatric setting, and various ages and needs on the rehabilitation floor of a hospital. She completed her six-month internship at the Medical University of South Carolina, which features three separate hospitals with a variety of services including a Level 1 Trauma Center, a Comprehensive Stroke Center, and a Level 1 Pediatric Trauma and Burn Unit. While there, she worked with patients of all ages with varying diagnoses. Examples include Autism Spectrum Disorder, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, End-of-Life needs, psychological support needs, strokes, traumatic injuries, cancer, and many others.

Hannah enjoys spending time being active in nature in almost any way, including hiking, horseback riding, kayaking, etc. She loves to help her community by working on an ambulance and volunteering with her local fire department. On rainy days, she enjoys reading, as well as many crafts. Hannah joined the Ascending Scales team in 2024 and is very excited to be a part of the Chattanooga Autism Center in supporting the community!



Who can participate?

Everyone! Both music therapy and music lessons are available to anyone of any age or ability.  Music therapy sessions are designed for individuals and groups who want to address non-musical goals such as communication, socialization, and emotional expression.  Music lessons are designed to teach the participant to play an instrument of his/her choosing.


What does a typical music therapy session look like?

Because each music therapy session is individualized, no two music therapy sessions look the same. Usually, music therapy sessions will start with a hello or welcome song in order to establish a “start” of the session.  Then the music therapist will provide a variety of interventions that may involve playing instruments, listening to music, composing songs and/or lyrics,  improvising, talking about music, moving to music, or playing musical games.  The sessions will usually conclude with a goodbye song in order to create a concise “end” to the session and help the client transition away from the music therapy session.


Do I have to play an instrument in order to participate in music therapy?

No!  Music therapy sessions are individualized in order to address everyone's unique abilities and needs.  If you’d like to learn how to play an instrument as part of your therapeutic work, that could be an option.  Just know that in those situations the goal is not to learn the instrument, the goal is to build other non-music skills while learning an instrument.

What is the cost of each session?

Initial assessments are $90, and include up to an hour assessment with child and a 15 minute meeting with parent/guardian to discuss goals, objectives, and assessment results. 

Individual Music Therapy (50 minutes): $75 per session

1/2 Hour Individual Music Therapy (30 minutes): $37.50 per session

Individual Adapted Lessons (60 minutes): $50 per lesson 
1/2 Hour Individual Adapted Lessons (30 minutes): $25 per lesson

Group Music Therapy: To be determined... 


How can I pay for these services?

All Ascending Scales music programs are private pay services.  

Payment is required before services are rendered. 

Payment options include weekly,  monthly, or 2 months in advance either through check or PayPal. Discounts are offered to clients who pay at the beginning of each month or for 2 months of services. 


Where do the sessions take place?

Ascending Scales has an office at the Chattanooga Autism Center (CAC), located at 1400 McCallie Avenue Chattanooga, TN.  

Get started

Interested in starting your Ascending Scales experience?

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