Meet the Team
TRACIE SANDHEINRICH, MA, PLPC, MT-BC
Owner, Lead Music Therapist, Director of Clinical Services & Development
Hospice, geriatric, palliative care, neurologic rehabilitation + pediatric medical/hospital
At a very young age, Tracie found herself sitting on a stack of books and magazines just high enough to reach the piano keys. She grew up in a musical family, actively singing and playing music in her home church, and singing at the nursing home where her grandmother lived. It is without a doubt that Tracie knew and valued the power of music. After a chance meeting and introduction to the field of music therapy, Tracie never looked back. Tracie finished her coursework, followed by completing a clinical internship at St. Luke's Hospital (Adult Rehab) and BJC Hospice. She graduated from Maryville University with a bachelor's of science degree in music therapy in 2008.
After her internship, Tracie was hired on with BJC Hospice in Farmington, MO (2007-2009) where she brought music therapy to patients who were diagnosed with a terminal illness. In many cases, patients were seen in the home or long-term care facilities. In seeing hospice patients, Tracie was able to provide tailored music therapy interventions and work closely with an interdisciplinary team, which has helped groom her formal approach to providing quality services. Tracie believes that even in an unfortunate situation like impending illness, music at its finest, can not only bring physiological and psychological comfort to the patient, but to the family as well.
In November 2009, Tracie received the offer to help jumpstart a program called Kids Rock Cancer, a non-profit organization affiliated with Maryville University, whose mission is to help children and families facing the challenges of cancer and/or blood disorders through the process of therapeutic songwriting. As the senior music therapist, Tracie actively sees patients, supervises an additional KRC music therapist, supervises practicum and internship students, and enjoys program development. Tracie continues to be inspired by these participants and families, and ultimately encourages each and every participant to write their own story because she believes everyone has a song to sing.
Also in 2009, Tracie started her own private contracting music therapy company called Through Melody. Her company provided board certified music therapy services specializing in adult, geriatric, palliative, and end-of-life care, specifically in Southern IL. Since the rapid growth and need for services on both sides of the river, Through Melody merged with Music Therapy St. Louis, where Tracie stands as co-owner and Director of Therapeutic Services. Along with an amazing team of music therapists, Tracie aspires to continue educating and advocating about the many benefits of music therapy and other expressive therapies. In addition to dementia and hospice care, Music Therapy St. Louis will provide services to people of all ages with all types of healthcare needs ranging from cancer, children and adults with disabilities, mental health/illness, grief and loss support and overall wellness.
Aside from music therapy, Tracie graduated from Lindenwood University's graduate program and holds a Master of Professional Counseling. Not only did this fuel her passion for mental illness support, but directed her on the “always learning” path with hopes to not only grow as a person and music therapist, but also to help make creative therapies more accessible to people in the community and advocate for the importance and awareness of mental health.
JAIME KENNINGTON, MMT, MT-BC
Owner, Lead Music Therapist, Director of Clinical Services & Supervision
Children + adults of varying abilities, neurologic rehabilitation + pediatric medical/hospital
Jaime has been a professional performing musician in the St. Louis area for 15 years. After a 10-year career in marketing she decided to take a leap of faith and switch professions to follow her passion using music to service others. Six years later, she was a practicing board certified music therapist and attained a Master of Music Therapy at Maryville University.
With a variety of clinical placement from Special School District, St. Louis Psychiatric and Rehabilitation to St. Louis Arc, in 2016, she found herself leading the St. Louis Arc, Lafayette Industries and other music therapy programming. These populations range from toddler to geriatric populations. She leads integrated classroom group music therapy at Childgarden as well as the children, teen, adult and geriatric groups at St. Louis Arc and Rainbow Village and the employee program at Lafayette Industries. By 2018, she has led two (2017, 2018, 2019) Creative Music Making performances collaborating with the St. Louis Symphony and Maryville University.
At Music Therapy St. Louis, she directs and supervises undergraduate, graduate student in clinical practica or internship. She also leads the programming at Lafayette Industries, where there is an active student population, and is also on their Expert Advisory Panel for new programming and development. She also spends a lot of her time taking on private clients assessing and session planning in a 1:1 setting customized to that individual.
In 2017, Jaime was overjoyed to be part of the Kids Rock Cancer team. When she first heard of the
Kids Rock Cancer, in 2014, she immediately got involved. With her event experience, she volunteered at events, assisted in program efforts and joined the Club Rock Committee. Jaime identified with the program on a personal and professional level in such a way that it aligned with her life goals and dream career. All the pieces of the puzzle came together after a 6-year journey when she was offered the music therapist position at Kids Rock Cancer. Writing her first song at the age of 16, Jaime found an innate passion with therapeutic songwriting and advocates its evidence-based results. The opportunity with Kids Rock Cancer could not be a more perfect fit. When asked about her new position, she says, “I am humbled and incredibly honored to be part of such an outstanding team and community effort through Kids Rock Cancer.”
Jaime and Tracie recently presented at the Integrated Creative Arts Therapy Conference (June 2018) where Jaime shared her master thesis containing over 13 months of mixed methods research discussing understanding lyrical analysis in pediatric oncology. She is currently working on publishing her work in the industry's leading qualitative clinical journal. More to come!
While Jaime manages and oversees the student clinical programs through Music Therapy St. Louis, she will also be taking on an adjunct faculty role, teaching at Maryville University Spring 2019.
Jaime says, “If you love what you do, it shows and if it feels right, go with it.” She is passionate and driven to work in this field. After the career change and nearly a decade of perseverance she says it was worth every minute.
KAELA FUNKE-STAHLHUT, MT-BC
Children, teens, and adults of varying abilities + memory care
Kaela first began her musical journey in the fourth grade when the high school orchestra teacher came to her elementary school. She fell in love with the violin and played it until she had to have her fingers bandaged! Kaela continued her studies in violin throughout her formative school years and into college participating in school and university symphonies, district and state competitions, and community ensembles. Kaela first heard of music therapy at a workshop for ILMEA solo & ensemble. She went home to research it and was intrigued by the possibilities and opportunities it would present for her. Kaela went on to pursue her bachelor's degree in music therapy from Drury University and graduated May of 2020. Following her internship at Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC in St. Petersburg, FL she accepted a position at an assisted living and memory care facility in Ladue, MO. However, the pandemic created quite an interesting entrance into the workforce.
The first year of being a professional proved difficult due to the pandemic and Kaela took a short hiatus from music therapy at the end of 2020 to teach preschool. However, the hiatus did not last long because she missed her field of work. In April 2021 Kaela and her husband got married and moved down to Florida so she could return to work at her internship site. Kaela worked with Music Therapy St. Pete, LLC continuously during the pandemic doing Telehealth and in-person from 2021 until the Spring of 2022. While Florida was beautiful and she loved what she was doing, she and her husband realized being near friends and family was their ultimate goal and decided to move back to the St. Louis area. Through her experiences at Drury University, her internship, and her previous jobs Kaela has developed a love for working with multiple populations. She likes the variety of working with all different types of people and has learned that she can take lessons from working with one population and use it to aid in another. She does have a soft spot for little ones and those she is able to share her love of violin with. Now that Kaela is back she cannot wait to see what the future holds with MTSTL! The excitement is bubbling!
AURIELLE MACCHI, MT-BC
Board Certified Music Therapist
Children and adults of varying abilities, medical, hospice, geriatric + palliative care
Aurielle has been singing and dancing her whole life, performing in choirs and musicals from the age of nine. After many years of being on stage, Aurielle decided to pursue a degree in Speech and Theatre Education with a minor in music at Missouri State University. It was during her first semester that she realized her heart was no longer in education, and she decided to shift her studies to music and psychology. Aurielle was involved in several musical groups at MSU, including the premier all female a cappella group, A Cub Bella, and The Missouri State Chorale, the university’s flagship touring choir. She began to research music therapy and realized it was the perfect way to combine her love for music and interest in psychology.
After graduating from MSU in December of 2017, Aurielle began her music therapy studies at Maryville University and completed her internship at the Saint Louis University Cancer Center. In addition to her work at the cancer center, Aurielle has also worked in early childhood and with adults of all abilities. Since early 2020, Aurielle has had the honor of working with The Angel Band Project as the organization’s music therapy coordinator.
Aurielle is thrilled to be a part of the MTSTL team, and she looks forward to the exciting opportunities that await her!
DUSTIN POLITTE, MT-BC
Board Certified Music Therapist
Children, mental health, memory care, geriatric, adults of varying abilities
Dustin has always been musical. When he was very young, he would annoy his older brothers by singing every song that came on the radio regardless of if he knew the words or not and using any household item that made noise as a percussion instrument.
This is why it wasn’t a surprise that as soon as he was old enough, he joined every musical group he could including marching band, symphonic band, jazz band, concert choir, chamber choir, and many more.
By the time he graduated De Soto Sr. High School he knew that he had to continue music as a career. Dustin continued music at Southeast Missouri State University majoring in Music Education, but after a year of studying he realized that while he loved music this path wasn’t right for him.
Luckily, Dustin stumbled upon Music Therapy and knew right away that this was what he had been missing. After graduating from Jefferson College with his Associate of Arts in Music in 2016 he transferred to Maryville University to finish with a Bachelor of Science in Music Therapy in 2019. Along the way he experienced music therapy in different populations including adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease as well as children and adults of all ability levels. Dustin then completed an internship at St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center working with a forensic adult population.
After graduation, Dustin was hired as the Music Therapist at St. Louis Psychiatric Rehabilitation Center. Dustin worked on an interdisciplinary team rehabilitating a forensic population in preparation to be placed in their least restrictive setting in the community. Next, Dustin was hired at St. Luke’s Surrey Place to work as a music therapist on their memory care unit and was quickly promoted to the role of Activities Supervisor where he oversaw the activities therapy department. There he planned and implemented a comprehensive schedule of recreational and music therapy activities for the residents.
Now Dustin is excited for this new opportunity with MTSTL and can’t wait to see what the future holds!
DESTINY STANLEY, MUSIC THERAPY INTERN
Music has been a part of Destiny’s life since she can remember. Her family is very musical and her father taught music when she was a child. This made music a part of everyday life for her. She began singing and taking piano lessons at a very young age and her desire to be involved with music continued to grow. All through her early education she was involved in choirs and bands. It was in her teens that she joined her first contemporary band and fell in love with performing and songwriting. She has continued to write songs and play in bands as well as being involved in the direction of a church band for nearly a decade. Her desire to use music in a career that would serve others continued to nudge her through her twenties, when she learned about music therapy through her grandmothers battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She was intrigued by how music affected her so positively through one of the most difficult times of her family’s lives. This is where she learned that her love for music and for helping others could be combined in the use of music therapy. Since that point she knew that’s where she belonged and has been pursuing that dream ever since. She is currently interning with MTSTL as she completes her Bachelors in Music Therapy at Maryville University.