Help us to transform lives


How We Got Started


Karen Demuth’s son Dante was born with Down Syndrome and without an esophagus. He is non-verbal with hearing and visual deficiencies. As with many children born with special needs, it was important to Karen that Dante’s quality of life improved as he lived in a solitary world solely immersed in his battery operated toys.

Traditional therapies provided a slow and steady growth, but the transformation she was hoping for in Dante didn’t occur.

Everything changed when she discovered KinderMusik with Dinah Frilling. After 3 months of home based music lessons, dramatic growth in Dante occurred. His social social skills skyrocketed as he started to interact with those around him through music. Music unlocked his world.

After learning about the power of music, Karen asked Neptune Beach Elementary (NBE) Principal Elizabeth Kavanagh if a music program could be started at the school. Unfortunately, funding was not available. Understanding the importance of music for children with special needs, Karen with the Beaches community started fundraising. Connecting Thru Music (CTM), a weekly music program for children with special needs at NBE was started.


Although parents, teachers and administration saw how impactful the program was for the children, Karen realized through research and networking that more could be done to improve it. She learned that St. John’s County Public Schools has provided a unique program to their children with special needs for over a decade. There’s significant research the shows children with special needs thrive with this unique program? What was it?

Music Therapy!

Learning with a Board-Certified Music Therapist

Connecting Thru Music had to bring a board certified music therapist to the current music program at Neptune Beach Elementary. To make this happen, CTM expanded their fundraising goals. Some people said it couldn’t be done. But, through community effort and generosity, CTM was able to bring an enhanced learning music program to NBE. Shortly after, CTM was able to provide services to their second school, Mandarin Oaks Elementary.

Now, not only is Dante thriving, over 300 children with special needs in public and private settings are receiving this very vital service.


Currently CTM is providing music services to over 180 students at our in-school programs and thanks to a generous grant from The Kids Hope Alliance, children with developmental and intellectual abilities are receiving our services during after school and holiday/summer programs. Goals ,curriculum themes and core words are part of the program and the students progress is monitored to assure efficacy.


Starting with the COVID19 pandemic, CTM introduced a virtual platform so that learning and development can continue at home and at sites when a live class is not feasible. The same attention to goals and progress are a part of these sessions. The benefit of this model is that the parent/ care provider is included so that they can assist,, understand the goals and can reinforce learning between sessions.


Looking forward, CTM is actively partnering with community organizations to bring music therapy to even more children with special needs. CTM is committed to continual growth and improvement of our program so that we can reach as many children as possible throughout our region.              We know, that we can assist children in making significant progress towards their emotional, social, cognitive, physical and communicative development with this data driven and well researched therapy.


Who We Serve

We serve pre-school through high school children with special needs who are in who are in Duval County and (soon) throughout Northeast Florida. Currently CTM funds two public elementary school programs during the school day and has received funding from The Kids Hope Alliance to provide after school and camp programs throughout Duval County. 

If your organization can create a class of at least 5 students with developmental disabilities, we may be able to provide service free of charge at your site. Please contact Karen Demuth , Executive Director 904-310-4827 for more information. 

Current Services

  • Music therapy by a board certified music therapist from First Coast Music Therapy.
  • Magical Music Fundays, where Bach 2 Rock and KinderMusik provide weekly music classes.
  • Instrument donations for in school and at home experiences.
  • Networking and collaboration to raise funds and awareness to enable us to provide music therapy.

Mission Statement

To provide music therapy and related music services which will enhance the cognitive, social, emotional, physical, development growth of the children with special needs throughout Duval County and the Northeast Region of Florida.

Our Vision

To raise funds, to provide music therapy/ music enrichment services and to raise awareness of the importance of music therapy to the growth, learning and development for children with special needs