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meet our staff

An Early Childhood Music Specialist, Shay Ryan is a proud member of ECMMA (Early Childhood Music and Movement Association) and holds Level I ECMMA certification. She is certified and licensed to teach all levels of Kindermusik curricula. She is also the co-writer and emcee of the popular interactive symphonic concert series "Mini Maestros" with the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra. Her studio, "Kiddos and Kin" has received the Top Program Maestro Award from Kindermusik International four years ina row, ranking it within the top 5% of studios around the world.


Shay's extensive background in Applied Behavior Analysis compliments her masterful teaching. As a former Behavioral Therapist and Program Coordinator through Rutgers University, she has had the pleasure of witnessing monumental growth in the students she has worked with. She has firsthand experience in the power of music and its ability to help facilitate language development and positive peer interaction.


From cruise-ships to Off-Broadway, to being signed to a major label, Shay  brings over 20 joyous years of professional singing experience to Kiddos and Kin.

Shay Ryan aka Ms. Shay

Kindermusik Educator &

Owner of Kiddos and Kin

Kirsten Howard aka Ms. KiKi

Kindermusik Educator


Megumi is a board certified music therapist (#09710) and holds her master’s degree in music therapy from Colorado State University. She completed music therapy clinical internship at Poudre Valley Hospital, Fort Collins, CO. She has a wide range of clinical experiences including inpatient/outpatient neurorehabilitation, pediatric outpatient clinic, community outreach groups, nursing homes, special education, and psychiatric settings. She focuses on addressing physical, speech/language, and cognitive rehabilitation goals due to individuals with neurological conditions. These conditions include stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Traumatic Brain Injury, Multiple Sclerosis, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and developmental disabilities such as Autism Spectrum Disorder, Down Syndrome, and Cerebral Palsy.


She is a member of American Music Therapy Association (AMTA) and Music Therapy Association of Washington (MTAW). She actively presents her clinical research at local, regional, and national levels.  Her research interests include the use of clinical singing and voice exercises in treating individuals with neurological conditions, music therapy treatment as cognitive training for people with dementia/Alzheimer’s Disease, and music therapy cost-effectiveness analysis.  She also shares her music therapy knowledge and insight by hosting the blog, “Musically Thinking”.


Megumi offers private sessions at Kiddos and Kin.

Megumi Azekawa, MM, MT-BC

Music Therapist

Shay is also a graduate of the Creative Enterprise Program with Spaceworks, where she took intensive courses in business planning and marketing. Spaceworks is a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber to advocate empty storefronts and vacant space in Tacoma.


Her love of music and teaching has only been eclipsed by one thing- the birth of her daughter in 2010.        

After experiencing for herself the amazing bonding, social, and whole-child learning experience Kindermusik      provides, Shay is thrilled to offer classes in the Tacoma area to those of all developmental and musical abilities.



Shayla has been passionate about the arts for her entire life, and began her work with kiddos at the occupational therapy clinic she was a patient at as a young child.  Working with the kids, and watching them grow inspired her to pursue a career in art therapy.


She has an AA in psychology from Pierce College, and is currently working towards a BS in art therapy and BA in psychology at Long Island University. In fall of 2021, she'll begin her graduate program to be certified in art therapy. Shayla is already considering going back to school to get certified in occupational therapy, speech therapy, or mental health counseling, or for a doctorate in psychology, because she just really likes school. :-) Before that, she'll start a career in pediatric art therapy.


Shayla loves coming home to Tacoma to teach art for the summer at Kiddos and Kin!


Shayla Harris

Art Instructor



Heather DeJesus' love for music began when she was introduced to the flute at a very young age and she attributes her success in high school, college and beyond to her early exposure to music.  


From being a first seat band student to being in the first row of the Dave Matthews Band concert, her passion for music and the enrichment it offers in undeniable.  As a mother of a student who attended Kindermusik, she has firsthand experience of the many benefits it offers.  She is witness to how music stimulates the brain and calms the mind of a young child. With this discovery, she has made it her mission to share and introduce the magic of Kindermusik to all children.


She is a proud mother of two wonderful boys and a beautiful baby girl, and teaches Kindermusik at many private and public schools throughout Pierce County.


Heather teaches our Level 4 Pre-piano classes at Kiddos and Kin.


Heather DeJesus

Kindermusik Educator

Kirsten (aka Ms. Kiki) was raised in a family of professional Big Band era musicians and Kirsten began singing with her family at the tender age of three.


Kirsten has participated in numerous church musicals, directed children's choirs, directed and choreographed musical performances and dance routines for  Community Outreaches, choreographed and performed Disney musical vignettes for sick children at Tacoma General Hospital, performed for numerous Race for a Cure Cancer runs, and continues to provide special music for weddings, funerals and other community events.


Kirsten holds a Bachelors Degree in Psychology and a Master in Education with emphasis in Reading and Literacy from City University of Seattle. Moreover, Kirsten has dedicated the past 20 years to providing unique adaptive learning strategies to preschool aged and special education students.


She resides in Tacoma, WA. with her husband and twin fur babies. She also has an adult son. Kirsten teaches Mixed Age and Level 1 Kindermusik classes on weeknights and Saturdays at Kiddos and Kin.

Kirsten Howard Bio Photo shay shayla