These last two weeks were full of affirming moments. The type of moments that make you say “this is what I’m meant to be doing!” Whether it was watching a child learning how to conduct and waving their hands in tremendous gesture in our exploratory music class, or when a client who is not usually very expressive shows concern for my well being. Or even this story, which is my favorite of all:
We have been working on a cross-generational duet with a grandmother and her granddaughter. When working through the granddaughters part alone her teacher mentioned that it is important to keep going even if you make a mistake because then the duo will stay together. When we brought both parts together, the granddaughter’s ideal tempo for this piece was a bit faster than her grandmother had originally intended. They were doing very well until the grandmother stopped in the middle of the piece. It was in that moment that the granddaughter pulled her hands off the piano and into the air and said:
“Grandma, you have to keep going!”
There was one short moment of silence before all four of us began laughing. It was the kind of laughter you have with family, the one that makes your day that much brighter.
These moments I have had with students have made me feel so grateful that I chose the career I did. Its the little moments that make it so rewarding.
As the title reads, I am in my seventh week of internship and wow has it gone fast! I have so enjoyed learning from multiple music therapists in such a rich learning environment. That being said, it would be dishonest of me to say that it has only been dandelions and roses.
This week was especially challenging as I was met with my first set of constructive criticisms for my time at internship. Accepting criticisms, critiques, and recommendations for many people can be very challenging, but are vital to growth through supervision.
And so, after a busy day filled with students a plenty, and one hefty conversation weighing on my mind I got into my car and headed home. It was on this car ride that I took the opportunity to reflect on the critiques that I had been given and two things kept coming to mind:
1.) If you want to gain the most from this experience, you need to be transparent.
Transparency is an interesting concept in a supervisory context. It breaks down to being entirely open and honest with your supervisors. It is incredibly important to be able to express your concerns, in a professional context especially when you deal so intimately with others’ wellness as a therapist does.
2.) What happens next is up to me.
It occurred to me that moving forward I have the control to fuel the growth that needs to happen, or stay stagnant. What happened next was entirely up to me, and I chose growth.
My message today is an honest one for many students, interns, and people out there: constructive criticism from another person who cares for your betterment professionally, scholastically, or otherwise is not going to be more than you can bear, or out of your reach. You can do this.
In the last two weeks my schedule has made some big changes as I have begun co-leading! With co-leading comes much excitement and exceedingly more responsibilities, so I thought it might be beneficial for me to share how I keep organized as an intern.
So, here it goes!
Every week I have one assignment and one repertoire check. My assignments have included composing songs, recording songs, and learning 12 new terms associated with working at a hospital. My repertoire checks (or rep checks) are completed by playing at least two preexisting songs memorized for my supervisor(s). In addition to my predetermined assignments I prepare at least one song or intervention for almost every student or group.
The tools I use are…
1) A monthly calendar
2) A lined journal
3) A weekly schedule with who I see at what time.
4) A word file where I keep documentation, planning, and a practice list
and my new addition by my supervisors request…
5) A song binder
I use my monthly calendar to record only my assignment for the week, my repertoire check songs, and major events. I save daily to do lists and ideas for another place. This keeps my monthly calendar clean and clear to read and allows me to foresee the big picture for what my week, month, and internship will look like as a whole.
My journal is my go to for almost everything. I keep lyric ideas, short notes, and abbreviated in the moment documentation here. Most importantly it is my ever-growing to do list. For some people a more structured hourly system may work very well, but I prefer a much more flexible system where I can look at what I need to complete for the day and mark it off as I go. Also, I like to use nice and heavily bound journals, because they hold up well as I toss it from my backpack to shoulder bag, to purse depending on the day.
My weekly schedule is simply a schedule of who I see at what time each week. I only put things here that don’t change from week to week so that I very rarely have to go back and update it.
My documentation file lists the days of the week (Monday through Thursday) and who I see in order. For each student I have their plan for the current session, a paragraph form documentation, and a plan for next session in addition to what I am to prepare for the next session. Each week is a new file where the only thing I have to transfer over is my plan for that day. At the top of this file I keep a running list of what I am to practice with a letter indicating the day it is to be prepared for, i.e. (M) for Monday. This is easily the most complicated of my organizational tactics but it works very well for me as I can keep all of my documentation and plans for the week in one file. This ends up being a major time saver for me!
And of course…
My music binder has every song I have done in repertoire checks, assignments, supervision, and with clients. The purpose is that as I build my repertoire I sit down and put every song into this binder so that I have them all in one place. It has already been very handy as I don’t have to lug my computer around and keep ten tabs up to practice all of my music, but I can simply take my binder and get to work.
I hope some of these tools can be as helpful to you or an intern you know as they have been to me!
This was my fifth week of my internship and I just started easing into co-leading! I am excited about taking on a bigger role in our groups and sessions, but at the same time I am feeling the stress weighing on me because I do not have much spare time in my week to prepare for the many sessions and groups to come.
Like many other interns out there I work my full work week at my internship and then work the weekend at a paying job. With my commute time that’s at least 65 hours a week. By the time I get home I am usually feeling drained and exhausted, but still I need to practice, make some notes, and prep ideas for future sessions and groups.
After this week I could feel myself losing motivation and drive in a desperate need for sleep and retreat. So instead of trying to make it through another week with an emotional gas tank on “E” I decided to take a day off… oh yes, I did it.
My husband and I went to a pumpkin patch this Sunday and had a wonderful time. We ate fair food, did a corn maze, and even shot a pumpkin out of a cannon (my husband’s favorite part), and finally, after it all on the almost two hour drive home I slept.
What has stuck with me this week is this thought…
As therapists we give and give and give with joy and care, but we cannot forget to give joy back to ourselves.