This week has been crazy (in a good way of course)! I’ve started to lead more in all of my sessions here at Music Therapy Connections as well as at the hospital and I’ve been pushed out of my comfort zone so many times. From these experiences, I’ve learned that there are some things that I should’ve practiced more during college that would have made my life a little easier now.

In college, I should have spent more time:

Building a HUGE knowledge of repertoire. 

Typically, I only learned the music that I needed to learn for my practicum sessions. It wasn’t until this summer that I started pushing myself outside of the popular music realm and now I’m quickly realizing how important it is to know songs from each genre and decade of music. At the hospital, I meet with a lot of families and patients who have such a wide range of music preferences and I should at least be able to talk about or play the music they love the most! However, it’s literally impossible to learn every piece of music ever written, but having a general knowledge of a few famous bands or knowing how to play a few hit songs from each decade will be extremely important. Also, for current music therapy students, learn the National Anthem. You will never know when someone might ask you to play it. In general, it’s also just a great song to know.

Practicing playing in different styles.

Just like having a huge knowledge of different repertoire, it’s important to be able to play in different styles. Again, it wasn’t until late last semester and this summer that I started picking on the guitar and playing different songs with contrasting styles. I have started practicing simple songs such as “Twinkle, Twinkle” (or any simple song that I know the chords to really well) and trying to play it in different styles. This has helped me tremendously and something that I wish I had started practicing sooner.

Practicing the things that scare me the most. 

Public speaking scares me. My brain gets all the words jumbled up whenever I have to give a presentation or talk to someone I don’t know. However, as a music therapy intern transitioning to a professional, I’ve had to talk to so many different people. I wish that during college I had pushed myself out of my comfort zone and talked to new people instead of avoiding it. We’re asked every day what music therapy is so oral communication skills as well as people skills are extremely important. One way that I am practicing becoming more comfortable talking to people is by striking up conversations with new people I see throughout the day such as having a quick chat about someone’s day in the line at Meijer. That being said, find something that scares you and face it head on every day!

Even though I did practice these things before my internship, I should have challenged myself even more. Thankfully, I am in an environment where I can challenge myself everyday to learn these skills, grow, and continue pushing myself outside of my comfort zone so that I can continue to effectively transition from a student to a professional!

Have a great week everyone!

Sammy Springer