Never say never. I have the bad habit of saying “I’m never going to (insert comment here) because I just don’t like it.” I use this phrase frequently, almost daily, about various aspects of my life. I’ve proved myself wrong over and over again because I’m currently doing things that I said I would “never” do in life. For example, I said I would never teach lessons. At my internship, I teach music lessons for piano and over the past six months, I am realizing that I LOVE it; now I’m considering teaching piano and flute lessons after my internship because it’s something that I enjoy doing and I love working with students.
I’ve heard myself say “in the future, I never want to do this” so many times in the past few months so I wonder why do I say it in the first place? It might be because something seems uncomfortable at first, but after practice and experience everything does get easier and more comfortable. Part of growing as a person is realizing that your tastes, likes, and dislikes change over time. Looking five years into the future, after learning and practicing, I might enjoy an activity that I absolutely dislike right now. The truth is that by saying “never” to something, it limits my outlook and prevents me from expanding, learning, and growing. The brain is a powerful thing and it hears me saying to myself that I will never do something, which causes me have a general negative attitude towards that situation. However, I’m very fortunate that I’m surrounded by people who push me despite hearing me say that “I never want to do” something.
Keep an open mind when trying new things. Always. Also, stop saying never! I’m striving to take that word completely out of my vocabulary. It’s a toxic word that prevents growth and limits a person from finding their true potential. That’s the lesson that I’ve learned this week and probably one that I will keep learning throughout my life. Just because something is hard right now, doesn’t mean that it won’t get easier over time; I might find myself to actually enjoy it!
Last week I wrote about three reminders that I would tell myself in the past in order to help overcome challenges. This week I would like to reflect and share with you three things I would like to keep in mind as I continue practicing as a board-certified music therapist after internship. If you are in this stage of life as well, finishing up internship and deciding what is to come next, I challenge you to think about what you could possibly remind yourself in the future, especially when times get tough or seem difficult.
1. Keep an open mind.
When I continue on through my career, I need to remind myself to continue keeping an open mind about any situation I may encounter. This has been my theme of the past week; just because I may not fully enjoy something right at this moment, it doesn’t mean that, in the future, I won’t enjoy it or have developed the skills to be effective in a particular situation. This can apply to all aspects of life including clinical situations, certain foods, and other activities.
2. Trust yourself.
As Katey always says to me, “You’re the expert! What is there to worry about?” So as I enter into my career, I need to believe and trust in myself more than ever. Even when I feel that I don’t know what I’m doing, I do know because I’ve received excellent training and guidance in the past. You CAN do it because you ARE the expert!
3. Take care of yourself!
This is probably the biggest reminder that I need to tell myself everyday after my internship. I’ve been experiencing multiple problems that have stemmed from muscle weakness. I haven’ t been taking care of myself the way I should and it has effected my guitar playing and overall personal health. When I start my new job, I need to be proactive about strengthening my muscles so that it medical problems don’t get in the way of my clinical skills.
Chances are, if you have found this post you may have heard of music therapy. That is great! As music therapists we are very passionate about what we do and how it can be effective for people of all ages and abilities! If you would like to know more, please follow the link here to learn more. Today we are going to dive into a specific population or group of people and how music therapy is often effective for them! We are going to talk about Autism.
Autism also know as Autism Spectrum Disorder or ASD. A child or adult with Autism may have some delay to any varying degree of social skills, and speech skills in addition to varying sensory needs and sensitivities. Here is an example of how we would address the following,
Social Delay- This can vary from reflecting on the lyrics of a song to bring the client into a greater awareness of how others feel and express themselves to simply making and maintaining eye contact.
Speech Delay- Speech delays can range from entirely nonverbal to a stutter or using mostly abbreviated phrases. A music therapist can utilize rhythmic techniques to improve stuttering and song analysis to increase developmentally appropriate complex speech.
Sensory Needs- Like most aspects of this topic sensory needs also fall on a spectrum. What we often see is the ability to regulate sensory needs or the struggle to do so. For instance, if you are in a room where there is a sound or light which you find irritating or distracting… what do you do? Well, more than likely you may try to turn off the sound or light and if you can’t, then you may choose to leave. Many people with ASD not only are more sensitive than most people to sound, touch, light, etc. But when a sensory overload starts to happen they may not have the coping skills necessary to alleviate the problem. This is often where we see misplaced behaviors.
That being said, as music therapists we have a special perspective and influence when it comes to sensory needs. Music therapy utilizes varied techniques to cater to sensory needs while creating a great environment for increasing and improving speech, social skills, academic skills, life skills, and more. I often get asked “but isn’t music therapy loud?” No, not in many cases it truly depends of what is best for our client. As music therapy we practice an understanding of sensory needs practical for many different clients. We are aware that clients can be sensitive and are kind and gentle when finding volumes, instruments, and timbres of preference.
Are you interested in music therapy for you or someone you know?
Here are a few resources on Autism and music therapy,
As I come to the end of my internship (I still have a few more weeks…but I’m almost done!), I’ve reflected on how much I’ve grown these past few months as an individual. I wish I could go back in time to five years ago or even six months ago and give myself some advice about life, school, and internship.
Give your opinion…it’s important. I just figured this out this week, but I wish I had learned to give my opinion years ago. Everyone’s opinion matters and it’s especially important to share your opinion, if it’s respectful and kind, with someone else if you have something valuable to say. It’s emotionally draining to keep your feelings and opinions to yourself. While sharing your own opinions is important, it’s just as essential to listen to other’s opinions as well. Sharing your own opinions with other people and having an open conversation can lead to further growth and learning.
Don’t worry so much! You’re going to be just fine. I’m still learning about this, but the amount of time I spend worrying has decreased significantly over the course of my internship. Sessions, documentation, handling stress-it all gets easier with practice, which happens over time. Therefore, I would tell myself, don’t worry!!! It’s not worth it and it will all get easier with time!
Work hard, but find time to relax. Working hard is important and worthwhile, but I also think that’s important to find time to relax. Six months ago, I didn’t even know the definition of self-care. Before starting my internship, I was working four jobs and going to school full time. It was worthwhile, but I wish I had spent a little more quality time with my friends before leaving school and given myself time to relax. However, I’m glad that I learned this lesson now; I’m working on balance in my life, working hard but still making time for self-care.
What are some things that you would tell your younger self?
I love using these signs as an alternative to farm animals. If we’re all being honest, sometimes a little change from “Old MacDonald had a… Cow!” is very welcomed. It is also a fantastic opportunity to learn animals that a child, student, or client may now have been challenged with yet! Enjoy and watch for next week’s video!