Intern’s Corner – Week 2

Hello! I hope you have had a wonderful week! This week I have been working a lot on my musical skills. As I was practicing, I reflected on my own musical skills and how important these skills are to music therapists.

When someone hears “Music Therapy” for the first time, two somewhat obvious things probably pop into their head: music and therapy. As music therapists or future music therapists, we learn so much about both musical skills and clinical skills in our education.

Both musical skills and clinical skills are incredibly important in this profession. Since we are therapists, some may place a greater emphasis on the clinical skills aspect, but we can’t forget about our musical skills.

Throughout our education, we take so many classes that play into our musical skills. These include music theory, aural skills, classes on various instruments including guitar, piano, voice, and percussion, and ensembles on our primary instruments. If you think about it, we may even spend more time on our musical skills throughout college than our clinical skills.

Being a musician is HARD. A lot of musicians may be drawn to a certain instrument. For me, that is voice. I’ve spent my whole life singing. Thus, this part of my education came easy to me, but learning new instruments is difficult, especially when you’re a young adult.

Piano has always been a struggle for me. I took piano as a young child, but quit after a few years, as I really preferred my voice lessons. I also never imagined I would enter a field of work where piano skills would be helpful. If there was one thing I could change in my life, I would go back and continue those lessons.

In regards to guitar skills, I had never even touched a guitar until my sophomore year of college. I went through the blisters and calluses, and continue to do so, as a beginner guitar player. Some say that this is one of the easiest instruments to learn, but it sure was difficult for me.

As my first two years of college were jam-packed with the classes previously listed, my musical skills began to develop. It can be rather easy to feel “comfortable” with your musical skills after those first two years; I know I did. However, it’s important to remember that we are always learning and should strive to know more and get better, just like with our clinical skills. Let’s consider the following points:

Music is how we reach our clients.

Sometimes clients see us because nothing else is able to reach them. Music can speak to a client in ways that nothing else can. Not to mention, using client-preferred music builds great rapport between the client and therapist. This strengthens the therapeutic relationship and trust. Music can build connections.

The music needs to enhance the session, not distract from it.

Our musical skills are so important as we use music in each and every session. We want our skills to be functional enough that they engage the client and enhance the session. If the therapist doesn’t know his/her music or is not confident, that distracts from the therapy session. This may result in not achieving, or even preventing the chance in achieving, the clients’ goal(s). Musical skills are important!

Music is what makes us unique.

It’s in the name: Music Therapists. No other profession has the knowledge and skills regarding music and using it effectively in a therapeutic setting like we do. It’s important to not let go of the musical skills that make us so unique.

By no means am I stating that musical skills are more important than clinical skills, or vice versa. Rather, we simply must not forget how important both sets of skills are.

Thank you for reading and have a great rest of your week!

Emma Kovachevich

Intern’s Corner – Week 1


I am finishing up my first week at Music Therapy Connections, and I am so happy to be here. Some of you may have read my first blog post a month or two ago where I introduced myself as the new MTC intern, and I am thrilled to have finally started this week!

This week has proven to be challenging, yet rewarding. I attended quite a bit of training, but also had the opportunity to observe, and even co-lead a few sessions.

Like a lot of people, I have a problem with getting in my own head. Every day I wear a bracelet with a quote from Winnie the Pooh on it that says, “You’re braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”

This is something I tell myself whenever I face a new or particularly challenging situation. I think that everyone could benefit from hearing this quote from time to time.

You’re braver than you believe.

Whether you know it or not, you are brave. No matter what your occupation or status, it takes bravery to simply be yourself. Sometimes things push you out of your comfort zone, and it takes bravery to accept these challenges.

During this first week at MTC, I was given the opportunity to lead a few songs and co-lead a session. In one hour-long session, I had never met the client before. If I was asked a month ago to do this, with little preparation time, I am unsure what the outcome would have been. It took bravery for me to do so this week, and I am so glad I had the opportunity to push myself this way. I was able to step out of my comfort zone and even be successful.

If you are in a similar situation and feeling nervous about any new endeavor in your life, remember that you are braver than you believe.

You’re stronger than you seem.

Strength doesn’t have to be in muscle. Strength can be seen in many forms such as passion, grit, and determination.

I found strength in myself this week through perseverance. I made mistakes this week. It’s part of learning. Everyone makes mistakes. It’s important to remember that most mistakes don’t matter in the grand scheme of things, it’s what you do afterwards that matters.

Everyone encounters situations where they do not feel strong enough, but remember that your strengths may look different than others and may change from situation to situation. Keep using your own strength, and remember that you are stronger than you seem.

You’re smarter than think.

This is something I have to tell myself constantly. A lot of people have self-doubt, especially in new situations, unfamiliar places, or when meeting new people. In these cases, we may feel like we have forgotten everything we have been taught, or doubt that we ever knew anything in the first place. At these times we need to remember that we actually do know some stuff, and even if we don’t know it all, there are people around us to help.

I was terrified that I wasn’t going to remember everything from my classes when starting internship (let’s be honest, it’s extremely unlikely to remember everything anyways), but I proved to myself this week that I remember and know a lot more than I think I do. Don’t let your own self-doubt get in the way, and remember that you are smarter than you think.

Do you have a favorite quote that you use in your everyday life?

Thanks for reading and have a wonderful weekend!

Emma Kovachevich