Intern’s Corner – Week 10

Performing in Vocal Jazz Ensemble (Junior Year)

Fun Facts and a Few Things I’ve Learned so Far

Hello everyone!

I hope you have had another amazing week! I had a great week at MTC. It’s crazy to think that I am finishing up my 10th week of internship! 
This week I want to lighten up the blog a bit. I’ll tell you a little bit more about myself as well as summarize a few points that I’ve learned in the first ⅓ of my internship!

I wrote an intro blog post a few months ago, but I didn’t really go deep into much information about myself. I thought it would be cool to share some fun facts that you maybe don’t know!

Here it goes:

I’m from a western suburb of Chicago, but I can count on one hand how many times I’ve actually been to the city.

I’m definitely not a city girl. Lots of my friends go to Chicago for the day just for fun, but it’s never really interested me, unless it’s for a musical, of course.

My primary instrument is voice.

I sang in University Singers, Madrigal Singers, Vocal Jazz Ensemble, and Concert Choir throughout my 4 years at Western Illinois.

I’ve also dabbled in a little bit of oboe.

You know how in fourth grade you get the exciting opportunity to pick a band instrument? Well, I picked oboe. I played it 4th-8th grade and then picked it up again for band my junior year of high school. I haven’t touched it since, so please don’t ask me to play you anything.

I’m very clumsy.

It’s really quite amazing that I’ve never broken a bone. I’m the person who trips over cracks in the sidewalk. 

I didn’t know I wanted to study music therapy until the second semester of my senior year of high school.

I know, that’s cutting it pretty close. I had to decide between music therapy and athletic training, and I am so happy with my decision.

Alright, now let’s get to a few things I’ve learned so far at MTC! These aren’t all necessarily things that are specific to music therapy. I feel like I have grown so much as a music therapist and as a person these last 10 weeks. I’ve written about some of these points in previous blog posts, but I find it beneficial to remind myself of these things over and over again. 

Get out of your head.

I’ve learned that my mind is my best friend AND my biggest enemy. The brain stores so much information that is so useful. I spend too much time in my head which makes me second guess myself. It’s easier said than done, but I have to get out of my head in order to be the best therapist I can be.

Go with your gut.

This kind of goes along with getting out of your head. If you aren’t sure what to do, go with your gut. It’s usually right.

We are all still learning.

I will never know it all, and that’s okay. It’s important to recognize that you don’t know it all, but also be confident in what you know so far.

Be yourself and decide what works best for you.

Getting to have 4 different supervisors is such a blessing. I get to learn from 4 different people with 4 different experiences. Every MT has their own philosophy of music therapy, their own background, and different “expertise.” It’s okay to be different. Don’t mold yourself after one person.

Have fun!

If you aren’t having fun, why are you doing what you’re doing? Live in the moment, do the silly things, and don’t take yourself too seriously. 

I’ve completed ⅓ of my internship! I enjoyed being more laid back this week with the blog, and I hope you enjoyed reading it! I would love to hear how other interns are enjoying their internships as well. So if you have something to add or share, please do!

Have a great week!

Emma Kovachevich

Learning The Importance Of Self Care

Learning The Importance Of Self Care | Music Therapy Connections

Hi again! I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about something near and dear to my heart: the importance of self care when working in a helping profession.

I knew when I decided to become a music therapy major that it wouldn’t always be easy for so many reasons, but I don’t think I really came to fully understand that until now, as a professional. I knew I would be having difficult discussions with clients and helping them through difficult times in their lives, but the emotional toll of what that would be like didn’t hit me until I began working in the field.

One of my main contract locations is a pediatric behavioral health facility. I work with people ages from 5 to 18 with a broad range of psychiatric and behavioral disorders. I love working with this population, but it can be very emotionally challenging at times.

Coupled with the fact that I have other contracts and a caseload of clients and students at MTC, I can feel pretty exhausted — physically and emotionally — at the end of the week. This is where self care comes in.

When I first began working, and even when I first began internship, I thought I understood the importance of self care. I made sure to do things to take care of myself and treat myself with kindness. Quickly, though, I realized that the things I thought were self care just weren’t working for me. Watching Netflix is great, but doing it for an entire weekend because you think it’s ‘what you need for self care’ isn’t always the answer.

For me, self care has become taking a long walk in the evening and stopping to pet dogs. It’s become cooking a good, healthy, nourishing meal for myself to power my body and brain. It’s forgiving myself when I make a mistake. It’s become minimizing electronic use at night to get a good, solid night’s sleep. It’s making sure I drink enough water.

It’s even become throughly cleaning my apartment or my car out on a Sunday afternoon to have a fresh start for the week. It’s also become finding a creative outlet outside of work — I’m really looking forward to joining the Capitol Area Concert Band when they resume rehearsals in August!

Self care looks different for everyone, and for some, a weekend of laying on the couch watching Netflix might be exactly what you need. I encourage you to take a closer look at your current self care routine and examine what’s working and what might not be. Self care isn’t selfish, and it’s an important part of being a human in today’s fast paced world.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you do something nice for yourself this week!


Intern’s Corner – Week 9

We’re All Still Learning

Hello again!

It’s been a great week at MTC. Lots of learning and growing as always! This week’s blog post is primarily for music therapy interns and students, as I know that this is a popular time of the year for internships to be starting, but I think it is also applicable for everyone! 

Heads up: this might get very real. It is coming from someone in the first few months of her internship. I understand that everyone has different experiences, and I appreciate you reading my thoughts this week!

“You think you know everything until you start your internship.” I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard this sentence. This sentence has A LOT of truth to it, but at the same time I’m not certain that it is 100% true. Also, it’s really scary to hear.

As someone who overthinks and self-doubts, hearing this sentence only made me more nervous for my internship. Here’s what I got from this statement: I had gone through 4 years of college classes on music therapy and so much more, but yet I actually know very little.

I do think that it is important to reinforce that students don’t know everything, but also important to remember that not all students really think that they know everything. 

A lot changes during internship. It’s all music therapy all the time. There are no ensemble rehearsals or theory, English, and history classes. An intern gets more hands-on experience in his or her first 2-3 weeks of internship than in the entire 4 years of practicum. It’s a lot of change, but all that you learn in your coursework prepares you for this next step. 

To students:

It’s true. You don’t know everything, but then again, who does? One of my supervisors likes to say that we’re all still learning. This is also true. We are all still learning. It’s why we have 4 years of college classes, a 6 month internship, a board-certification exam, graduate level classes, and continuing education requirements. There is always more to learn.

To interns:

It’s true. You don’t know everything, but you do know more than you think you do. From experiences I have had with MT students and interns, most of us don’t put ourselves on a pedestal. In fact, I’ve seen more of us tear ourselves down and doubt ourselves. I know I certainly do.

There is so much to learn about music therapy, so much that we will never know it all. However, this self-doubt does us no good in the music therapy profession. It gets in the way of what we need to do to help our clients. So no, you don’t know it all, but during sessions you apply what you do know.

Whether you’re a student or intern, you ARE the professional in your clients’ eyes. 

Internship is a hard 6 months. Entering the internship process can be very daunting. Hearing “You think you know everything until you start your internship,” can just make it more scary and as if the last four years of your life didn’t mean anything.

Instead of saying this, maybe we should say, “You’ve learned a lot so far, and you still have a lot to learn,” or, “You have learned what you need to know up until this point, and you will continue to learn so much more.” 

Music therapy students and interns: you’ve got this! Music therapy professionals: thank you for educating students, interns, other professionals, and yourselves every day. 

We are all still learning!

This blog post did get real, and thank you for reading my thoughts this week. Have another great week and happy learning!

Emma Kovachevich

Intern’s Corner – Week 8

Hello again everyone! I hope you all have had a wonderful week!

Last week I wrote about building rapport with clients, and this week I would like to expand upon that topic. More specifically, I am reflecting on building rapport with staff, parents, guardians, and caregivers of clients. 

Throughout these first 8 weeks of internship, I have been focusing on building rapport with clients, learning their names, and simply getting to know them. As the weeks have gone by, I realized that I know very little about the people who care for them. Of course, I will continue to build rapport with all of my clients, but I now will be more active in engaging with and getting to know the people around them.

I can be very shy, so talking to people is definitely not one of my strengths. However, stepping out of my box and reaching out to the people who care for my clients can go a long way.

It is important to consider these points when getting to know staff, parents, guardians, and caregivers:

These are the people who bring the clients to sessions.

In a residential facility or school, staff are the people who bring the clients to you, or, if you go to them, get them ready for the session. If you have your own space and clients come to you, parents, guardians and caregivers are often the people who make this happen. It is important to build a relationship with these people in order to make them feel comfortable, welcome, and recognized. 

These people are important to your clients.

Odds are, these people probably have a strong relationship and connection to the clients we are seeing. Getting to know them will also help us better understand our clients.

These are the people who provide necessary materials.

Funds, payment, instruments, books, etc. It sometimes takes a lot of materials to get music therapy going. Parents, guardians, and caregivers pay for our services, and in turn help provide the other necessary materials. In residential and school settings, there is administration that decides where money funds go. They can make or break a music therapy program.

Perhaps the most important: these are the people who support music therapy.

The field of music therapy is growing, but it still is not known everywhere. Parents, guardians, caregivers and sometimes staff are the people who have heard of music therapy, believe that it works and is beneficial, and signed up for services.

These people advocate for us. These are the people who witness first-hand the changes in the clients and how the skills learned transfer to everyday life. Staff, parents, and guardians are SO important to music therapists.

As I move into the end of my second month of internship, I really want to put some focus on noticing, appreciating, and thanking the people who support music therapy. 

So, if you are a parent, guardian, caregiver, staff, friend, or supporter of music therapy, thank you for all you do. We appreciate you more than you know.

I encourage my fellow MT students, interns, and professionals to reflect on these people in your life and clients’ lives this week.

Thank you for reading my blog this week!

Emma Kovachevich

Keeping Busy: My Day-to-Day Summer Schedule

Hello again! I hope you had a lovely Independence Day!

For me, it was a lovely mid-week break. Thursdays are my busiest days between a contract location in the morning and clients and students in the afternoon, so the holiday was a much needed bit of rest. Reflecting (and resting!) yesterday inspired me to write a blog post about my weekly schedule now that I’ve settled into a routine.

Mondays are a good, slow start to the week. I have a contract location in the morning and then I see a few clients at MTC in the afternoon. It’s a great way to ease into the week!

Tuesdays begin to speed up a bit, with a very fast-paced contract all morning, supervision with my colleagues in the afternoon, and a few lessons in the afternoon and evening.

Wednesdays are a nice bit of mid-week quiet for now. I’ll have some Listen and Learn for Little Ones classes starting this week and I’ll begin at a different contract location on Wednesday mornings in the early fall, but for now I’ve just been focusing on office tasks, practicing, and students.

Thursdays are by far my busiest day! I go to the same fast-paced contract location as Tuesday for a few hours in the morning, then I head to MTC for a few back-to-back clients and students in the afternoon. I usually leave the office quite tired at the end of the day, but also quite fulfilled.

Fridays for now are a nice quiet end to the work week. The contract location I’m scheduled to be at is on summer break, so I’ve just been taking Fridays as an opportunity to get things done at MTC like organizing and cleaning, practicing, writing blog posts, doing some general office work and seeing a client and a student. Starting in the fall, though, my Fridays will fill up quickly with contract work and more clients and students at MTC!

This ‘light’ schedule has been a great way to ease into my new job and roles here at MTC. Coming straight from busy weeks of college classes and internship has definitely helped keep me on top of things and in a routine. It’s also definitely helped that my schedule is a bit lighter for the summer as I get adjusted to life as a professional music therapist and living here in Springfield.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read! I look forward to seeing you around MTC.

Molly Robitaille