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

Intern’s Corner – Week 7

Rapport

Hello! I hope you’ve all had an amazing 4th of July!

This week I am reflecting on rapport. This is SO important in the therapeutic process and in building a therapeutic relationship. We talked a lot about this in school, but I didn’t realize just how important building rapport is until recently.

Over the past couple weeks, I have begun leading lots of new sessions. Most of these clients had already been seeing one of my supervisors, so when I started leading I just jumped in where they left off. 

This wasn’t always successful. I couldn’t figure out why clients would participate with my supervisor, but not with me. My supervisor pointed out that they don’t know me very well yet and I hadn’t built rapport with them. So, my next session I simply focused on building this therapeutic relationship.

It’s amazing what building trust and rapport does. In that next session, I gave the client choices and was not strict about what we would do. They immediately opened up to me. Giving them a choice and a sense of working together did marvelous things.

Though the client had choices and directed where the session went, we were still able to address their goals. I need to continue building this rapport, and as time goes on, the relationship I have built with the client will allow me to challenge the client in different ways.

Here are some ways that you can build rapport in your sessions:

  • Give the client lots of choices (i.e. what instrument to play or what song to sing)
  • Ask questions to get to know the client
  • Let the client choose the order of the interventions
  • Use client-preferred music

Therapy is a process, and that process right now includes building rapport with most of my clients. This will help immensely now and in the future. Though I want to focus on building the therapeutic relationship, this doesn’t mean I’m not also finding ways to address their goals. It’s all a balance. 

If you’re a student or intern working with new clients and things just don’t seem to be working, try taking a step back and building rapport. It’ll do wonders for you and your client!

I have been building rapport with my clients by giving them lots of choices during sessions; how do you build rapport?

Thanks for reading!

Emma Kovachevich

New Beginnings

I have mementos of home all over my apartment- one of my favorites is this beautiful picture of Connecticut, featuring mountain laurel which is the state flower.

Hello again and happy Friday! Now that I’ve introduced myself, I wanted to share a little about my first few weeks here at MTC and in Illinois. As you may know from reading my previous blog post, I recently moved here all the way from Connecticut. It was a big change, but one I’m so glad I made!

Relocating your entire life can be a little scary, especially when you’re moving halfway across the country to a place where you know no one. When I was looking for a job, I didn’t really look in Connecticut much. I knew that I wanted to live in a different state and experience new things — but I never thought that would bring me all the way to Illinois! I’ve always had an adventurous spirit, so when this wonderful opportunity presented itself, I didn’t bat an eyelash. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made!

Now that I’ve been here for almost a month, I’ve had some time to settle in to my routine. I have a jam-packed schedule at MTC and the various contract locations that I serve, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve kept busy with trainings, paperwork, practicing, sessions, lessons, and not to mention unpacking and organizing at home!

Now that most of the trainings and paperwork are done and my apartment is mostly unpacked, I am really looking forward to getting out and exploring the awesome city of Springfield.

It’s been wonderful getting to know all the families and clients at MTC and I look forward to writing more blog posts in the future! Thanks for reading!

Molly Robitaille

Intern’s Corner – Week 6

Hello!

It’s been a busy week at Music Therapy Connections! Full of new clients, new interventions, and new songs! My assignment for this week was to create a “Most Popular Songs” binder, and I wanted to share with you a little bit of what went into that binder.

At one of the sites at which I intern, I do a sing-along three days a week in addition to the regular music therapy sessions. This is an opportunity for the clients to sing what they want and just have fun! During this time, I’m not necessarily worried about fulfilling goals, but rather, it is an opportunity for them to work on social and communication skills.

The clients at this site range from children (about age 5) to young adults. I wanted to share with you the top 5 most requested songs I have received during sing-along! If you will be working with an age group like this, I would highly recommend you add these songs to your repertoire.

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” – Toy Story

This is definitely a favorite, especially with Toy Story 4 just coming out in theaters. This song also presents good opportunities to use signing within it (especially on the “you’ve got a friend in me” phrases). I can also see it being used in song discussion about who their friends are and who they trust.

“Firework” – Katy Perry

This isn’t one of the newest pop songs, but the clients still love it. This song could also be used in regards to emotional expression and talking about feelings. Recently, I actually piggybacked this song for social situations.

“Let it Go” – Frozen

This one isn’t too much of a surprise, as Frozen is still popular with most kids. It’s a fun song to belt out with the clients at sing-along.

“True Colors” – Trolls

I have still not seen the movie Trolls, but apparently I need to because the clients request it a lot! Thankfully the movie soundtrack features some well-known popular songs, including “True Colors” by Cyndi Lauper. 

“Reflection” – Mulan

This is an older Disney movie that gets requested quite often. This song can be used to talk about self-identity and self-worth. Not to mention, the song is just beautiful in itself.

There are so many other songs that get requested every week, but these are the 5 that are requested most often. As you can see, Disney is a common theme as well as music from movies. If you are a student, intern, or professional starting to work with this age group/population and don’t know where to start, this is a good jumping off point!

Though there are common themes, don’t be fooled. I have had plenty of requests that have surprised me. Some clients request songs that their parents or friends listen to, and some just like music you wouldn’t expect. It’s been fun getting to know all of my clients!

Thanks for reading and happy singing!

Emma Kovachevich