Why I Chose Music Therapy

My college graduation cap!

Hi again! I wanted to take a few minutes today to talk about what brought me to music therapy.

As a high schooler beginning to think about college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. After looking at my passions and hobbies, I settled on occupational therapy. By the beginning of senior year I had a college picked out and was planning on applying for fall 2015.

What brought me to occupational therapy? Throughout high school, the highlight of my weeks during the winter and early spring was volunteering with the local Special Olympics Swim Team on Friday evenings. I attended local meets and even State Games with the athletes, and learned that I had a passion for helping people. Naturally, this led me to occupational therapy.

However, there was always a little voice in the back of my head saying, “But what about music?” I couldn’t ignore that. I was very involved with my high school music department — in marching band, concert band, choir, the spring musicals, jazz band, even going to music camp for a week in the summer. I didn’t want to let that go. I knew I didn’t want to go into music education or performance, so I thought that a career in music just wasn’t possible for me.

As senior year rolled around and I was trying to get excited about a future in occupational therapy, that little voice grew louder. The college I had chosen didn’t have a band, orchestra, or choir and that just didn’t feel right to me.

At some point that fall, someone (perhaps my mom, a friend, or my band director) mentioned music therapy to me. I had no idea what that was but immediately knew that I had to do it. After looking it up, my heart was set!

After touring some colleges, I settled on Molloy College in New York and after applying, auditioning, an interviewing I was accepted as part of the Class of 2019. Four years later, I know I made the right choice. Music therapy is the perfect combination of my two passions: helping people and music.

As always, thank you for reading! I look forward to seeing you around MTC!

Intern’s Corner – Week 13

Confidence

Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a fabulous week! I’m sure it’s been a busy week for lots of you with the new school year starting.

This week I had my midterm evaluation. It’s amazing to think that I am halfway through my internship! I was so happy to hear from my supervisors that I am where I need to be. As expected, I am excelling at some things and need some improvement in other areas. One big thing we talked about during this meeting was confidence.

This topic may sound similar to my perfectionism blog post at the beginning of my internship, but I wanted to dive a little deeper this week. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a confident person. I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses, but tend to dwell on the things I’m not so great at. I think that this is a normal human thing to do, but it doesn’t necessarily help me in the therapeutic setting. 

During sessions, I’ve been able to develop this “fake it till you make it” attitude. This doesn’t mean I come to sessions unprepared; this attitude just helps me take things as they come during the session. It helps me get out of my own head. My supervisors even tell me I look “cool as a cucumber” during most sessions. It’s the before and after that get me.

Before sessions, I tend to doubt my skills and knowledge. I get worried that I’m not going to be what my client needs. After sessions, I think “I should have done this,” or “I could’ve said this better.” Basically, I get in my head and it’s hard to get out.

I think these things, but in reality the sessions always tend to go pretty well. It’s my lack of confidence before and after sessions that are keeping me from fully succeeding. My supervisors and I talked about how if I gain more confidence, all the other skills that are still developing will fall into place. 

The start of confidence is beginning to focus a little more on your strengths than on your weaknesses. So, this week for my self care I have been taking time throughout the week to write down some of my strengths. I feel a little strange doing this, but I think it will help in the long-run.

I know that I’m not the only one that struggles with confidence in themselves. I would love to hear how you pump yourself up and get into a confident mindset! Please feel free to leave a comment; it may help me and others reading this blog.

Thanks for letting me be real every week and for reading my blog posts. I appreciate it more than you know!

Emma Kovachevich

Integrating Technology Into Music Therapy Sessions

Hi again! I’m back to talk about the modern marvel of technology. It’s pretty amazing, and can be adapted and used in so many ways within music therapy sessions.

  • GarageBand. This one almost goes without saying. From recording songs for clients to giving them the opportunity to write their own music from scratch, this is an amazing resource for music therapists to have in their technology toolkit.
  • Music games. There are so many wonderful music games available that can help accomplish a variety of goals. Anything from rapport building to fine motor skills can be addressed through interactive music games. Some of my favorites available for iPads include Incredibox, Sound Forest, Piano Tiles, Auto Rap, and Ditty.
  • Organizing repertoire. I almost never rely on physical copies of music anymore. I have everything scanned in to meticulously organized Google Drive folders that I can easily pull up or access in a session, even without WiFi. I also use Guitar Tabs, which has lyrics, tablature, and chords for almost every song under the sun! I don’t have to worry about carrying around binders full of music or forgetting something at home. I can also look up client requested music in an instant.
  • Google Drive. I use Google Drive for EVERYTHING from tracking client and student attendance to documentation to organizing music as mentioned above to coordinating schedules and plans for the week with my colleagues. It’s easy to organize things and access from multiple devices — all password and fingerprint protected, of course.

This is just a small sampling of how I use technology in everyday sessions. Of course there are many other technology resources available for music therapists, but I find these ones to be the most accessible and successful for me.

As always, thank you for reading and have a great day!

~Molly

Intern’s Corner – Week 12

Hello everyone and happy Back to School Month!

We have been busy at MTC getting ready for the new school year. That doesn’t just include preparing session plans and getting materials ready. We even have a fresh look with fresh paint on the walls and new furniture! Lots of exciting stuff!

As the new school year approaches, I thought I would focus on music therapy students for this blog post. 

Being a college student is so exciting, so difficult, and so rewarding. You constantly have new information thrown at you. You have more freedom to do the things you want and take the classes you like. You get so many opportunities with ensembles and clubs. The world is yours (or at least the campus is).

I personally found college to be the best time of my 22 short years. There were some hard times, but also great times. Here’s some things I learned during my 4 years on campus:

Get Involved…

This is your time to explore things that you are interested in. College also gives you so many different opportunities that you may not get anywhere else. Join the clubs, intramurals, or fraternity/sorority. Do what interests you.

…But not too involved.

It’s great to explore and experience new things, but then before you know it you’re in 10 extracurricular activities. It’s important to remember that you’re in college to pursue a degree. It’s also important to remember that once you join something, you don’t have to stay in it all 4 years. So, do the things that will add to your learning and the things that make you the happiest.

Go to class!

This is a biggie. It’s tempting to stay in bed and skip that 8 am class, and, believe me, as a music major you will have a lot of them. Get out of bed and get to class. Not only are you missing out on important information, but you’re also letting money go to waste as you’ve already paid for the class.

Being a music therapy major is difficult…

Let’s be honest, there is a stereotype that music majors don’t have to do any real work, but wow is that wrong. You will have sleepless nights. You may have more classes in a day than you did in high school. It’s a lot of work and takes determination.

…But it is so worth it.

Seeing the progress your clients are making during your practicum session after a long week of school work, and knowing that one day you’ll get to do this all day every day, makes it all worth it. 

If you’re nervous about the coming school year, it’s okay to be nervous. Know that you chose this major for a reason, and you are taking the steps to being a great music therapist every day. 

Here’s my #1 tip: Take everything in and enjoy every moment.

Happy Back to School Month!

Emma Kovachevich

What I’ve Learned About Myself After Moving Halfway Across The Country

I’ll be honest: moving halfway across the country was not easy. As many of you may know from my introduction post, I grew up in Connecticut and went to college right outside of Manhattan. While I was away from home at college, I was still close enough to go home on the weekends.

Moving to Springfield to work here at MTC has turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have ever made, but definitely one of the hardest. I miss my family, friends, and pets back on the East Coast daily, and I know they miss me too.

However, this has been an amazing learning experience for me in so many ways. Here are a few things I’ve learned about myself in my short time out here:

  • I’m a lot more independent than I thought I was! Going places alone used to be a little scary for me, but since I’ve been living on my own in a new place, I’ve found the joy in it. Taking myself out to dinner, seeing a movie by myself, or even going to a museum alone have been weekend activities I enjoy doing with me, myself, and I.
  • The importance of self care. In the past few months, I’ve really learned what self care is and is not for me. It’s made a big difference both with dealing with the emotional toll my work can take on me at times, and the emotional toll being so far away from my support system can take.
  • Although I’m far away from my support system, FaceTime, social media, and phone calls are wonderful things! I talk to my parents on the phone a few nights a week, and sometimes we FaceTime and they hold the phone up to each of the dogs and cats so I can see them. Although it’s not the same as being there, it really does help a lot to be able to so easily connect with my family and friends.

I’m enjoying figuring my new life in Illinois out, and not a second goes by where I regret my decision. I’m super grateful to the team at MTC for being so amazing and making my transition so smooth, as well as the wonderful families I serve at MTC. And not to leave out my incredible parents, who supported me through this journey — you guys are the best!

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you around MTC!