Hello, readers. My name is Lillian Schierbrock, and I am the new intern at Music Therapy Connections!

A Little Bit About Me

I was born and raised in the small town of West Point, IA. I have four older siblings and seven nieces and nephews. Additionally, I have a Tuxedo cat named Wonderful. When I’m not making music, I enjoy crocheting, sewing, watching Hallmark Movies and driving around listening to Taylor Swift songs. 

I recently finished the course work for my bachelors degree in Music Therapy at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. During my time at WIU I participated in the Classical Guitar Ensemble, University Singers and the WIU Opera Theatre. I was also a member of the WIU Music Therapy Association, formerly serving as President, and I am currently serving as the Parliamentarian for the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association for Students.

My primary instrument was voice and I also play the guitar, ukulele, piano and clarinet. Along with that, I love to collect and to learn a variety instruments. I was also a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity. 

During my first week of internship, one of my assignments was to read the AMTA Code of Ethics. The AMTA Code of Ethics is an important resource that serves as a guideline for music therapists on ethical decision making and professional conduct. I‘m glad I took the time to read through the Code of Ethics, as it gave me a lot of food for thought. While reading it, some parts of it stuck out to me as subjects I want to hold onto and work on during my internship.

Have Compassion for Not Only Your Clients, But Yourself As Well

As music therapy is a caring professional, music therapists tend to be caring and compassionate people, especially toward our clients. However, we don’t always extend to ourselves that same compassion. Principle #2: Act with Compassion states: “It is important for music therapists to extend compassion to themselves when confronted with their own human limitations.”

Additionally, Principle #2, Part 2.7 further backs this up “practice self-kindness and mindfulness and extend compassion to self if faced with feelings of inadequacy or failure.” Practicing self kindness and compassion is something that I have struggled with myself. Many times I find that I lack compassion toward myself when I make small mistakes or don’t do something perfectly. During the next six months, I will be working on giving the same compassion that I give to my clients to myself, as well.

Striving for Excellence Does Not Mean Perfection

The first paragraph of Principle #5: Strive for Excellence states “Striving for excellence does not imply perfection, but the ongoing commitment to expand our knowledge and skills in all areas.” This sentence really struck me; as musicians it can be easy to become perfectionists, I know it has made me a bit of one. However, this pursuit of perfection can lead to a lot of anxiety and a lack of self compassion.

I have found myself falling into this trap many times of focusing all my energy into playing a piece perfectly and when I make even the smallest mistakes, I will internally antagonize myself about it. I love this idea of focusing on growth over perfection, and will be working on making that my mind set instead. In the famous words of Hannah Montana: “Nobody’s perfect, I gotta work it, again and again till I get it right.”

All of this is easier said than done. In my first week I have already found myself falling into these traps, but I’m going to keep working at it. My goal for myself this next 6 months is to focus on self compassion and growth over self criticism and perfectionism.

I’m so excited to bring you along on this journey! Have a great week!