Happy Halloween week, all! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the decorations and the food, but my absolute favorite part of Halloween is dressing up in costumes! When I think about costumes, I remember the costumes I wore when I was involved in theatre. With Halloween coming up I thought it would be a fun time to reflect on how being involved in theatre has impacted me as a musician and future therapist.
My Theatre Background
I don’t have the most extensive background in theatre, but I had many wonderful opportunities to take part in theatre. As far as I can remember I have had an interest in theatre. My first role was as a bell in my elementary school’s Christmas musical. I was involved in my junior high’s musicals, most notably I was a narrator in Aladdin Jr.
When I got to high school I took part in the annual fall plays. During my last two years of high school, my school began doing high school musicals. Through these musicals I had the opportunity to portray Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music and Sandy in Grease. Along with traditional theatre, I took part in speech team in the storytelling and acting categories.
In college I joined the WIU Opera Theatre, where I got to continue performing musical theatre and learn how to perform opera. I was cast in Hansel and Gretel, Le Nozze De Figaro and Venus and Adonis, the latter production was canceled due to COVID-19. Additionally, I performed in 4 opera workshop showcases, where I performed both musical theatre and opera scenes.
Other than the joy I got from dressing up and performing, I learned so much taking part in theatre. Much of what I learned has helped grow my skills as future music therapist.
Going with the Flow
Mistakes can happen a lot in live theatre; its easy to miss a line or forget a cue. In those times it takes some quick thinking and to go with the flow to get the scene back on track. I had a few situations where I had to improv when a line was forgotten. I have had similar experiences in sessions. I’ve had situations where I forgot lyrics to a song, so I improved lyrics until I got the song back on track. Quick thinking is important in other situations during music therapy sessions, especially in fast-paced settings like hospitals. I’m still growing in my quick thinking skills, but I can credit some of the skills I currently have to my time in theatre.
Being involved in theatre, I’ve gotten to portray different types of people. This has given me to the opportunity to walk in other peoples’ shoes so to say. To accurately portray these characters I had to consider their motivations and what issues they are facing. I feel this helped me develop my empathy skills. I use my empathy skills daily when working with clients to help gage how they are feeling and what they need from me as a therapist during music therapy sessions.
When I was involved in theatre, I had my fair share of anxiety and stage fright. However, taking part in theatre helped me develop confidence in myself as a musician and a performer. Additionally, I learned how to efficiently and confidently multi-task. Confidence is important when conducting music therapy sessions. Confidence is one thing that I have currently lacking in since starting internship. I’ve been reflecting on when I have confidence to help myself figure out how to find my confidence again.
Thank you for reading! I hope you have a great Halloween full of fun costumes and yummy sweets!