Comparing my internship experience to the internships of other music therapy interns, I have learned that no two music therapy internships are the same. Many music therapy internships focus their time in one population, such as some are strictly in hospice or in schools. Since Music Therapy Connections is a private practice, I have the opportunity to get experience in many different populations in the Springfield community. Weekly, I see a spectrum of clients in different populations, including: pediatric medical, special education, memory care, and early childhood.
This makes me think of one my music therapy classes in college. There we had a discussion about music therapists being a “jack of all trades” of sorts. This last week, I have been thinking about how much music therapists in private practice settings are “jack of all trades” because of how many settings they are in weekly. I thoroughly enjoy getting the opportunity to learn in all of these different settings. There are many advantages I have found getting to be an intern in a private practice setting.
Learning Under Multiple Professionals
I get to work directly under three different music therapists at MTC: Katey, Molly and Emma. Each of these music therapist has different techniques and skill sets that I get to observe and learn from. I have the opportunity to work with other staff at MTC. I mainly sang classically in college; I have the opportunity to work with one the voice instructors here to grow my contemporary singing voice. Additionally, I have weekly meetings with Rachel to discuss the business and technical sides of being a music therapist. It is amazing getting to know and to learn from all of these professionals.
Growing My Music Skills
With seeing so many different types of clients a week, I have needed to learn more repertoire! I learn many songs a week for the different populations I am in. The songs I am learning for my clients can range from children’s songs to classic rock songs. In some of the settings I’m in I need to sight-read music during sessions. This helps grow my repertoire and my musical skills. The MTC team has taught me different musical techniques that I did not learn during my time in college.
Seeing the Crossover in Populations
While there are differences in the populations that music therapists can work in, I’m starting to see crossovers between these populations. In some setting I am able to use use some of the same repertoire. Additionally, I use some of the same techniques between different clients. I am finding that working at St. John’s Children’s Hospital is the setting that I am seeing the most intersection of many of the different skills I am learning. At St. John’s I see many patients of varying ages, diagnosis, interests and needs. I’ve used my teaching skills I’ve learned working with students at MTC to teach a patient about the guitar. I have also made use of a range of songs with patients from Folsom Prison Blues to Stitches to You Are My Sunshine.
Along with the advantages of getting to see so many different clients, there are also some challenges. Sometimes with so much information and input given daily by my supervisors, it can feel like information overload. Additionally, I’ve found it to be difficult at times to switch from one mind set to another from setting to setting.
Overall, each music therapy internship has its own advantages and challenges. I am very thankful for how much my internship at Music Therapy Connections is teaching and pushing me.