Hello everyone! I hope you are having a good week.
This past week has been a bit of a challenge. Many of the things I am doing have been taken to the next level. For example, in rep check, I have been attempting to facilitate an intervention. I chose to do a song discussion but I have been struggling with this particular intervention.
In undergrad, we learned how to do song discussions in our Clinical Skills. During that assignment, we mainly did the same thing just used different songs and different questions. In class, I felt confident about my ability to plan and implement a song discussion. During my senior year practicum, I facilitated a song discussion with my practicum group. I did the same model that I had learned in class and it worked but was not anything overly memorable.
When attempting to do song discussions in my supervision, I have really been challenged to make it more interesting than “listen to the song and talk about it”. This has proved to be quite the challenge for me. After my second attempt, my supervisor discussed with me some reasons that I may be struggling with this assignment.
During this conversation, she explained the difference between a student mindset and a professional one. As a student, I mainly took information that I learned and just repeated it. I got really good at taking information I was given and adding just enough changes to make it seem different, even though it was just the same thing.
As a professional, you have to be able to take the information you know and create something new. Being creative is such an important part of this profession. When given a goal/objective, you need to be able to create ways to work on said goal/objective but make sure that it will engaged the client.
Internship is a weird in-between stage where you aren’t yet a true professional but you are more than just a student. You have the responsibilities of a professional without the credentials. One thing that I am working on is changing my mentality from “student” to “professional”
One way that I am working on this is by reminding myself that I am seen as a professional. I have students and clients that see me as their therapist or teacher. I am providing professional care and services to them. In order to do this, I must see myself as a professional.
Another way I am working on this is reminding myself that I am a professional. Although I don’t quite feel like one, I will (hopefully) be a credentialed professional in the next few months. I am already halfway through my internship which means I am almost at the finish line.
While this mindset will not change overnight, it will change in time but only if I work to change it. By simply telling myself that I am a professional and I am seen as a professional, I will eventually begin to believe it.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week!
In my first blog post, I shared three goals I had made for myself during internship. I am almost to the halfway point of my internship already! Since its the time we all make new goals for ourselves, I thought I would share the progress I have made on my goals so far.
1. I will not let my anxieties and nerves get in the way of my growth.
I am proud of my progress on this particular goal. Although I still get anxious and nervous, I have not let it hinder my growth. One area this really affects me is rep checks. I get extremely anxious before each week but I have pushed through and seen growth each week, even the weeks that don’t go as planned. While this is still a struggle for me, I have pushed through it each time!
2. I will fully prepare for each day as best I can physically, mentally, and emotionally.
This goal has been challenging. I am still bad at drinking enough throughout the day and eating breakfast. However, I have been getting better sleep and eating more regularly than before. Each day, I try to pay attention to how I am feelings mentally and emotionally and make sure to take action to keep those areas as healthy as I can. Even though there are some challenging weeks, I feel like I am able to really give my all to my clients.
3. I will force myself to step outside of my comfort zone in all situations that arise.
I have made a lot of progress on this goal. I have written over ten songs so far! This was something that I was and still get nervous about. Recording these songs is even more challenging but I am proud of how well I have done with that. For some of my clients, I have begun doing a lot of improvisation throughout the sessions. While this is still an area of struggle for me, I have improved greatly from my first week.
For 2021, I am keeping these same three goals for myself. They push me to better myself in a variety of aspects. I am proud of the progress I have made so far and I can’t wait to see how much more I’ll make in the next few months!
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays. The holidays can be both an exciting and stressful time. Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love being able to take time and spend it with those I care about most. This year’s celebrations certainly looked different than years past.
2020 has been a crazy year for everyone. There have been many changes that have made everyday life more stressful or overwhelming. Virtual get-togethers have become more and more common. Telehealth has slowly become a new norm.
For me, this year has had some big changes for me personally. I would have been able to walk in my college graduation but my last semester on campus was cut short. A few months later, I stated my internship in the midst of a pandemic. This has made my internship look very different from what I had expected. There are more gloves, masks, and Clorox wipes than I had planned on.
Internship has been an amazing experience so far and I have learned a lot. One of my favorite things about my internship is that I have one hour of self care blocked out in my schedule. Self care is such an important part of your health.
Some ways that I like to do self care is I like to just sit and watch TV while specifically NOT doing work. I tend to have something on in the back ground while doing other projects because I feel guilty that I could be spending time working so I try to combine them. However, I have been making a point to set aside time for me to just sit down and really enjoy watching TV (usually Star Trek).
Another way I like to treat myself is doing crafts. I like to make cards using watercolor or pens, paint canvases, and recently, hand embroidering. It is so satisfying to watch my creations come to be. I tend to combine these activities with my favorite TV show.
The last way I like to do self care is playing board games or card games. I usually play with my siblings as they also enjoy games. Sometimes it can be nice to just take a break from the world and have fun with those around you. Some of our favorites to play are Yahtzee, Phase Ten (the dice version), and Pandemic.
During my supervision this week, I was talking with my supervisors about how some days are more draining than others, especially at the hospital. I wasn’t sure how to help keep myself going throughout the day. They told me that self care can be small things throughout the day that can help give you a brief mental break.
This “short-term” self care can be as simple as taking a break to get a drink of water or a snake, sitting in your car after a meeting, or just sitting and mindlessly scrolling for a few minutes. Taking these short breaks throughout the day can help you keep going, even on the hardest days.
One of my goals for these next few weeks is to make sure that I do self care throughout the day and make sure I take care of myself. You can’t fill up someone else’s glass if yours is empty. I encourage you all to take time in your day to make sure your needs are being met.
Like I discussed last week, I have been writing and recording a number of songs for one of our schools. When I first began recording, I told you all about some of my frustrations about writing but I said that I would tell you all some of my tips as I got better. That is what I want to share with you all today!
Have a plan
While your song may have the lyrics and chords written, that isn’t everything that goes into a recording. Before you start, thing about what sound you have in mind. What type of instrumentation do you want? Do you want heavy drums driving the beat or a simple shaker to help keep time? Do you want piano, guitar, or both? Having a plan before you start will help save time and make the whole process much smoother.
Figure out the audio recording
When I started recording, I had a lot of issues with the audio recording. The mic I was using was not connecting to my iPad which meant my “mic” was actually just my iPad. This cause a lot of static to be in my sound. I ended up using my apple headphone mic to record. While it isn’t the best option, it did the job. I spent a lot of time working on the different settings for my mic to make sure I had a quality sound, such as the noise gate and the input levels. (Adding some reverb makes the vocals sound a lotbetter.)
Use a “drummer”
For me, I struggle playing with just a metronome. I spent so many takes trying to just use the metronome before I figured out how to use the “drummers” that are available. Even if I didn’t keep the drum track in my final recording, I found it much easier to keep a steady tempo with a drum beat. This saved me hours of time with just this simple fix. What took 6-8 takes before now only take 1-3.
Google is a friend
When you are trying something new, use google to help you figure it out! I am still a beginner at recording so I learned a lot from watching tutorials online. There are YouTube video’s out there for almost anything it seems now a days so why not take advantage? By using google, I was able to learn so much more in a short amount of time.
Have fun and try new things!
With each week of recording, I became more and more familiar with the basics. As a result, I began trying new things. For my song “Winter”, I used the “split” feature to make the instrumentation drop out for a measure during some parts to really bring out the vocals! I also learned how to use the fade out effect at the end of a song. As I became more comfortable, I experimented with the different buttons and learned how to add some spice to my recordings!
My most important piece of advice is that it gets easier. While I may not consider myself a “pro-recorder”, I am no where near as frustrated with recording as I was during those first few weeks. In time, I hope to become more efficient with my recording and hope to continue building my own library of my own songs!
I am already in my third month of internship! Each week, I have various assignments to complete. Over the past two months, I have been writing and recording songs for one of the schools I am working with. While I have not been able to meet them in person yet, I have been helping to create music therapy materials to send to them during this time of remote learning. These songs will serve as the materials for their third quarter.
When I first started these assignments, song writing was intimidating. I had very little experience writing and I wasn’t sure where to even start. At this point in my journey, I have written about ten songs! As I have finished writing my last song for this set of assignments, I thought I’d share with you all some of my songwriting tips!
Prepare your space
It is important to prepare before writing. When I get ready to write, I make sure to have my computer with my song template and rhyme song pulled up. Next I have my phone ready with my voice recording app to record as I write so that I can keep track of the vocal melodies that I think of. It is also best to have an instrument close by, such as a piano or a guitar. For me personally, I like to write using pen and paper so I have that in my set up as well.
Ask yourself: “what is the purpose of this song?”
Before I begin writing, I ask myself what this song will be used for and what is most important to include. I like to write down the main points of what I want in my song. For example, one of my songs was about the season winter. I knew I wanted a verse about the changes in weather, clothing we wear, and activities we might do. This gave me an outline to follow and made it much easier to stay focused on the goal.
Simple is okay!
When I first started writing, I mainly stuck to a I-IV-V chord progression. I didn’t really start adding additional chords until my last few songs. At first I felt as though my songs weren’t very good because they were so simple. However, simple can be good! Especially when you are first starting. Not every song has to be Grammy-worthy as long as it does the job you want it to do!
Just go for it!
The first few times I started writing, I would sit there staring at a blank page trying to think of the perfect melody or the perfect lyrics. I was scared to write something “bad”. As the weeks went on, I found it was easier just to start writing things down and trying it out! Just because I write it down doesn’t mean I can’t change it, but I can’t change it if I don’t write anything down.
While I still wouldn’t call myself a “professional songwriter” yet, I am proud of the growth I have made in this skill so far! I know that this is a skill I will use throughout my time as a music therapist and I am glad to be improving it so early on my journey.