Intern’s Corner – Week Twenty-Three

Hello everyone!

I hope you have all had a wonderful week full of opportunities and excitement! This week, I have been working on putting together a list of apps that are beneficial for music therapy. Finding ways to incorporate technology into sessions can provide further opportunities for success for our clients. This week, I would like to share a few apps I have found that have be beneficial for my clients and a few that I plan to start using!

Guitar Tabs

Guitar Tab is where I store the majority of my music. With the free version, I am able to save songs to my library, create client playlists, simply or transpose songs, and use auto scroll while playing! Additionally, there is an option to listen to a recording of the song while viewing the tabs. I use this app multiple times each day.


This is a user-friendly music recording app. With this, I am able to plug in a microphone (I use the yeti snowball), a keyboard, or any other electric instruments and record multiple tracks. GarageBand can be used to record your own music, music created for clients, or even client created music!


Much like GarageBand, iMove is a user-friendly program that allows you to edits videos that you can later upload to various platforms. This program comes with backgrounds, transitions, titles, and more! A benefit of this program is that you can include images in your videos to give further support to those watching the video.

IncrediBox and SoundForest

Both of these apps are musical games in which clients can create their own music while working on a variety of skills. With a few of my clients, I am able to work on identifying colors and shapes, counting, following directions, and decision making. These apps also provide an opportunity for creative expression.

Sono Flex Lite, Visuals2Go, or Card Talk

Some clients I see are non-verbal and use other forms of communication. These three apps are free that I can download and use to better understand the communication devices my clients may use. While most students who use AAC’s will have their own devices, these apps can give us as therapist more insight for if/when families ask us information about AAC’s.


Dropbox has been a lifesaver since the start of my internship. I am able to store and share resources including sheet music, song recordings, and facilitation guides. With the free version, I am able to store up to 2GB of storage. So far, this has been enough space for my needs.

I hope this list was insightful in the use of apps and technology in a music therapy setting! Thanks for reading!

Stay safe and healthy this week!

Cicely McCain

Intern’s Corner – Week Twenty-Two

Hello everyone!

This week, we have had beautiful weather here in Springfield, Illinois! I hope you have had the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. During my supervision this week, the team and I brought bean bags and sat outside in the parking lot! This was certainly an enjoyable experience.

Instrument Care

A few weeks ago, I helped my supervisor change the strings on the guitars in the office. Prior to this, I had only changed guitar strings once. We grabbed the guitars, the new strings, the tools, and pulled up a YouTube video to follow. After successfully changing the strings, the quality of sound improved significantly. For many of our other instruments, we clean them after each use. For instruments that we use less often, we store them in a safe place to keep them organized and protected.

Creating Materials

For many of my sessions, I used visuals for a variety of uses including to provide a sense of structure, provide opportunities for communication, and to include an additional form of sensory input. During my undergraduate practicum, I colored all my visuals. Thankfully, I now have access to a color-printer, cutting the time it takes to create visuals down significantly. The best part about making visuals is the lamination process. This is especially beneficial as it allows my visuals to last much long.


As a music therapist, I have quite a bit of paperwork I am required to fill out each day. After each session, I document how my clients did with their specific goals/objectives as well as write down important details that occurred. This documentation process can look different in different settings. In addition to this daily paperwork, I write up a Progress Report on each client for the treatment period. The paperwork of this profession can be the most challenging aspect for many music therapists.


A big part of music therapy is using what you have and using your materials creatively. When working as a contracting music therapist, you may need to request materials from the company. In order to do this, you need to establish a budget and find the most efficient way to use these funds. This is a skill that is extremely beneficial, whether you are in private practice, contracted, a full-time employee, or any other setting you may be in.

Practice, Practice, Practice

One of the biggest aspects of music therapy is knowing a wide range of music. As a music therapist, I may not know if my client enjoys Dolly Parton, Kanye West, or ACDC. Because of this, it is important to know as much music as possible. I am constantly learning new music each week. A music therapist can never know too much music!

There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in the music therapy career. Throughout my internship, I have had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of some of the skills required to be a successful music therapist beyond planning and implementing a session. During my last few weeks of internship, I hope to continue building these “behind the scene” skills needed to be successful.

Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week!

Cicely McCain

Week Twenty-One – Intern’s Corner

Hello everyone!

I hope you have been enjoying this beautiful weather we have had lately!

In some of my past blog posts, I have discussed some of my weekly assignments. My most recent assignment was finding instruments and materials to expand our music therapy stock at the hospital. This was quite the challenge as I needed to find products that are COVID friendly and easily cleaned.

With COVID, we are unable to use any of our wooden instruments or instruments with fabric as these materials are not easily cleaned between patients. This restriction makes it difficult to find instruments that do not appear “childish”. For this project, I needed to find products that were appropriate in the hospital setting with a variety of patient ages and diagnosis. In order to best go about this, I came up with four categories that the instruments should fit.

Replacement Instruments

Many of our instruments have received a lot of attention from many of our patients. Overtime, these instruments have begun to crack, break, or become unusable. Some of the instruments I chose to request included a new ocean drum, new castanets, and a new frame drum. These instruments are used often and could use a replacement.

Instruments Educational Instruments

With many of our younger patients, we work on academic skills such as color identification, counting, object identification, and more. To further work on some of these skills, I chose to include additional fruit shakers to continue building our collection. I also found egg shakers that show various emotions to work on emotional recognition. For after COVID, I found wooden animal shakers that could be beneficial for future uses.

Instruments for Older Patients

Many of our instruments and supplies are aimed for younger patients. I wanted to find ways to build our collection for our older patients. This was challenging as many “older looking” instruments are made of wood and other materials that are not easily cleaned. I was able to find a table steel-pan drum and a set of wah-wah tubes. Both instruments are made of metal and would be more appealing to some of our older patients.

Take Home Instruments

The last thing I looked for were instruments that would be small and cost-friendly that we could buy to give to some of our patients to take home. Many of our younger patients are especially drawn to our canary and quack sticks. These instruments are relatively cheap and provide joy and entertainment for our patients.

Finding instruments and materials that are both beneficial and feasible for a hospital setting can certainly be a challenge. COVID limits the types of materials used and makes it challenging to find instruments for older patients. However, an important aspect of music therapy is the ability to adapt, and adapt we shall!

Thanks for reading and stay safe and healthy!

Cicely McCain

Intern’s Corner – Week Twenty

Hey everyone!

I hope you have had a wonderful week full of opportunities and excitement while enjoying the warmer weather.

Throughout this week, I have been focused on gaining a better understanding of who I am as a therapist and what my role with my clients is. As a music therapist, I can use music to connect with my client wherever they are and help them reach their full potential.

Connection within Music

One aspect that drew me to music is the connection is leads to. The connection to the music, to your instrument, to your feelings and emotions that the music invokes. When creating music with others, you create one sound, one thought, and create something beautiful.

For me, music is a way to further connect with my family. Throughout the years, I have been able to create music with my grandparents and my sister. We formed a little band with my grandma on piano, my sister on flute, and my grandpa and I on trumpet.

During these moments, I am reminded just how beautiful the gift of music is. Not everyone has the ability to connect with others through music making. Being a music therapist allows me an opportunity to give others the ability to connect through music, no matter their musical background.

Connection within Therapy

When I think about therapy, the first thing that comes to mind is connection. In therapy, a relationship is formed between the therapist and the client(s). As time goes one, this connection grows deep and trust is formed.

It is important to provide a safe space in order for this bond to form. Without trust between the therapist and the client(s), the client(s) cannot maximize their potential during the sessions.

Connection within Music Therapy

Connection is an integral part to both music and therapy. When working with my clients, I can use music to help form that initial connection. Once this connections is formed, it can continue to grow and deepen as we move through the therapeutic process.

Music is a tool that can be used with a multitude of populations including those with Autism, those with dementia, those with mental health concerns, and so many more. Although not everyone has a musical background, music therapist can use music to empower clients and help them reach their full potential.

As I further grow in my professional career, my understanding my role and my therapeutic process will continue to evolve. I look forward to deepening this understanding of myself.

Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week!


Cicely McCain

Intern’s Corner – Week Eighteen

Hello everyone!

I hope you are doing well! This week, I have been asked how my internship is going, where I work, and how many clients I see per day. I thought I would share with you a glimpse into the life of an intern, or rather my experience as an intern.

Since the start of my internship, I have had many changes to my schedule. Many of these changes have been due to the ongoing pandemic. Some sessions have gone between in-person and virtual depending on what the family or school decides is best. While there have been many changes, I have had a fairly regular schedule now.


I start my mornings at SASED. Here, I lead a mix of individual and group sessions with a number of students. After lunch, I have a meeting with my supervisor, Rachel, in which I have the opportunity to learn more about the business side of music therapy. In the afternoon, I teach a piano/guitar lesson followed by my own vocal lesson to improve my non-classical singing styles.


On Tuesday’s, I have begun working at HTDA where I lead two group sessions. These students are the newest addition to my case load. In the afternoon, I lead a virtual session followed immediately by my supervision. During supervision, I start with a rep check to continue building my skills. I then have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from my supervisors about my progress. The last thing I have is an in-person session!


In the morning, I virtually attend a meeting with the teachers and staff at Hope. I then record and edit a music therapy video for the students at Hope as we are not able to see these students in person yet. These videos are sent to the staff the following Monday to be played during their school day. In the afternoon, I have two virtual individual sessions and a virtual guitar lesson. Teaching guitar via zoom is quite the challenge!


On Thursdays, I spend my morning on the pediatric floor at St. John’s Hospital! I never know what to expect when I enter the building but I look forward to each opportunity. I then return to MTC leading a virtual individual session before lunch. After eating, I prepare and lead two back-to-back in-person sessions that are followed by a piano/voice lesson.


I also spend my mornings at the hospital on Friday’s! Every day at the hospital is a unique experience. No two days here are the same. In the afternoon, I lead another virtual individual session. I then have about two hours to plan, work on assignments, and catch up on work before leading an in-person individual session.

On average, I am able to see between 10 to 20 clients depending on the day. The days I see the most are the days I am at the hospital. It has certainly been a big adjustment going from one session a week in undergrad to multiple sessions a day. I have experienced and learned so much working with these clients and students.

Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy!

Cicely McCain