Intern’s Corner – Week 22

Due to Valentine’s Day, love is a hot topic during the month of February. I figured for my blog post this week I would share something that I love, songbooks! With the internet, songbooks are not as necessary as they formally were. However, I find songbooks to be incredibly great resources for discovering and learning songs. Following are some of my favorite song books that I love to make use of during my music therapy work.

The Daily Ukulele

The Daily Ukulele is wonderful. This book has an amazing range of genres, ranging from jazz, musical theater, rock and roll, and country. The songs in this book can be used with children through older adults. It is one of the first books that I reference when looking for songs and is one of my favorite songbooks.

The Big Book of Nostalgia

The Big Book of Nostalgia is another book I like to reference when I am looking for songs. This book is full of classic songs from the early to mid 1900s. It also gives a short explanation of all of the songs, along with a chart of when the song charted in the United States. I have found this book greatly supports my work with older adults

The New Decade Series

I currently own three of the books in this series; Hits of the 1940s, Hits of the 1950s, and Hits of the 1960s. This series of books runs from the 1920s-2010s. I have found that they are a great resource to find what the top songs of each decade were for the past 100 years. Additionally, these books come with a code to access recordings and accompaniment tracks for each of each song. I have used these books in my work with older adults and with the clients I work with at SPARC.

The Guitar Songbook for Music Therapy

This was the first songbook I bought as a music therapy major my freshman year of college. It is not a very big book, but it is a wonderful resource for folk songs, spirituals, and children’s songs that are often used in music therapy work. Additionally, the book gives ideas on how to implement many of these songs into your music therapy sessions.

The Tune Book

The Tune Book is the most peculiar of all of the songbooks I own, but is also one of my favorites. I found this book during a music library sale my freshman year of college. The book appears to be from the 80’s or 90’s. It has the strangest set up of any music book I have ever seen, with the publishers cramming as many songs as they could on each page. It’s song range is very allectic as well, ranging from folk songs to hymns to country to reggae to classic standards. I have no idea what audience this songbook was intended for, but it has become one of my favorites and greatest resources as a music therapist in training.

That is only the tip of the iceberg of my songbook collection. These books have been such a great resource to me as a music therapist in training! What are some of your favorite song books?


Intern’s Corner – Week 21

My car stuck in the snow on Thursday morning.

Hello all! We had a lot of snow this last week in Springfield. I hope you are staying warm wherever you are at!

Snow days are something I thought would not experience anymore after finishing school. However, with the snowstorm that hit Springfield, I had two snow days. As a child, I loved snow days; it was so much fun to have a day to play in the snow and watch movies. Even in college, snow days were a wonderful opportunity to practice selfcare and to get ahead on assignments.

However, I found that I don’t quite enjoy these snow days as much as I did in the past. The past few weeks have been full of cancellations due to COVID-19. I was looking forward to a “normal” week again, something I haven’t had since the December holidays. To quote my supervisor Emma, “No week is normal when working in private practice”. I attempted to make the best out of my two days off. In this bog post I will be taking you through what snow days looked like as a music therapy intern.

Pre-Storm: Tuesday

Throughout our day at the Hope School, Emma and I heard whispers of the upcoming storm and the possibility of a school cancelation. By the time we left Hope that day, it was confirmed that classes were canceled the following day. When I got to MTC, my supervisors encouraged me to take home anything I would need from MTC and I was advised not to go out the next day. I ended that day grabbing a few extra supplies from Aldi’s before returning to my apartment, where I would spend the next few days.

Snow Day #1: Wednesday

Typically I go with my supervisor, Molly, to SPARC on Wednesday mornings. Due to the storm, SPARC was closed for the day. I spent my morning working on songs for my sessions at SPARC, Concordia, and MTC. I then finished out my morning zooming with my supervisor, Emma, which we discussed how to lead virtual voice lessons. That afternoon, I helped lead a virtual voice lesson and led two virtual piano lesson. I also gave myself some selfcare breaks throughout the day that consisted of watching Grey’s Anatomy and cuddling with my cat.

Snow Day #2: Thursday

I typically start my Thursdays at St. John’s Children’s Hospital with my supervisor, Katey. After assessing the road conditions and realizing my car was stuck in a snow drift (see picture above), I came to the sad concussion that I was stuck another day. I spent my morning similarly to the day before, lots of practicing for upcoming sessions. I attended my weekly supervision and repertoire check via Zoom. I then spent the afternoon working on more songs, taking self-care time, and plotting how to dig my car out of its snowy prison.

Friday: Freedom!

I was determined to see my clients at St. John’s and Concordia. I figured out how to use a plastic trash can to scoop the snow away from my car. After about a half an hour of digging, my car was free, I was able to go to my sessions that day, and even grabbed a Starbucks coffee during my scheduled self care time.

Overall, while I didn’t enjoy being cooped up in my apartment, I did learn a few things from my two snow days.

  • Flexibility
  • Adaptability
  • How much I love working with my clients and patients

Hope you are staying warm and safe!


Intern’s Corner – Week 20

My team members and I leading a virtual music activity at the WIU Adapted Motor Clinic, spring 2021.

Interdisciplinary work has been something that has interested me since I started college. During my time at WIU, I took part in the WIU Adapted Motor Clinic. This was a multidisciplinary project that provided physical education services to local students with special needs. During my time working in the Adapted Motor Clinic, I had the opportunity to collaborate and co-treat with students studying to be educators, speech language pathologists, and recreation therapists.

I believe there is much value in collaborating with related professions. Because of this, I was very excited to see that one of my internship assignments was to observe three professionals working in related professions. In the past 20 weeks of my internship, I’ve had the opportunity to observe a physical therapist, an art therapist, and an educator in a pediatric medical setting.

Physical Therapy

The first professional I observed was a physical therapist at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. I observed the physical therapist work with a patient who was post-surgery and also had developmental delays. It was interesting to watch the exercises the physical therapist did with the patient. Additionally, it was great to observe how the physical therapist interacted with the patient. Even though the patient had limited communication, the physical therapist was very good at asking questions that the patient could answer and still was very conversational with the patient.

This opened my eyes on how music therapy could support a physical therapist’s work with a patient. To encourage motor movement instrument play could used. An example of this would be using a drum to encourage the patient to reach and extend their arm. Additionally, the movements of the exercise could be written into a song or choreographed to the patient’s preferred music.

Art Therapy

The second professional I observed was an art therapist at the Hope Learning Academy. I was extremely excited to observe art therapy sessions. I’ve heard and read a lot about art therapy, but have not had the chance to meet an art therapist or observe art therapy sessions. I observed the art therapist lead one individual session and two group sessions with students at the Hope Learning Academy. I was surprised to see that the art therapist was covering a similar topic that my supervisor and I have been covering during our group music therapy sessions at Hope.

This inspired me to think about how a music therapist could continue to collaborate with an art therapist at the in an educational setting. There could be possibilities of collaboration during individual sessions with music and art interventions. Additionally, we could purposely align some of the topics in our respective sessions.

Education Services

The final professional I observed was an educator with the education services at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. I was familiar with the educator at St. John’s as she is another member of the St. John’s Children’s Hospital Creative Art Therapies Team. My supervisor and I cross paths with her often and I have seen her work from a far, so I was excited to directly observe her work. During patient interactions, the educator would ask patients about what they were doing in school and if they had any school work they needed help with while hospitalized. Additionally, the educator gave out developmentally appropriate books, activities, and toys to patients of all ages. 

With educational services, music therapy can support their work by reviewing academic skills during our sessions. Additionally, music therapists can make patients aware of tutoring service and make patient referrals to the educator.

Overall, I am glad I had the opportunity to observe these related professions. It gave me much food for thought on how we can support and work with these related services to best serve our clients, students, and patients. I look forward to possible collaborations with related professional in the future.


Intern’s Corner – Week 19

Throughout my internship, I have been tasked with writing and recording songs for my assignments. Prior to internship, I wrote a few songs, but they were mainly songs I kept to myself or simple hello/goodbye songs I used in sessions. I was not confident in my songwriting skills, so I hardly ever shared the songs I wrote out of fear that people would dislike them.

My internship at MTC has helped me grow as a songwriter, particularly writing songs for clinical use. Most of the songs I have written, I am now using at the Hope School during our sessions there. Along with writing songs, I was also tasked with recording them on Garageband. Prior to this I had used Garageband on a few occasions, but never to create full songs. This gave me the opportunity to learn how to create percussion tracks, layer instruments, and use a midi keyboard.

For this week’s blog post, I will be discussing the things I have learned from my experience writing songs for my assignments.


This is a lesson I learned the hard way. I would get ideas for songs, but would wait on writing them down until I had time to write the song. However, by the time I got to writing the song, I would forget the ideas I had. I have started documenting song ideas, whether it be lyrics or melody. I have typed lyrics in the notes app on my phone or I have written them on the margin of pieces of paper. Additionally, when I think of melodies, I will record myself humming or sing it on the voice recorder app on my phone. I work similarly during the process of songwriting. When writing, I find that I need to continually record myself to remember the exact melodies I created.

Take Advantage of the Moments of Inspiration 

I’ve discovered that inspiration can strike anywhere. If I am in time and space where I am able, I take advantage of that moment. I find my best work happens when I am feeling inspired to write. It’s more difficult to write a song when you’re not feeling into it. Some of my favorite songs I have written came out of following moments of inspiration. I have had times where I have even gotten out of bed and began working on songs because that’s when inspiration hit. Is the Best

When turning my ideas into a song, the website was so helpful. I was able to insert the words I was trying to rhyme into the website. The website generates multiple words and phrases that rhyme with the word. In addition, this gives me words that I might not typically use in my daily life. This can add more interest and word diversity to the songs.

It is Okay to Write a Bad Song

This was something one of my supervisors told me when I was working on my first songwriting assignment. I was very nervous about creating this song, I was especially worried that my supervisors would dislike it. I have learned during my internship that it is ok to make little mistakes and try new things, because that is how you learn what to do differently next time. When I worked hard on a song and it didn’t turn out to be my best song, I learned what I try differently in the next song.

Experiment and Have Fun

As I stated, this was my first time creating full songs on Garageband. The first few songs I wrote, my supervisors noted that I did not sound excited in the recordings of them. I was so focused on making the songs “perfect” that I wasn’t finding the fun in the songs I wrote. As I wrote more songs, I explored more sounds and instruments on Garageband. I began to find the joy in creating these songs and had some pride in the outcomes. This made my recording become more “fun” sounding and I found more joy when using the songs with clients.

Overall, I have a new love for songwriting. It is so enjoyable getting to use the songs I wrote with clients to achieve their goals. Additionally, it’s exciting to see my supervisors make use of my songs. I look forward using these lessons I have learned when writing songs in the future and when songwriting with clients. 


Intern’s Corner – Week 18

Hello all! I hope your week has been going well! It has been a chilly and snowy week here in Springfield. When it is cold out, one of my favorite activities is curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book. My assignment this week was to read and review a book that supports my growth as an individual and a music therapist in training. The book I was given to review was: You Are A Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. This book got me thinking about many of my self-sabotaging behaviors and what I can do to combat them. For my blog post this week, I will sharing my biggest take aways from reading this book.

Be Aware of Your Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

I identified many of my own self-sabotaging behaviors while reading. I have always been an extremely self-conscious person. In addition, I have struggled with anxiety issues for a long time. It has never been debilitating, but it adds a lot of stress and makes going through life difficult at times. I had found ways to cope, but they would never last long term. Starting internship I found that my anxiety and self-consciousness grew exponentially. I attempted to deal, but I was finding that living with this extreme anxiety was hindering my growth as a person and a music therapist.

Live Your Life Without Worry and Fear

I often find myself worrying and fearing what others are thinking of me and if I am good enough. These worries and fears have held me back from pursuing many things I have wanted to do in the past. However, I have found the times that I have gone for it not thinking about what others think, I have had some wonderful experiences and I have learned a lot about myself.

On the other side of your fear is your freedom.”

-Jen Sincero

An example of this was when I decided to audition for the opera in college. I didn’t originally get cast the opera, but I was let into the opera workshop class. During this class, I met some of best friends and ended up being offered a part as a cover and ensemble member in the opera. I wouldn’t have had these wonderful opportunities and friends if I had listened to my inner critic and didn’t audition for the opera. These worrying thoughts and fears have begun to resurface as I begin looking at music therapy jobs. I question if I am good enough to apply for these jobs and if others think I am good enough. However, reading this book has inspired me to take a chance on these jobs and myself without worry and fear.

Practice Self Forgiveness

Chapter 15 is entitled: “Forgive or Let Fester”. This chapters focuses on why it is important for us to forgive ourselves and others. Extending forgiveness to myself is something that I often find to be difficult. In this chapter, Sincero states that when you do not extend forgiveness you lug around “guilt, shame, resentment, and self loathing”. Carrying around all of these negative feelings feed these self sabotaging behaviors. One of my favorite quotes for the book is:

“The moment you decide to forgive and let your negative feelings melt away, you are on the the road to freedom.”

-Jen Sincero

I want to feel this freedom and I know that not forgiving myself is holding me back as a person and a future music therapist. Self forgiveness is something I will be working on through the rest of my internship and into my career.

Love Yourself

Sincero ends almost every chapter with the words “Love Yourself”. Self love is another thing that comes hard to me. I tend to see the worst in myself and not the good. If there is anything that Sincero wants you to take from this book, it’s that the key to defeating self-sabotaging behaviors is to love yourself. To learn how to love yourself, Sincero suggests to practice affirmations, take part in things you love, and to forgive. I want to find this self love, I am using Sincero’s suggestions to work on this.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels like they need help working through self-sabotaging behaviors in both their personal and professional lives. I will end this blog post with my favorite quote from the book:

“We only get to be in our bodies for a limited time, why not celebrate the journey instead of merely riding it out until it’s over?” 

-Jen Sincero


Intern’s Corner – Week 17

Leading the “YMCA” in the video for our SPARC client

Hello all! I hope your first week of 2022 has been wonderful! As a music therapy intern, I have quite a busy schedule. For this week’s blog post I am going to take you into a week in my life as an intern at Music Therapy Connections!


On Monday’s I spend my mornings at St. John’s Children’s Hospital with my supervisor Katey. I then spend my afternoon at Music Therapy Connections. I have my business and technology meeting with Rachel Rambach. During these meetings, we go over different topics surrounding the business side of music therapy! Later, I lead two music therapy sessions with my supervisors, Emma and Molly. I end my Mondays with my voice lesson with Kristi, where I work on my pop singing voice.


On Tuesday’s I spend a majority of the day at the Hope School with my supervisor Emma. We lead sessions with 5 of the classes at the Hope School. In the afternoon, I go to Music Therapy Connections where I have some work and practice time while my supervisors have their supervision meeting together. Then I finish my day by leading an adapted piano lesson with my supervisor Molly.


On Wednesday’s, I typically go to SPARC with my supervisor Molly. We lead three sessions with the participants at SPARC. However, we are on a break from SPARC due to COVID-19 concerns, so we are creating videos to send to our participants there. I go back to Music Therapy Connections, where I lead two adapted lessons with my supervisor Molly. Additionally, I observe a voice lesson led by my supervisor Emma. 


On Thursday I start my day at St. John’s Children’s Hospital with my supervisor Katey. After, I go to Music Therapy Connections where I have my supervision time with all three of my supervisors. This is a time for me to ask questions and discuss different things pertaining to my internship and sessions with all of them. Additionally during this time, I have my repertoire checks. During this I present two or more songs/interventions to my supervisors to receive their feedback and help on them. I then have some time to practice and work on assignments. I finish my day leading a session with my supervisor, Emma.


On Friday’s I again spend my mornings at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. After I get done at St. John’s, I go to Concordia Senior Care. There, my supervisor Molly and I lead a session with many of the residents there. Additionally, once a month we will lead an additional session with residents in another part of the facility. After we finish at Concordia, I go back to Music Therapy Connections. On Friday afternoons I have time set aside to work on assignments and for self care.  

There is A LOT of driving time in my schedule. Often while I drive I will listen to music that makes me happy or podcasts. My current favorite podcast to listen to is the Music Therapy Chronicles. This driving time also gives me opportunities to reflect on my days and the sessions that I have lead!

Thank you for reading! Hope you have a wonderful week!