Gratitude at Thanksgiving

Music Therapy Connections | Springfield, IL

Throughout the week leading up to Thanksgiving, each of our employees here at Music Therapy Connections shared letters of gratitude. In case you missed our daily social media posts, we’ve rounded them up right here.

Katey Kamerad, MT-BC (Co-Owner)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday! This will be mine and my husband’s 8th year hosting our collective family in our home for a warm meal and beautiful day of celebration. Throughout the entire Thanksgiving weekend, our house is filled with laughter, hugs, open arms, helping hands, and thoughtful conversation. My heart is filled with joy and gratitude each Thanksgiving season. This year I am feeling particularly grateful for the incredible support I have felt in every area of my life. 

I am grateful for my husband. No matter what I bring to him, no mater the hours I work, no matter what I need, he supports me. By supporting every wild dream, hopeful ambition, and crazy idea, MTC has only benefited. Over the years and throughout our growth, he’s been in the background, the whole time saying, “Go for it!”, “You’ve got this!”, and “I’m so proud of you!”. He’s been the one asking, “Have you eaten?”, “Have you slept?”, and “How can I help you?”. He’s supported every single thing I’ve done, every decision I’ve made, and every step I’ve taken and I cannot say thank you enough. 

I am grateful for my business partner. No one can have a full understanding of what your business means unless they are in it, side by side, with you. Rachel, is 100%, fully invested, in everything we do. We are a team. Beyond our designated roles, I have witnessed the most incredible friendship and support from her, not only in our business, but also in our personal lives. No matter the situation, project, task, etc., I know Rachel is there and is in it all with me.  

I am grateful for all of the clients I have the honor of working with through music therapy. Providing services primarily in a hospital setting, my clients often are letting me into the most vulnerable or intimate moments in theirs lives. They allow me in to be a part of their journey, their joy, their grieving, their sorrow, their pain, and their growth. They give me the opportunity to share their time and be a part of their experience and memories. We share in music making, listening, dancing, laughing, and singing.  And in that shared experience, they provide such support for music therapy and the work I do every day. 

I am grateful for the immense support of our community. I am so incredibly humbled by the outpouring of support I have seen for music therapy within our community, especially over the past few months. With each Facebook post, recommendation, video, picture, verbal “I love music therapy” or “thank you”, etc., we feel the love and know that what we do is so worth it! Because of that support, we have been able to start working in so many new areas and only continue to grow the number of people we have the opportunity to work with each week.

I am grateful for my friends and family. They are the people who have been along for the ride, listening, sharing advice, comforting and lifting me up, and sharing in all my joys and struggles.  They are the people who supported me even when they had no idea what the words “music therapy” meant. I am so grateful for each and every one of them and what they have shared in or taught me along this journey so far. 

Simply, I am grateful. For you, this season, and the opportunity to continue doing what I love, every day. 

Emma Kovachevich, MT-BC (Music Therapist)

Emma Kovachevich | Music Therapy Connections

There are so many things to be thankful for in this season of my life. I’m extremely thankful for my family and friends who have been supporting me along my music therapy journey.

The late night phone calls, crying, laughs, and smiles, they’ve been there through it all. I’m also incredibly thankful for the professors, teachers, and supervisors who have stood by my side and taught me everything I know. The road to becoming a music therapist can be difficult, but supportive teachers and mentors make the experience easier.

Lastly, I’m thankful for the communities I have worked in throughout my practicums in Macomb and internship in Springfield. If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have been able to gain the quality hands-on experience that you all have given me. Thank you for supporting me during my stages of music therapy student, intern, and professional. I am thankful for each and every person who has played any role in making me who I am today!

Becky Waddell (Instructor & Studio Manager)

Becky Waddell | Music Therapy Connections

When November comes around, it’s the perfect time to be reminded of the many things to be thankful for. I’m sure you’ve seen the Month of Thanks and Attitude of Gratitude posts on social media platforms. Although I’ve taken part in this activity in the past, this year, I’m doing something different.

I am thankful for my dear husband. He works so. very. hard. to keep our family in order. His hard work has given us the roof over our heads, the food on our plates, and the clothing on our backs. And when he isn’t teaching music at the collegiate level, he’s working on his music business; writing, producing, and promoting his artists. All to support our family. He’s a strong advocate for our three children, the special needs community, and area educational platforms. He supports me, and my many hats, and allows me to be me! Thank you for ALL that you are and ALL that you do.

I am thankful for my place of work. Music Therapy Connections has been my home for almost four years, and I enjoy every. single. moment. I’ve been able to grow as an individual and strengthen my planning, teaching, and business-orientated goals, all while continuing to develop myself as a musician. I’ve had the pleasure of working with a variety of students, most since my first days at MTC. To watch a student learn and grow is a gift in itself. Thank you to my bosses, my co-workers, my students, and ALL families at MTC, for helping foster a love of music throughout the community. 

I am thankful for my family, extended family, friends, and acquaintances, near and far. YOU are my support system. Caring for a child with special needs really does take a community. My children have grown, knowing there is good in the world. They know that they can count on you for love and understanding. Thank you for being there during the good times, as well as the bad. YOU matter!

Molly Robitaille, MT-BC (Music Therapist)

Molly Robitaille | Music Therapy Connections

This Thanksgiving season, I am grateful for community. As many of you may know, I came to MTC and Springfield all the way from Connecticut. I am so grateful for the community that has opened their arms to me- both here at MTC and in the greater Springfield area. I immediately felt at home with both, and as a young professional in a new state that was so comforting to me.

I want to thank all the wonderful families and people I serve here in the Springfield area and especially the team here at MTC for welcoming me with open arms and making me feel so at home. These have been a wonderful first six months here and I look forward to so many more! I hope you all have a happy and healthy holiday season, and I look forward to seeing you around MTC!

Laura Mui, MM, MT-BC (Music Therapist)

Laura Mui | Music Therapy Connections

As I reflect on almost 2 years as a MT-BC, I am thankful for so many things! I am, of course, thankful for music therapy as a field that reaches so many people and touches individuals in so many ways. I love seeing how music has uniquely helped my clients across school settings, geriatric populations, and hospice settings to thrive and grow. I’m also thankful that music therapy has opened my eyes to the greater community of allied health professionals, paraprofessionals, teachers, nurses, and social workers that work so hard and care so much for their clients. 

In fact, I wanted to dedicate my post of gratitude to all of the staff that I work with in the school setting and to the nurses and administrators I work with in the assisted living facilities.  To the staff, nurses, and administrators, I want to say THANK YOU for showing up, being present, and supporting music therapy. Whether it is taking care of a client’s bathroom needs during a session, transporting each client to and from a session, dancing or singing along, or just being a constant support to my clients after the session is over, I am truly thankful for all you do!

As someone who meets with clients for only 30 or 45 minutes a week, I am always inspired by the way you persevere and care for your students and patients, especially when unexpected needs arise. Thank you for reminding me that a smooth music therapy session would not be possible without your quick thinking and behind-the-scenes support. 

Rachel Rambach, MM, MT-BC (Co-Owner)

Rachel Rambach | Music Therapy Connections

This season, I can’t help but reflect on the evolution of Music Therapy Connections, and all of the people who helped make it what it is today. My heart is filled with gratitude every time I see our full parking lot, walk into our bustling studio, watch our amazing team in action, and witness how music is positively affecting people of every age and ability.

I am thankful for my very first group of families, students and clients; you inspired me to grow as a music therapist and as a business owner. You invited me into your homes in the very beginning, then spent years coming to mine, and stuck with me as MTC upgraded locations twice.

I am thankful for my co-owner, Katey — the extrovert to my introvert, the yin to my yang, a true partner for the last 5+ years of this adventure. Katey is the person who makes every challenge seem possible, and never ceases to amaze me with her endless set of skills.

I am thankful for my entire family, who has been instrumental in the growth of MTC from its roots. There are no words to express my gratitude for all of their support, in the form of naming Music Therapy Connections (thanks, mom!), providing endless hours of child care for my children, attending all of our events, and being the most amazing cheerleaders. My husband, especially, has stood by me throughout it all and been the best partner I could ever ask for.

I am thankful for our community, who has fully embraced music therapy and everything else we offer. To the schools, facilities and organizations who contract our services, to our student and clients who come through our doors every week, and to our families who spread the word and help us continue to grow: THANK YOU!


We are grateful that YOU are a part of our community as well, whether locally or long distance. Thank you for taking the time to read our letters of gratitude, and we wish you a very happy Thanksgiving!

My Most Helpful Non-Musical Tools

Helpful Non-Musical Tools for Music Therapists | Music Therapy Connections

Hi again! I’m back to discuss some things I find super helpful in my work outside of the music and the instruments. We talk so often about our favorite music therapy songs and instruments, but what are some OTHER things that we can’t live without as music therapists?

Of course, having functional instruments, including a voice, comes first. Without the music, there would be no music therapy! These are just a few of the necessities that help my sessions (and my life!) run a bit smoother.

First, and this might seem like an obvious one: water. Yes, it’s important to stay hydrated especially when you’re singing and talking all day, but to me, water is so much more. When I don’t drink enough water, my body really feels it. I start to get a headache, and when I’m not feeling well I’m not leading sessions well. This impacts my clients just as much as it impacts me!

I also treat water as a bit of in-the-moment self care. I lead very large hour-long groups at a behavioral health center, and it’s a lot! My clients take water breaks during our sessions, so why shouldn’t I? It’s as simple as taking a sip in between interventions, or when clients are picking out which instrument they want to play next. It takes less than 10 seconds, and a sip of cold water along with a deep breath or two really help me to center myself as I jump back in and do my best work.

Number two is twofold: a watch and time management skills. Seriously…these are life-savers. I went into a session a few months ago, realized I forgot my watch and there was no clock in the room, and panicked. I ended up having to pop my head out of the room and ask my client’s caregiver to let me know when there were only five minutes left in the session. Oops!

A watch has helped me more than I even expected. Obviously I need to know when one session ends so the next one can begin, but it’s also super helpful for timing behavior frequencies and being able to plan how much time you’ll have to get through all the other materials in your session plan.

My last helpful non-musical tool is my iPad. I do everything on my iPad, from tracking student and client attendance to storing/accessing music to writing blog posts! It’s much lighter to carry around than a laptop or a big binder of music, and using Google Drive and Guitar Tabs to organize my music allows me to have almost any song under the sun at my fingertips. This is especially helpful for those times I get odd song requests that I don’t know off the top of my head!

My iPad lock screen background also serves as my work schedule. I downloaded the app Power Planner and uploaded my week to week schedule — clients, meetings, lesson students, contracts, everything. It helps me keep track of when and where I have to be with literally just the press of a button. It’s color-coded too, which I especially enjoy!

These are just a few of the many things I find most helpful in sessions. I hope you found these tips to be useful and applicable to your own life. I’d love to hear your music therapy essentials, and how you use them!

As always, thanks for reading and let me know if you have any questions!

~Molly

Why I Chose Music Therapy

My college graduation cap!

Hi again! I wanted to take a few minutes today to talk about what brought me to music therapy.

As a high schooler beginning to think about college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. After looking at my passions and hobbies, I settled on occupational therapy. By the beginning of senior year I had a college picked out and was planning on applying for fall 2015.

What brought me to occupational therapy? Throughout high school, the highlight of my weeks during the winter and early spring was volunteering with the local Special Olympics Swim Team on Friday evenings. I attended local meets and even State Games with the athletes, and learned that I had a passion for helping people. Naturally, this led me to occupational therapy.

However, there was always a little voice in the back of my head saying, “But what about music?” I couldn’t ignore that. I was very involved with my high school music department — in marching band, concert band, choir, the spring musicals, jazz band, even going to music camp for a week in the summer. I didn’t want to let that go. I knew I didn’t want to go into music education or performance, so I thought that a career in music just wasn’t possible for me.

As senior year rolled around and I was trying to get excited about a future in occupational therapy, that little voice grew louder. The college I had chosen didn’t have a band, orchestra, or choir and that just didn’t feel right to me.

At some point that fall, someone (perhaps my mom, a friend, or my band director) mentioned music therapy to me. I had no idea what that was but immediately knew that I had to do it. After looking it up, my heart was set!

After touring some colleges, I settled on Molloy College in New York and after applying, auditioning, an interviewing I was accepted as part of the Class of 2019. Four years later, I know I made the right choice. Music therapy is the perfect combination of my two passions: helping people and music.

As always, thank you for reading! I look forward to seeing you around MTC!

What I’ve Learned About Myself After Moving Halfway Across The Country

I’ll be honest: moving halfway across the country was not easy. As many of you may know from my introduction post, I grew up in Connecticut and went to college right outside of Manhattan. While I was away from home at college, I was still close enough to go home on the weekends.

Moving to Springfield to work here at MTC has turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have ever made, but definitely one of the hardest. I miss my family, friends, and pets back on the East Coast daily, and I know they miss me too.

However, this has been an amazing learning experience for me in so many ways. Here are a few things I’ve learned about myself in my short time out here:

  • I’m a lot more independent than I thought I was! Going places alone used to be a little scary for me, but since I’ve been living on my own in a new place, I’ve found the joy in it. Taking myself out to dinner, seeing a movie by myself, or even going to a museum alone have been weekend activities I enjoy doing with me, myself, and I.
  • The importance of self care. In the past few months, I’ve really learned what self care is and is not for me. It’s made a big difference both with dealing with the emotional toll my work can take on me at times, and the emotional toll being so far away from my support system can take.
  • Although I’m far away from my support system, FaceTime, social media, and phone calls are wonderful things! I talk to my parents on the phone a few nights a week, and sometimes we FaceTime and they hold the phone up to each of the dogs and cats so I can see them. Although it’s not the same as being there, it really does help a lot to be able to so easily connect with my family and friends.

I’m enjoying figuring my new life in Illinois out, and not a second goes by where I regret my decision. I’m super grateful to the team at MTC for being so amazing and making my transition so smooth, as well as the wonderful families I serve at MTC. And not to leave out my incredible parents, who supported me through this journey — you guys are the best!

Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you around MTC!

Learning The Importance Of Self Care

Learning The Importance Of Self Care | Music Therapy Connections

Hi again! I wanted to take a few minutes to talk about something near and dear to my heart: the importance of self care when working in a helping profession.

I knew when I decided to become a music therapy major that it wouldn’t always be easy for so many reasons, but I don’t think I really came to fully understand that until now, as a professional. I knew I would be having difficult discussions with clients and helping them through difficult times in their lives, but the emotional toll of what that would be like didn’t hit me until I began working in the field.

One of my main contract locations is a pediatric behavioral health facility. I work with people ages from 5 to 18 with a broad range of psychiatric and behavioral disorders. I love working with this population, but it can be very emotionally challenging at times.

Coupled with the fact that I have other contracts and a caseload of clients and students at MTC, I can feel pretty exhausted — physically and emotionally — at the end of the week. This is where self care comes in.

When I first began working, and even when I first began internship, I thought I understood the importance of self care. I made sure to do things to take care of myself and treat myself with kindness. Quickly, though, I realized that the things I thought were self care just weren’t working for me. Watching Netflix is great, but doing it for an entire weekend because you think it’s ‘what you need for self care’ isn’t always the answer.

For me, self care has become taking a long walk in the evening and stopping to pet dogs. It’s become cooking a good, healthy, nourishing meal for myself to power my body and brain. It’s forgiving myself when I make a mistake. It’s become minimizing electronic use at night to get a good, solid night’s sleep. It’s making sure I drink enough water.

It’s even become throughly cleaning my apartment or my car out on a Sunday afternoon to have a fresh start for the week. It’s also become finding a creative outlet outside of work — I’m really looking forward to joining the Capitol Area Concert Band when they resume rehearsals in August!

Self care looks different for everyone, and for some, a weekend of laying on the couch watching Netflix might be exactly what you need. I encourage you to take a closer look at your current self care routine and examine what’s working and what might not be. Self care isn’t selfish, and it’s an important part of being a human in today’s fast paced world.

As always, thanks for reading, and I hope you do something nice for yourself this week!

~Molly

Hello!

Hello!

Hi everyone! My name is Molly Robitaille and I am so excited to join the wonderful team here at Music Therapy Connections as a new music therapist. For this post, I wanted to share a little about myself. 

  • I am fresh out of college and my music therapy internship. I attended Molloy College on Long Island, New York and completed my music therapy internship during senior year in a local school district.
  • I just moved to Springfield from Connecticut! Although I went to college in New York, I grew up in Northwest Connecticut. This was a big change for me, but I am very excited  to be doing what I love and surrounded by such awesome people. 
  • I am primarily an oboist, though I also play the piano, guitar, saxophone, and ukulele in addition to singing.
  • I am thrilled to be here! This job is a dream come true for me, and I am so excited to help my students and clients reach their full potential through the power of music.

Thanks for taking the time to get to know a little bit about me! I look forward to contributing to the MTC blog more in the future, as well as getting to know all of the families that MTC serves.

All the best, and happy Wednesday!

Molly Robitaille