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!

Thankful

My colleague, Heather E Johnson, and I at the 2017 AMTA National Conference.

Hello again and Happy Thanksgiving! I am so thankful for a multitude of things, including all of you! In this time of giving thanks, the MTC team shared what they are thankful for. If you haven’t seen them yet, go check out our Facebook page!

Though I have already shared some things that I am thankful for, I have been reflecting on just how thankful I am for everyone in the world of Music Therapy. It’s a small world (see what I did there), but it’s growing and is full of marvelous people! 

There are so many people that I am thankful for and have met because of music therapy. I could never name everyone, so I’ve broken it down into 3 categories:

The Music Therapy Community

Thank you to all of the music therapists out there. I feel so incredibly supported each time I meet another music therapist or reconnect with one I’ve known. I was not able to go to the National Conference this year, but every other conference I have been to has been so uplifting. I remember going to my first conference and being so overwhelmed with emotion by how many music therapists were around me. The love and support in our community is so crucial to the growth of our field. So, thank you to my fellow music therapists for supporting me and others.

Supporters of Music Therapy

Thank you to those who are not music therapists, but support what we do. This includes other medical professionals, families, guardians of those who receive music therapy, and more. I am beyond thankful for people like my non-music therapy coworkers, family, and friends who support what I do. Sometimes our biggest advocates are those not actually working in the field. 

Those Who Benefit from Music Therapy

A HUGE thank you to those who seek out and/or benefit from music therapy services. Every single client I have had the privilege to work with has impacted me in such a positive way. They have helped me learn and grow in ways no one else has. I am so thankful.

So, as a new professional, I guess if I could sum up what I am most thankful for this Thanksgiving into two words it would be MUSIC THERAPY. Thank you to all who are music therapists, supporters of music therapy, or those who benefit from music therapy. 

Enjoy your Thanksgiving wherever you are! I’m curious: what are you thankful for this year? Let me know in the comments!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Emma Kovachevich

Keeping Busy: My Day-to-Day Summer Schedule

Hello again! I hope you had a lovely Independence Day!

For me, it was a lovely mid-week break. Thursdays are my busiest days between a contract location in the morning and clients and students in the afternoon, so the holiday was a much needed bit of rest. Reflecting (and resting!) yesterday inspired me to write a blog post about my weekly schedule now that I’ve settled into a routine.

Mondays are a good, slow start to the week. I have a contract location in the morning and then I see a few clients at MTC in the afternoon. It’s a great way to ease into the week!

Tuesdays begin to speed up a bit, with a very fast-paced contract all morning, supervision with my colleagues in the afternoon, and a few lessons in the afternoon and evening.

Wednesdays are a nice bit of mid-week quiet for now. I’ll have some Listen and Learn for Little Ones classes starting this week and I’ll begin at a different contract location on Wednesday mornings in the early fall, but for now I’ve just been focusing on office tasks, practicing, and students.

Thursdays are by far my busiest day! I go to the same fast-paced contract location as Tuesday for a few hours in the morning, then I head to MTC for a few back-to-back clients and students in the afternoon. I usually leave the office quite tired at the end of the day, but also quite fulfilled.

Fridays for now are a nice quiet end to the work week. The contract location I’m scheduled to be at is on summer break, so I’ve just been taking Fridays as an opportunity to get things done at MTC like organizing and cleaning, practicing, writing blog posts, doing some general office work and seeing a client and a student. Starting in the fall, though, my Fridays will fill up quickly with contract work and more clients and students at MTC!

This ‘light’ schedule has been a great way to ease into my new job and roles here at MTC. Coming straight from busy weeks of college classes and internship has definitely helped keep me on top of things and in a routine. It’s also definitely helped that my schedule is a bit lighter for the summer as I get adjusted to life as a professional music therapist and living here in Springfield.

As always, thank you for taking the time to read! I look forward to seeing you around MTC.

Molly Robitaille

New Beginnings

I have mementos of home all over my apartment- one of my favorites is this beautiful picture of Connecticut, featuring mountain laurel which is the state flower.

Hello again and happy Friday! Now that I’ve introduced myself, I wanted to share a little about my first few weeks here at MTC and in Illinois. As you may know from reading my previous blog post, I recently moved here all the way from Connecticut. It was a big change, but one I’m so glad I made!

Relocating your entire life can be a little scary, especially when you’re moving halfway across the country to a place where you know no one. When I was looking for a job, I didn’t really look in Connecticut much. I knew that I wanted to live in a different state and experience new things — but I never thought that would bring me all the way to Illinois! I’ve always had an adventurous spirit, so when this wonderful opportunity presented itself, I didn’t bat an eyelash. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made!

Now that I’ve been here for almost a month, I’ve had some time to settle in to my routine. I have a jam-packed schedule at MTC and the various contract locations that I serve, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’ve kept busy with trainings, paperwork, practicing, sessions, lessons, and not to mention unpacking and organizing at home!

Now that most of the trainings and paperwork are done and my apartment is mostly unpacked, I am really looking forward to getting out and exploring the awesome city of Springfield.

It’s been wonderful getting to know all the families and clients at MTC and I look forward to writing more blog posts in the future! Thanks for reading!

Molly Robitaille

Finding Balance in a Job with Multiple Hats

When a typical day consists of balancing being a therapist, music instructor, and occasionally, an early childhood music teacher, it can feel like my main job is actually figuring out how to balance all of the different roles.

I struggle with balancing the position of teacher and therapist because I tend to rigidly categorize myself as a music therapist who should only pursue music therapy-specific roles.

Although I grew up taking music lessons every week, I never pictured myself in a teacher role. Even in my current position, I am still learning what the role of a music therapist truly looks like.

How I found a balance in the various hats that I wear in my professional life

I struggle with balancing the position of teacher and therapist because I tend to rigidly categorize myself as a music therapist who should only pursue music therapy-specific roles. However, the more I’m actively working within this field, the more I see opportunities for my music therapy training to supplement other disciplines/roles and vice versa.  

In teaching lessons, the music therapist in me is able to tune into my students’ developmental, psycho-social, and behavioral needs, all the while keeping them engaged in the music and task at hand.

In music therapy sessions I often find myself drawing on the resources, repertoire, and lessons that I have used teaching the individual lessons and classes.  

During the times when the roles of music instructor and music therapist intersect, I have to remember that no matter what I’m doing (whether it’s teaching individual lessons, 1:1 music therapy sessions, or leading group music therapy sessions), the most important aspect of my work is empowering my students and clients to live life fully.

I find joy in knowing that growing my students’ music skills could lead to more opportunities in their academic and extracurricular life, future performance opportunities, and even a future career.

As for my clients, I love using music as a tool to lead to physical, communicative, emotional, academic, social, and recreational wellness.

These are just some of the reasons that I love what I do, day in and day out. If you have taken on different roles as a music therapist, I’d love to hear from you! let me know in the comments how you have worked through your various roles, and how your roles have informed your day to day life.  

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Song Discussion and Songwriting: Increasing Emotional Wellness

Song discussion and songwriting can be beneficial and fascinating practices. Not only do they give an opportunity for the client to respond to a song in a real and genuine way, but they are also exercises in expecting the unexpected.

It can be scary to never really know how the client will respond. Thankfully, through many hours of clinical training, embracing the uncomfortable has become easier. I’ve come to appreciate the moments where my clients feel empowered to express themselves through song lyrics in a safe space.

How do I validate emotions that can’t exactly be defined?

One song discussion and songwriting intervention that I have recently used involved goals of discriminating and processing emotions, increasing self expression, increasing reminiscence, and strengthening coping skills.

The application began when I played a song that was requested by my client. Once the song ended, I asked my client how it made her feel. After a long pause, my client answered, “somewhat in between.”

In my head, I was pondering: how do I validate emotions that can’t exactly be defined? Do they need to be defined to be valid? All of a sudden, this intervention popped up in my head that both honored my client’s response and could be a starting point in helping my client increase her coping skills and emotional processing.  

My client mentioned that the song made her feel both sad and happy. I grabbed my white board and used a dry erase marker to draw a happy face on the left side of the board, a sad face on the right side, and a neutral face in the middle.

With each experience, I validated what was shared and made her know that it was a safe place to share only what she felt comfortable with.

Next, I went through the lyrics, two lines at a time, and asked my client to place the lines under each emotion that best matched how the lyrics made her feel.

After we finished placing the lyrics under the various emotions, we took a look at the board and saw just how mixed a song could make someone feel. Not only was this helpful for my client to visually see the diversity of emotions, but it also helped the her to see that it was okay to not feel strictly “happy” or “sad” all the time.

To make this intervention more personal and to further allow my client to discriminate emotions based on her own experiences, I prompted my client to describe moments in her life where she felt happy, sad, and in between. With each experience shared, I validated what she said and again stated that it was a safe place to share only what she felt comfortable with.

We didn’t have time to put her experiences to music yet, but we are excited to finish our original song during our next session. 

Song discussion and songwriting can be a very personal experience, and therefore can look different for each client. What are ways that you have incorporated emotional goals and coping skills in song discussion and songwriting? We’d love to hear from your experiences, so let us know in the comments below!

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