How I Discovered Music Therapy

Some students know what they want to do when they grow up from a young age. Me? I had no clue.

As a kid, my ambitions for a future career ranged from nanny to teacher to dolphin trainer (I know, quite the variety). By the time I actually needed to decide on a degree route when applying for colleges, I still was not sure what I wanted to do. How I discovered music therapy was by no means miraculous, but I still think it was pretty special.

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2019 – What a Year!

I feel like this year has gone by so incredibly quickly, but at the same time it seems like the events that took place at the beginning of 2019 were a lifetime ago. 

My life has changed so much in the past year. This time last year I was traveling to do all of my interviews for potential internship sites and gearing up for my final semester of undergrad. Today I am a board-certified music therapist in a fantastic practice, working with and for terrific people and clients. A lot of opportunities and blessings have come my way in 12 short months. 

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MTC Winter Recital 2019

Music Therapy Connections has had an eventful week! If you follow us on Instagram, you may have seen that we had our Winter Recital on Saturday. It was a wonderful day full of fabulous music!

This was the first MTC recital I have participated in and I had several students perform. After weeks of preparation, their hard work paid off!

I truly enjoyed getting to watch my students and all of the performers share what they have been working on. There was so much excitement, and also some nerves, throughout the room. I had not been to a recital like this since I was taking lessons myself in my childhood years. What fun it was!

There was so much to enjoy throughout the day. Here are some of my personal highlights:

My Students’ Performances

Much like the feelings I get when a client meets a goal in music therapy, there is so much joy in seeing your students finally perform what they have been working on for weeks or even months. I am so incredibly proud of all the work they have put in. They have grown and learned so much!

Other Students’ Performances

The recitals were marvelous across the board. It was fun for me to see what other students performed and have been working on. As a music therapist, teaching lessons is not my primary focus or specialty. I received some instruction in school on how to teach music, but I have also had to work on this skill myself. Watching other performances gave me ideas on what I could bring to my students.

Being With My Coworkers

It is not very often that the entire MTC team gets to spend a day together. It was such a blast getting to spend a full day with people I usually only see for moments at a time. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we all celebrated in our students’ victories. It was a beautiful time!

Holiday Music

With it being the holiday season, it was to be expected that holiday music would be performed. There is nothing like a young child singing your favorite holiday song to put you in the spirit of the season!

I know many other studios also had recitals this month! If you have been involved with a recital recently, what was your favorite part? Let us know in the comments!

As always, thanks for reading!

Emma Kovachevich

Being a Teacher, But Also a Student

I have the privilege of providing music therapy services as well as music lessons at Music Therapy Connections. Throughout my internship and my new professional life, I have also been taking lessons. This feels a bit strange, as I am providing lessons and am considered a “teacher,” but also have someone else teaching me skills on those same instruments. 

As music therapists, it is our duty to identify areas where growth is still needed and then seek supervision or instruction accordingly. At the beginning of my internship, I told my supervisors that I wanted to improve my guitar and piano skills. Thus, the lessons began!

Yes, it can feel a bit awkward when my own students or clients see me walking into a lesson, but I know that I am doing what I need to do in order to better serve them. It can be hard to get out of the mindset that “I am supposed to be the expert to my students”, but it’s also important to remember that, regardless of whether you are taking lessons yourself or not, they will continue to see you as the trained professional that you are. 

I have found that lots of positive things come out of taking piano and guitar lessons. Here are just a few:

Improvement

This seems to be an obvious one. As soon as I started taking lessons, I saw my accompaniment skills quickly improve. Since I play piano and guitar every day, it was easy to apply what I was learning into my regular practice. 

A Second Opinion

Often in my lessons I would bring a piece that I was already working on. In these cases, I sought opinions on what I could change to make it sound better. Should I add more bass notes? What about a different pattern? It was nice to get that second opinion.

Developing New Skills

Since I already had a foundation of basic piano and guitar skills from school, it was great to expand on those and learn some new skills! Recently, I have been working on finger-picking melodies on guitar and adding harmony behind it. This can also easily be used in the music therapy setting for relaxation purposes.

A Creative Outlet

I know too many music therapists and music therapy students, including myself, that only perform or practice material that they have been working on for a client. Throughout my internship, I brought music that I was learning for clients to my lessons. This is not a bad thing, as this was my primary concern for developing repertoire as an intern. Now that I have a good foundation of repertoire for my clients and students, I have been able to select music that I want to learn. It has been an amazing outlet for me to use my skills for my own enjoyment. 

The idea of taking lessons can be intimidating, but, if you are wanting to further develop your skills and have a creative experience for yourself, I would encourage you to try it. Taking lessons does not make you any less of a music therapist or teacher!

A big “thank you” goes out to my awesome MTC lesson instructor, Robert Reynolds!

Do you already take music lessons? Please share your thoughts on your experience in the comments!

Thanks for reading,

Emma Kovachevich

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!