Intern’s Corner – Week 12

Thanksgiving has sadly come and gone. The silver lining to Thanksgiving being over is that it’s now officially the Christmas/holiday season! I am so excited for all of the baking and Hallmark movies that the next month has in store. I have always had a love for Christmas music, so I’m going to ring in the season by sharing some of my favorite Christmas/Holiday songs!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

I have known this song since I was a young child. However, it didn’t become one of my favorites until I was in the 5th grade. I was a member of a traveling choir at my school, which O Come O Come Emmanuel was a part of our Christmas set that year. Ever since then this song has had a special place in my heart. 

My favorite lyric: “Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel.”

City of Silver Dreams and Gold and Green

When I was a child, my mom LOVED the band, Sugarland. One year she bought Sugarland’s Christmas album: Gold and Green. I spent many Christmases listening to this album and still give it a listen at least once during the Christmas season. Out of the songs on this album the songs City of Silver Dreams and Gold and Green are my favorites. They are both very pretty ballads that bring about a feeling of nostalgia for me.

My favorite lyric from City of Silver Dreams: “Snowy night, catch the light, shimmer bright, Angels sing.” My favorite lyric from Gold and Green: “And everything looks better in gold and green, The lights on the trees in the eyes of our children, Are the prettiest I’ve ever seen.”

The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas is a song that I have always found to be really fun! It’s a long song, but easy to sing along with and the imagery is so fun to me. The music therapy adaptations for this song are really fun too! The song is a good template for song rewrites and adaptations. Additionally it is a great song to reinforce academic skills, particularly counting up and back. Since it is a well known song it is also a great song to encourage participation by having clients sing along and fill in words.

My Favorite Lyric: “On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 Drummers Drumming.”

Christmas Tree Farm

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a BIG fan of Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift had released a short Christmas album in 2007 that I didn’t enjoy, I have held onto hope she would release new Christmas music at some point. Two years ago, Taylor Swift unexpectedly dropped a Christmas song, which was everything I could have wanted from a Taylor Swift song and a Christmas song. Christmas Tree Farm is an upbeat bop that feels so Christmassy to me!  Taylor Swift has recently released a jazzy version of Christmas Tree Farm, which I love so much too.

Favorite Lyric: “In my heart is a Christmas tree farm where the people would come to dance under sparkling lights.”

O Holy Night

During my freshman year of college, I was going to take part in a Christmas concert at a student center that I was actively involved in. On a whim I chose to sing O Holy Night as my solo for this concert. Not many people attended this concert, but I felt really good about the performance I gave. The beginning of my freshman year of college was a very stressful time for me, but singing this song really helped raise my self esteem. Ever since then, this song has held a special place in my heart

Favorite Lyric: “Fall on your knees and hear the angels voices.”

Happy beginning to the Christmas/Holiday season! I’m excited to get to sing and play our clients favorite Christmas/Holiday songs with them. Hope you all get the opportunity to sing and hear your favorite Christmas/Holiday songs this year!

Intern’s Corner – Week 10

Happy Thanksgiving week all! As it is the week of thanksgiving, I wanted to recognize the music therapists who I am thankful for. These music therapists have inspired and impacted my music therapy journey greatly.

Music Therapists Who Piqued my Interest

When I was in 8th grade I made the decision that I wanted to go into music. My mom started telling me about a daughter of a friend of hers, Hannah. My mom told me that Hannah was a music therapist and encouraged me to look into music therapy as a career. I have not gotten to meet Hannah, but I hope someday I will get to meet and thank her!

I am thankful for Hannah because without her I wouldn’t have discovered the music therapy profession. 

When I was a sophomore in high school I was telling everyone that I was planning on studying music therapy, but I wasn’t quite sold yet. At this time, an acquaintance of mine was sharing pictures of their young cousin’s cancer journey on social media. This acquaintance shared a photo of a music therapist working with their cousin at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I can pinpoint seeing that picture was what really solidified in me that music therapy is what I wanted my career to be. Prior to starting internship I decided to look on social media to see if I could find that picture. Upon finding that picture, I recognized that music therapist to be Amy Love, the music therapist at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

I am thankful for Amy Love, because seeing just a glimpse of her work solidified in me that music therapy was what I wanted to pursue.

The Western Illinois University Music Therapy Staff

The Western University music therapy department has been incredibly influential on me as a music therapist in training. I auditioned for three schools, but I am beyond grateful that I chose WIU. I am especially grateful because I had the opportunity to meet and work with the music therapy staff at WIU.

  • I am thankful for Dr. Garwood, who introduced me to the profession of music therapy during Introduction to Music Therapy. 
  • I am thankful for Mr. Holbrook, who was my first music therapy practicum supervisor.
  • I am thankful for Mrs. Coovert, who always pushed me to be my best as my practicum supervisor for two semesters.  
  • I am thankful for Mrs. Sevcik, who I learned so much from from as a teacher and a supervisor.
  • I am thankful for Dr. Jones, who helped me so much as a teacher, advisor, supervisor, and mentor.

Overall, I am thankful to the WIU Music Therapy staff for giving me solid foundation for my music therapy journey.

The Music Therapy Connections Staff

The Music Therapy Connections staff are the newest music therapists to come into my life, but that doesn’t decrease how thankful I am for them! The staff at MTC has introduced me to many different populations, ways of thoughts and techniques.

  • I am thankful for Katey, who has introduced me to the pediatric medical setting and has been a great person to talk through many of my anxieties as an intern.
  • I am thankful for Molly, who I have learned so much from about working with groups and giving piano lessons. 
  • I am thankful for Emma, who I have learned much from about working in schools and has challenged me to go outside my comfort zone. 
  • I am thankful for Rachel, who I learned so much from about being a business owner and the music therapy community. 
  • I am thankful for Cicely, who has been my friend for 4 years now and whose friendship I highly value. 

Overall, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to complete my internship at MTC and learn under all of these wonderful music therapists.

My Friends and Peers

Finally, I am so thankful for all of my peers and friends that I learned with during my four years at WIU. I am thankful for all of the wonderful learning experiences I have had with my peers. Additionally, I am thankful for all of the wonderful memories of working and learning with all of them.

  • I am thankful for my fellow 2021 graduates, I’m fortunate that had the opportunity to learn and work with you all.
  • I am thankful for the other WIU music therapy students I had the opportunity to meet and work with.
  • I am thankful for Rebecca, who was the best roommate/friend I could have asked for and I whose collaborations I highly value.

Overall, I am thankful to have them as a part of my music therapy journeys and to have been apart of their music therapy journeys, as well.

There are so many other people in the music therapy community that I am thankful for. I am so thankful for the for all of the music therapists and music therapy students I have encountered on my music therapy journey. Additionally, I am thankful to you for reading! Happy Thanksgiving All!!!

Lillian

Interns Corner – Week 9

A phrase that has come to my mind a lot this past week is “one step forward, three steps back.” Other than this being an incredibly catchy Olivia Rodrigo song, “one step forward and threes steps back” is a commonly used phrase about progress. According to Google, this phrase means:

“You make progress but then experience events that cause you to be further behind than you were when you made the progress.”

I have related to this phrase often during my internship. I constantly have this feeling I’m progressing in some ways, then finding other places I have deficits in. This puts me in an often stressful place that feels like I’m back to where I started or even behind where I should be. The following topics are things that I have realized about growth and learning during my internship.

Learning Never Stops

When I started as a student, I perceived that college is where a music therapist learns everything. Then internship is where that knowledge is put into practice. This isn’t reality; there is so much to be learned during internship and beyond. I am learning so much during my time in internship. I am learning more about myself as a therapist, musician and person. The more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn. Learning and growth is never ending.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome adds to this feel of going one step forward and three steps back. According to Google imposters syndrome is “feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.” I have accomplished a lot and went to college for music therapy for 4 years. Even with this, I feel imposter syndrome almost every day. It seems at times as soon as I am feeling comfortable with one area, I find another area that I am not comfortable with. These two ideas feed each other, leading to stress, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.

Finding New Places for Growth

I worked very hard on my musical skills throughout my life. However, performing music for new people brings up nerves and stress that can affect how I play. Additionally, my supervisors have different musical techniques that I didn’t learn when I was in college. I came into internship feeling like a fairly confident musician, but I’ve quickly seen areas where I can still grow. I’ve had to learn that it’s not a bad thing to find new areas in which I can grow.

From talking with my supervisors I have learned that feeling like you’re continually going one step forward and three steps back is a shared feeling that stays with you your whole life. I am still in my schooling and in a transition period in my life during internship. Right now the feeling of stepping back can feel so huge and the steps forward so small sometimes. 

The idea of going one step forward and two steps back can seem like a negative thing, but I’m realizing that there are positives to it. It helps me remember that I can’t be perfect and there are always places for me to grow. It helps to remind me that I can celebrate my steps forward, but give myself kindness for the perceived steps back. Even with the positives, this feeling can bring anxiety and lower my confidence. I just keep reminding myself that each step, not matter how big or small it feels, is taking me closer and closer to my goals.

Lillian

Interns Corner – Week 8

Comparing my internship experience to the internships of other music therapy interns, I have learned that no two music therapy internships are the same. Many music therapy internships focus their time in one population, such as some are strictly in hospice or in schools. Since Music Therapy Connections is a private practice, I have the opportunity to get experience in many different populations in the Springfield community. Weekly, I see a spectrum of clients in different populations, including: pediatric medical, special education, memory care, and early childhood.

This makes me think of one my music therapy classes in college. There we had a discussion about music therapists being a “jack of all trades” of sorts. This last week, I have been thinking about how much music therapists in private practice settings are “jack of all trades” because of how many settings they are in weekly. I thoroughly enjoy getting the opportunity to learn in all of these different settings. There are many advantages I have found getting to be an intern in a private practice setting.

Learning Under Multiple Professionals

I get to work directly under three different music therapists at MTC: Katey, Molly and Emma. Each of these music therapist has different techniques and skill sets that I get to observe and learn from. I have the opportunity to work with other staff at MTC. I mainly sang classically in college; I have the opportunity to work with one the voice instructors here to grow my contemporary singing voice. Additionally, I have weekly meetings with Rachel to discuss the business and technical sides of being a music therapist. It is amazing getting to know and to learn from all of these professionals.

Growing My Music Skills

With seeing so many different types of clients a week, I have needed to learn more repertoire! I learn many songs a week for the different populations I am in. The songs I am learning for my clients can range from children’s songs to classic rock songs. In some of the settings I’m in I need to sight-read music during sessions. This helps grow my repertoire and my musical skills. The MTC team has taught me different musical techniques that I did not learn during my time in college.

Seeing the Crossover in Populations

While there are differences in the populations that music therapists can work in, I’m starting to see crossovers between these populations. In some setting I am able to use use some of the same repertoire. Additionally, I use some of the same techniques between different clients. I am finding that working at St. John’s Children’s Hospital is the setting that I am seeing the most intersection of many of the different skills I am learning. At St. John’s I see many patients of varying ages, diagnosis, interests and needs. I’ve used my teaching skills I’ve learned working with students at MTC to teach a patient about the guitar. I have also made use of a range of songs with patients from Folsom Prison Blues to Stitches to You Are My Sunshine.

Challenges

 Along with the advantages of getting to see so many different clients, there are also some challenges. Sometimes with so much information and input given daily by my supervisors, it can feel like information overload. Additionally, I’ve found it to be difficult at times to switch from one mind set to another from setting to setting.

Overall, each music therapy internship has its own advantages and challenges. I am very thankful for how much my internship at Music Therapy Connections is teaching and pushing me.

Lillian

Intern’s Corner – Week 7

Spooky Songwriting- one of the joys of my week!

I am around a month and a half into my internship at Music Therapy Connections. During this time, I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I am discovering the challenges and anxieties of transitioning from being in school to being in the professional setting. Along with these challenges, I have had many moments that have brought so much joy. This week I’m going to outline some of the challenges I have faced, but also the joys too.

Challenges

I knew that going from a student to an intern would come with its growing pains. I am finding out how much of a transition it is to go from focusing on a few clients per week to multiple clients per day. There is more music to learn in a week, additionally I am learning a wider variety of music. As each client has different needs and goals, learning how to transition from client to client can be challenging.

Now that I’m an intern I no longer receive regular grades like when I was a student. Not worrying about grades sounds nice at first. However, I never realized how much validation I got from getting grades. Grades were a clear way for me to measure my progress. Without them, I am left to myself to determine how successful I am. This can be difficult, as I have found myself often to be my worst critic. 

Joys

While I’ve found the transition to working with multiple clients to be a bit of a challenge at times I absolutely love getting to work with all of them. I enjoy talking with all of the clients about their days and exciting parts of their lives. I’ve gotten to celebrate with clients as they succeed. It brings me joy to make music with them and see the change music can bring. A favorite intervention I have done with a client so far was a rewrite of Good 4 U by Olivia Rodrigo about the client’s goals. Working with clients is the bright spot of my day.

Additionally I’m finding joy in some of the small, odd and ends things. The small progressions I have been able to see in myself since I started. I enjoy doing the singable stories during Listen and Learn and seeing the children’s reactions to them. Watching my supervisor’s excitement about the progress of a client. I have had so much fun planning and implementing sing along events at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. This past week we did a spooky songwriting event at St. John’s Children’s Hospital!

I have found it easy to let the mistakes and challenges take over my mind. This in turn has caused a lot of anxiety and stress. I see myself becoming more self conscious in some areas, but I am also feeling more confident in other areas. I am working to focus on the good over the mistakes. I’m discovering that no day is perfect, but there’s good spots to each one. I’m finding progress isn’t always linear. There are times I feel like when I take one step forward, I go three steps back. I’ll keep making my way slowly forward, and at the end of this experience I know I’ll be a better musician and therapist than I was before.

There are some growing pains right now, but I look forward to the exciting things and the different lessons I’ll learn and experience!

Intern’s Corner – Week 6

Happy Halloween week, all! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the decorations and the food, but my absolute favorite part of Halloween is dressing up in costumes! When I think about costumes, I remember the costumes I wore when I was involved in theatre. With Halloween coming up I thought it would be a fun time to reflect on how being involved in theatre has impacted me as a musician and future therapist.

My Theatre Background

I don’t have the most extensive background in theatre, but I had many wonderful opportunities to take part in theatre. As far as I can remember I have had an interest in theatre. My first role was as a bell in my elementary school’s Christmas musical. I was involved in my junior high’s musicals, most notably I was a narrator in Aladdin Jr. 

Me in the 6th grade in my first role!

When I got to high school I took part in the annual fall plays. During my last two years of high school, my school began doing high school musicals. Through these musicals I had the opportunity to portray Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music and Sandy in Grease. Along with traditional theatre, I took part in speech team in the storytelling and acting categories.

Grease, my senior year of high school

In college I joined the WIU Opera Theatre, where I got to continue performing musical theatre and learn how to perform opera. I was cast in Hansel and Gretel, Le Nozze De Figaro and Venus and Adonis, the latter production was canceled due to COVID-19. Additionally, I performed in 4 opera workshop showcases, where I performed both musical theatre and opera scenes. 

Le Nozze De Figaro, Sophomore year of College

Other than the joy I got from dressing up and performing, I learned so much taking part in theatre. Much of what I learned has helped grow my skills as future music therapist.

Going with the Flow

Mistakes can happen a lot in live theatre; its easy to miss a line or forget a cue. In those times it takes some quick thinking and to go with the flow to get the scene back on track. I had a few situations where I had to improv when a line was forgotten. I have had similar experiences in sessions. I’ve had situations where I forgot lyrics to a song, so I improved lyrics until I got the song back on track. Quick thinking is important in other situations during music therapy sessions, especially in fast-paced settings like hospitals. I’m still growing in my quick thinking skills, but I can credit some of the skills I currently have to my time in theatre.

Empathy

Being involved in theatre, I’ve gotten to portray different types of people. This has given me to the opportunity to walk in other peoples’ shoes so to say. To accurately portray these characters I had to consider their motivations and what issues they are facing. I feel this helped me develop my empathy skills. I use my empathy skills daily when working with clients to help gage how they are feeling and what they need from me as a therapist during music therapy sessions.

Confidence

When I was involved in theatre, I had my fair share of anxiety and stage fright. However, taking part in theatre helped me develop confidence in myself as a musician and a performer. Additionally, I learned how to efficiently and confidently multi-task. Confidence is important when conducting music therapy sessions. Confidence is one thing that I have currently lacking in since starting internship. I’ve been reflecting on when I have confidence to help myself figure out how to find my confidence again.

Thank you for reading! I hope you have a great Halloween full of fun costumes and yummy sweets!

Lillian

Intern’s Corner – Week 5

Fall has been one of my favorite times of year for a long time for so many reasons. Two of my favorite flavors, apple and pumpkin, are in season, which means there are so many delicious treats to eat and make. Nature is so beautiful with the leaves changing colors. Halloween and Thanksgiving are two of the best holidays in my opinion. Some of my favorite people, particularly my parents, have fall birthdays. Additionally, I think I almost like the fall Hallmark movies more than the Christmas ones.

In the past, I have found ways to bring fall into my music therapy sessions. One of my favorite interventions I created for my clinical skills class was a drum circle based around fall topics. I came up with different rhythms based off of phrases that were related to fall. I made a visual with all of the phrases on it that I decorated with leaves from a tree outside of the music building. (pictured below) This intervention is a favorite memory of mine, as it was also one of the first interventions that I felt successful leading.

Until I came to MTC, I hadn’t considered just how much fall could be implemented into sessions. In almost every setting I’m at, I’ve seen my supervisors implementing fall topics and songs. I have gotten to observer fall theme interventions to fall-themed groups. I enjoy seeing how they use the fall season to reinforce their client’s needs and goals.

Counting and Colors

There are many fall themed counting songs that I have come across in the past month. I have found multiple songs that are variations of counting pumpkins. Along with leaf and bat themed counting songs. Fall is such a colorful season, which also gives the opportunity to reinforce colors. The colors brown, red, orange and yellow can be reinforced with leaves, pumpkins and apples. Additionally, I have seen peers use the Halloween song One Eyed, One Horn, Flying Purple People Eaters to reinforce colors and numbers.

Singable Stories

I’ve discovered how singable stories are a way to bring fall topics into sessions. I have seen the There Was an Old Lady Who… books used in sessions. Those books have many fall variations with topics like fall foods, Halloween and scarecrows. I look forward to soon using the the book: We’re Going On A Leaf Hunt, which is a variation of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt. 

Fall Songs

I’m also discovering the use and fun of fall songs. These songs can give the space to discuss topics like the season change and fall events. Additionally many of the songs I have found also reinforce fall approve clothing and discuss fall foods. These songs can be a place to insert clients’ academic goals and to start discussion. My favorite fall song that I have discovered since starting at MTC is Fall, Fall, Fall from Listen & Learn Music.

With Adults

For adults, I’ve seen the use of the song Autumn Leaves to be useful for discussing fall. Additionally, the song Over the River and Through the Woods is regarded as a Thanksgiving song, which can be used to discuss holiday plans and baking. I have seen that fall can be a way to narrow the subject for other discussion topics; such as “What is your favorite fall outdoor activity?” Instead of “What is your favorite outdoor activity?”

I’m enjoying seeing how my supervisors incorporate fall into their sessions. I look forward to seeing how I can continue to incorporate fall into my sessions and interventions in the future.

Happy Fall, Y’all!

Lillian

Intern’s Corner – Week 4

Hello All!
I hope your week has been going well; for me here at MTC it been another week of learning! The last couple weeks I have been considering the importance of finding the value in the small things.

Not Everything has to be Big

I remember before starting my first practicum in college, I imagined that the interventions I was going to do would create a big, almost immediate change in my clients. So much of what we see posted online makes it look like music therapy can do that. In reality, therapy is mainly many small changes that build up to create the difference. I remember after my first practicum experience I felt so defeated when I didn’t create the big change I imagined. Little did I know this was just feeding my perfectionism. 

This way of thinking stayed with me throughout my time in college. I could see that I was making some sort of impact, but I felt like I wasn’t being effective enough. However, when I started observing the music therapists at MTC, I noticed that the client responses were similar to what I had gotten from clients I had worked with in college. I began to consider that maybe I’m not as ineffective as I thought I was.

During the sessions I have been coleading currently, I find myself falling into that trap again. The clients aren’t responding in the ways I imagined; I have to be failing. However, I’m beginning to see it in a different way. The clients are responding to the music, they are answering my questions, following my prompts and emotionally engaging in the music. These aren’t the big immediate changes that I used to imagine, they are smaller impacts that can add up. I’m realizing that if I focus on wanting the big monumental changes, I don’t get the chance to appreciate the small impacts. 

The Impacts are Easier to See when you Change your Focus

During voice seminars in college, after performing my voice teacher would always have us state at least three things we did well during our performance. It was a good way to have us focus on what we did well vs. only thinking about what didn’t go perfectly. I always found this to be difficult, as I view myself with a very critical lens; if I messed up even a little part of the song it practically ruined the experience for me.

One of my supervisors also uses a similar system when we are discussing sessions. Before we start any discussions, she has me tell her what I think I did well. I still have a difficult time answering this; I find myself having trouble coming up with things I did well. Additionally, when I do think I did something well, I find myself questioning if I really did well.

However, I’m beginning to find that in the moment when I focus on what I am doing right and not what I am doing wrong, I feel so much more confident in myself as a therapist and a musician. When I focus less on what I might be doing wrong, I am able to focus more on the clients see the impact on the clients so much clearer then before. I less apprehension and I feel a lot more successful.

Overall, I want to continue focusing more on what I am doing right; that way I can appreciate the small impacts. Thank you for reading!

Lillian

Intern’s Corner – Week 3

Hello everyone! 

It’s crazy to think that I have finished my third week of internship already! Internship has been such an amazing experience and adventure so far; however, it hasn’t been without some challenges. My second week of internship I started facing some anxieties and insecurities. I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I felt like I shouldn’t be feeling anxious this early; I’ve hardly even started.

I started feeling some imposter syndrome and insecurities about myself as a student music therapist and musician. Additionally, I began feeling a bit alone. I had spent the last four years having peers around me that were in the same stage as me that I could lean on, as an intern I don’t have that anymore. The most frustrating part was that some old nervous habits of mine started resurfacing.

I figured there was two directions I could go in: I could push the feeling down and ignore them or I could face them. I decided to choose the latter. I wanted to face my feelings and work on them now, not leaving them to be a problem for me in the future like I had done so many times before.

Don’t be Afraid to Open Up

From day one my supervisors told me that I could come to them with anything. I contemplated heavily going to them with what I was feeling, but I’m glad I did. They were able to help validate my feelings, and that it was nothing abnormal to feel anxiety at this point of internship. They also shared about their experiences of being an intern and the anxieties they faced. Additionally they were able to share with me self care tips that they use. Overall, it helped me feel a lot less isolated then what I felt prior.

Read a Book

My first day of internship Katey suggested the book You are A Bad*ss, as it was a book that a majority of the staff at MTC had read. My copy of the book came in at the end of my second week, which was good timing. I have never been into motivational/self help books, but I figured I would give it a try. I am part way through the book, and already it has me deeply analyzing my anxieties and fears. It also gave me some ideas of self care strategies I can do. I have now found myself making note of similar books that I want to read after I finish this one. Overall I would highly suggest finding a book to read that resonates with you and your emotional needs.

Seek Further Help if You Need It

This advice came from a conversation about internships I had with a young professional during my senior year of college. Being in a caring profession, it can be easy to fall into extreme stress and anxiety. There is no shame in seeing a psychologist or counselor to work through some of the feelings you are having. Remember that you are still a student, which means that your university’s counseling services are still available, and especially with the pandemic, many universities’ counseling centers are offering telehealth services.

Don’t get me wrong, these are not over night cure. I am still feeling anxious and self conscious at times, but it helps me feel better knowing I’m facing it instead of avoiding it. Take your time and find self care strategies that work for you. If you are a student or new intern, I hope you know that if you are feeling alone and anxious at the beginning of internship, you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling that way.

Thank you for reading! I believe in you, and keep having compassion for yourself as you grow.

Lillian

Intern’s Corner – Week 2

(left) Me freshman year as an observer; (right) Me now!

These first two weeks of internship I have stepped into a role that I haven’t been in since I was a freshman in college: an observer. In some ways, it feels weird to be an observer again after leading sessions for the past five semesters in school. However, upon reflection, I have found that there are benefits to being an observer at this point in my education.

The Opportunity to Get Comfortable

I have spent the last four years learning from and getting comfortable with the staff at WIU. This is the first time that I’m leaving my “music therapy” home to work on my skills elsewhere with new mentors. Being an observer again gives me the opportunity to get myself acquainted and comfortable in this new setting. Additionally, it also gives me the space to interact and get acquainted with the music therapists I am working with at MTC before the added pressures of co-leading and leading. I’m still working through some nerves, but I have found the music therapists at MTC to be very supportive as I get acclimated to life as an intern.

The Opportunity to Reflect

Observing the music therapists at MTC work has given me the opportunity to reflect on myself and my current skills as a music therapist in training. I have been able to reflect on how I would react to certain situations and compare that to the reactions of the therapists I am observing. There has also been the opportunity reflect on the areas that I feel comfortable and the areas that I need to work and grow in. I have the opportunity to reflect on my work with similar populations in the past and how I can improve upon my skills going forward. One such population I worked a lot with in college was older adults. The past two weeks I have been able to reflect on that experience and how I can improve while watching sessions at Concordia Senior Services.

The Opportunity to Learn

While I have learned about many different populations and experienced some during my time at WIU, there are some populations that I am experiencing for the first time at MTC. I have read about so many different populations, but I haven’t learned all I can about them. I am a very hands on and visual learner; observing gives me the space to learn about new populations in this way.

Pediatrics is one population that has always been of interest to me that I haven’t been able to experience yet. I have spent six mornings so far at St. John’s Children’s Hospital, which has already expanded my knowledge greatly in that area. It also gives me a new perspective to learn about populations that I have been able to work with during my time in school. Finally, it gives me the opportunity to learn more about the clients and spaces I will soon be working with.

The big difference between being an observer now vs. freshman year is that I am able to look at these experiences through a more educated lens. I am slowly starting to do more co-leading activities with the music therapists at MTC. I look forward to seeing how that compares to my co-leading experiences from my sophomore year of college. 

Thank you for reading and remember to have compassion for yourself as you grow!

Lillian