Learning New Repertoire Quickly and Efficiently

If you are like me, learning new repertoire can sometimes be difficult. Whether you have a lack of energy or you’re not in the right mindset, sitting down to learn new music can seem like a big task. I’ve found that my number one reason for procrastinating is by telling myself that I don’t have the time because I have other “more important” things that also need to get done. 

There are times that I need to learn 20+ songs in a week due to Listen & Learn classes starting back up, coupled with requests made by students and clients. I used to struggle with this greatly. There are so many songs to learn in what feels like such a short period of time. To try and combat this “lack of time”, I have figured out a routine that works well for me to learn new music quickly and efficiently. 

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MTC Adult Recital!

Music Therapy Connections provides so many unique opportunities for their students: the chance to learn more than one instrument during their lesson, 2 studio-wide recital days each year, and mini-recitals throughout the year. One of my favorite events, the Adult Recital, occurred last week!

MTC welcomes people of all ages through our doors for lessons and music therapy services. Yes, this includes adults! I applaud all of our adult students who choose to learn a new instrument or refine their pre-existing skills. It’s definitely not easy!

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“Into the Unknown” – Drumming Intervention

I’m sure all of you have seen or heard about the movie that is all the rage nowadays: Frozen 2. If you haven’t seen it yet, I highly recommend it. If you haven’t heard the music, listen to it. I thoroughly enjoyed this film, and I couldn’t help but get some inspiration from the amazing music for future music therapy interventions.

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Enthusiasm and Energy During Music Time: Tips On How to Have an Orderly Session Without Diminishing Their Excitement

Some kiddos arrive to their session full of pep and raring to go! I often think to myself, “Wow, I wish I had half the energy of this child.” Here at Music Therapy Connections, I work with a lot of students and clients between the ages of 3-7 years old in individual and group settings. This age seems to bring a lot of energy, as well as joy and excitement for music!

Along with this enthusiasm often comes difficulty listening and following directions. This can lead to some not ideal, and even dangerous, situations. Thus, I have come to discover some effective ways to channel this energy into listening, respecting other participants, and following directions.

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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

Holiday Music!

I am sure all of you have your holiday list of music ready to go during this time of year. I started getting requests for Christmas music before Thanksgiving, which I suppose is quite common. I personally try to wait to listen to holiday music until after my Thanksgiving meal, but I will definitely break that rule if someone requests it. :)

The holiday season is definitely my favorite time of the year. There is so much joy to be experienced and to share with others. Lots of people have been waiting all year to hear their favorite holiday tune again. There is nothing else quite like singing a beloved holiday song with your group members and seeing the excitement in their eyes. 

It has been fun to see all of the suggestions I have gotten so far. Here are just some of the requests I have gotten from clients ranging in age from school age children to older adults:

  • Adeste Fideles
  • Angels We Have Heard on High
  • Frosty the Snowman
  • God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
  • Hallelujah (Pentatonix version)
  • Here Comes Santa Claus
  • It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas
  • Jingle Bells
  • Little Drummer Boy
  • O Holy Night
  • Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree
  • Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
  • Silent Night
  • Silver Bells
  • Up on the Housetop
  • Winter Wonderland

While my personal list of favorite holiday songs is much longer than this, it has been interesting to hear what my clients and students are most often wishing to sing. 

What holiday tunes do you get requests for most often? Let us know in the comments!

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