{Intern’s Corner} Week 13/14: “Finding My Inner Edna Mode”

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Hello Friends!

Welcome back to Intern’s Corner! I apologize for the silence; life got busy and before I knew it, week 14 was over!

So this week’s post is going to make up for the past two weeks! The theme for this week is finding your inner badass. (I’ve decided that mine’s going to be Edna Mode!)

Last week I spent my time reading Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life. As you all know, a running theme for myself these past four months (well, actually my whole existence) has been to learn how to stop self-criticizing, stop self-doubting and instead trust my instincts, knowledge, and skills to be the best version of myself.

This book resonated with me on so many levels. As I turned each page, I found myself agreeing with every example and piece of advice the author provided. At some point I started to picture a tiny, little Edna Mode bouncing around and yelling the contents of this book at me. (Can you just take a moment and imagine what this must have been like inside my head?!?)

Reading this book opened a whole new world of understanding for me. I began realizing qualities and ways of thinking that were holding me back and causing harm to my self-worth and self-concept. I could sit here and give a huge rundown of the book and provide all the knowledge, but I think there’s a benefit to enduring this journey on your own.

I high recommend reading this book whether or not you already feel like a badass at life. If you are conquering everything your heart desires, then that’s awesome and I’m genuinely excited for you! Go ahead and read the book as a reminder that you are awesome, you are amazing, and you are living your best life. If you don’t feel like your inner badass has shown through yet, then stop reading this blog, go to the nearest book store, purchase your very own copy, and START READING! If you need some more convincing, here’s a list of….

Jen’s Top 10 Secrets to Being a Badass:

Play Dumb

Jen describes “being in a rut” as a prison created by mind’s “false truths.” When we get in a rut, we start creating excuses as to why we can’t achieve what we desire. Some examples include, I’m to fat, I’ll never lose the weight. I’m not smart enough, I’ll never ace that class. My ideas are too dumb, they’ll never work…. And so and so forth. 

While we are trapped within our mind’s prison, the happiness, freedom, desires, and all the possibilities are thriving on the other side. Jen’s recommendation is to “act like a happy little idiot to blast yourself out. Come from a place of of blank, quasi-moronic possibility and question your “truths” like you know nothing about them.” She goes on to explain that by questioning these “false truths” you expose them for the  “imposters” that they are and then can begin to replace them with new and awesome experiences that can alter your reality for the better.

Leap Large

“Take risks. All the time. Big, hairy, scary ones.” Through this secret Jen explains that terrifying and thrilling feelings you get when making huge changes in your life are signs that you are on the right path. The road to badassery, as she calls it, is not an easy one and it’s not meant for the faint of heart. Embarking on this journey requires guts, tear apart your safety nets, and go WAY outside your comfort zone.

Trust your intuition because more often than not, it’s usually right! One of the biggest things I’ve learned through my internship is that when I run with my intuition and gut I usually end up having some amazing outcomes compared to when I overthink and analyze my decisions. I understand it’s a hard thing to do, especially when you’ve been taught your whole life that your actions matter, so be careful abot what you do.

“It’s that crucial moment where you must decide between leaping into the void or staying put in your comfy mediocrity that defines your reality.”

Listen to Yer Daddy

No this is not referring back to the parental figure that provided you love, support, and nourishments for the first 18 or so years of your life. Rather it’s talking about the word desire, which literally means “of the father”.  Jen explains that desires are “what make you uniquely who you are and they are what you were put on this planet to live out.”

Sacrificing your desires (what you love) for what  you “should” be doing is a painful act. Yes it may seem like the “smart” or “correct” but in the end you are blocking you true nature and are forcing yourself to be miserable.

“The more authentic you live your life, the happier and more successful, you will be.” 

Pay Attention, Please

Be fully present in the moment at all times. Constantly thinking about the past or what’s to come in the future leads to panic attacks, sickness, exhaustion, chest pains, vision problems and constant worry (well in my case at least).

Living in the moment requires time management skills, removal of distractions, understanding your desires, and commitment. “When you learn to focus on the present moment, on the task at hand, you not only offer yourself the opportunity to enjoy it more, and to be more productive, but you keep overwhelm at bay.”

Snooze Not, Lose Not

Accomplish your desires NOW! Do not use excuse like “I’m waiting for the right time or I’m saving the right amount of money or I want to lose more weight and gain more confidence” stop you from achieving your hearts desires. If you keep following those lines, then you will never accomplish anything.

“Done is better than perfect”

Go to the Spiritual Gym

“Your mindset (way of thinking) is a muscle and in order to live large and in charge, you’ve gotta stay in shape.”

Similar to going to the gym to become toned and lean, our way of thinking requires constant practice. I know first hand from experience that I have to constantly work at having a positive inner voice. I’m not saying that I’ve perfected this in all honesty I’m no where close to having my mindset where I want it to be. Tis why I’ve started reading more self-help books, I’ve started rekindling old hobbies and passions, and I ask for help from people that I trust and admire.

For years my personal mindset has been one of criticism, doubt, self-loathing, and self deprecation. It’s been thess past four months with the constant support and advice of my internship directors where I’ve been able to start breaking the ice that surrounds my way of thinking. It’s an exhausting process that has a lot stepping forward and jumping back, but I know it’s something that I need to do to make myself strong and healthy for not only my current and future clients, but for myself.

Do or Die

“Once you decide on something, demand yourself and the Universe that your will be manifested.”

DON’T EVER GIVE UP. Even when times get tough and your desires seem out of reach, don’t give up. Keep going, keep pushing, and keep striving.


Put your pride aside and learn to ask for help. I know it’s hard to do, I’m a person that hates asking for help and would rather do everything herself before doing so. But, do it. Ask someone for help, you never know the amazing advice, resources, and ideas they can provide you that may make your task at hand 10x easier.

“Go from hoping to asking and ye shall receive”

Believe Big

It sounds cheesy and corny but you can achieve anything you set your mind to. Walt Disney has this amazing quote that I ended up putting on my graduation hat:

“If you can dream it, you can do it.”

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There is so much truth in that. When you set your mind to something and if you truly believe in it, you will stop at nothing to achieve it. I mean think about some of the greatest achievers in human history and if they had listened to all the doubting and negativity around their brilliant ideas? We wouldn’t have planes or cars, we would have never gone outer space let alone the moon. We wouldn’t have the amazing technology that let’s communicate world wide in the split of a second!

“If you want to change your reality, believe in the vision you have for your life instead of whatever contrary evidence may be surrounding you at the moment.”

Enjoy the Ride

“Make the conscious choice to notice that which brings you joy and you will suddenly find yourself experiencing a whole lot more of it.”

ENJOY YOUR LIFE. Yes I understand there bills to pay, jobs to do, tasks to accomplish, and so on and so forth. The list is never ending, but if you forget to enjoy your life in the process you will miserable for the rest of your life. Breathe, enjoy, accomplish!

Love yourself

Whenever Jen would list advice or steps within her book, she would always end them with a final step directing you to “Love yourself”. So I thougth it would be fitting to go ahead and end this list as with that as well.

We live in a world and society that has taught us to hate every part of our being. We find reasons (weight, skin, religion, clothing, etc.) to justify why we are not good enough. I know that I’ve fallen victim to this way of thinking multiple times in my life. So many times in fact, that it became a daily way of thinking.

In the end I was the one who suffered the most. I wasn’t happy, I wasn’t accomplishing things, and I wasn’t living my life for me. Instead I was living for someone else.

Love yourself, give yourself grace, give yourself space, and know that that you that you are is awesome, unique, beautiful, and amazing in it’s own wonderful way. In the words of Dr. Seuss:

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So friends, if you found the above advice helpful, please go and read this book. It’s only going to do good things for your life. Read it as many times as you need to. I know that I’m personally going to type out the phrases and advice that resonated with me the most can carry them with me everyday.

I leave you with one more source of inspiration, it’s a song that I listen to when I need a good reminder for why I do what I love to do. I use it as a reminder that I need to live my life the way I want to, to make me happy, and for me to achieve my hearts desires.

Thank you for joining in on another week of my internship! I can’t believe I’m already halfway done! WOAH!!!! I hope you all have an amazing week, do all the amazing things, and go be the badass you are!


Music Therapy & Dementia: Improving Quality of Life and inspiring Memory Recall

I will never forget the first time I watched a patient with Alzheimer’s come to life again.

I was in a music therapy practicum and providing group music therapy services to a group of older adults with varying states of awareness in a residential home. Many of these residents had some form of dementia. One particular resident often enjoyed music therapy by looking downward toward the floor, and when asked, rarely recalled her own name.

That is, until the day we brought in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame”. It was like someone lit a candle within her and the light and warmth swelled up in her. She straightened her back, lifted her head, and look straight at me before taking a deep breath and singing every single word. I was taken aback. I couldn’t bring myself to stop playing, so I kept going back to the beginning again and again to hear her wise voice sing yet another time.

When we finally cadenced, I expected her to sink back into herself and retreat again, but that is not what happened. For a few moments she was present as she told an elaborate story of playing ball with her brothers. She recalled her hometown, her brothers’ names, and the great details of the trouble they got into together. She belly laughed and smiled for a short while before retreating again.

That day, I left knowing that we gave her a great gift.

For a short while she wasn’t another resident, she was herself again.

Music therapy is a great resource for individuals and families suffering with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Music therapists use techniques alongside client-preferred music to encourage vocalizing, verbalizing, eye contact, social interaction, orientation to time and their environment. In addition, specific groups can be organized to help support residents who experience sundowning. Sundowning occurs when residents experience a higher severity of symptoms and confusion later in the day.

In this video, a music therapy student describes a study she conducted on patients’ experience in mid to late stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, and the effect music therapy had on varying quality of life measurements. Watch the video to see her findings.

Here at Music Therapy Connections, our therapists provide therapeutic support for families and music therapy for individuals suffering with dementia or Alzheimer’s and its effects on their lives.

Our primary objective is to improve every individuals quality of life and provide them with an opportunity to express themselves regardless of their diagnosis or any other barriers.

If you know someone who would benefit from music therapy services you can register them below or email us at info@musictherapyconnections.org.

Adult Piano Lessons in Springfield, Illinois

{Intern’s Corner} Week 12: “Mad Hatter”

Intern's Corner - Mad Hatter

“I knew who I was this morning, but I have changed a few times since then.” 

~Alice in Wonderland

Hello Friends!!!

Welcome back to this week’s edition of the Intern’s Corner! This has been another really good week! I rapped for the first time in one of my Hope classrooms this week! Like, take a moment and imagine me…this girl who wears skirts and dresses on a daily basis, holding a guitar and rapping. But I survived and it went well! I also had an amazing moment with a patient this week that is probably going to go into my top five awesome moments!

During my supervision meeting this week, we continued a conversation that we’d been having on and off since the beginning of my internship. As you all know I’ve been going through a very huge journey of self-discovery over the past few months. One of the biggest things I’ve been learning about has been the various roles I have played and/or continue to play in my life and how they have shaped who I am as a person.

From this conversation I realized that as humans we wear so many different “hats” to achieve the various roles we take on in our daily lives. (see what I did there :). My internship directors are great examples of  this. In one day they switch between being business owners, therapists, supervisors, teachers, someone’s loved one, a friend, a parent, and a mentor…just to name a few.

So as a mini project I thought I would write down and figure out the various hats I wear on a daily basis. I then realized that it would make a really good blog post for the week!

” The Wonderful World of Rachel’s Mad Hats”
  • “Musician”: I started wearing this hat at the age of 4 when I had my first piano lesson. Since then this hat has been through multiple performances, rehearsals, and a wide variety of music related jobs. This hat is responsible for my love, my passion, and my future career!
  • “Student”: I’d like to say that I’m going to finally retire this hat in the next 4 “ish” months, but knowing me and how much I love to learn, I think this hat is going to make a few comebacks in my life! (Probably once I have two awesome letters (Dr.) before my name!).
  • “Older Sister”: I’m the oldest of three kids. Wearing this hat has taught me an immense amount of responsibility, love, and patience. It’s probably one of the hardest hats I’ve had to wear, but also one of the most rewarding hats I get to wear. Nothing beats getting to walk around and tell people about the amazing accomplishments your brother and sister have achieved in their lives. Granted it has put me in positions where my baby brother has put me on the ground, sat on me, and tickled me until he got what he wanted….but hey, I guess that’s part of the job description!
  • “Daughter”: I’m the oldest daughter to Indian immigrant parents. Because of the culture I’m from and hold the title of oldest daughter, this hat comes with it’s own set interesting responsibilities and expectations. This hat has definitely played a huge role in shaping me into the person I am today.
  • “Friend”: I take wearing this hat very seriously and take it to the next level. Being a true friend to someone is extremely important to me. When I’m someone’s friend I am all in and provide the best amount of care, love, and empathy that I can offer them. I have built some amazing friendships in my 22 years.
  • “Teacher”: I have worn this hat for pretty much half of my life. I started teaching when I was in 7th grade to the little girl who lived across the street. By the time I left for my internship I had a studio of about 15 students that I had grown to love and adore. Teaching has been a great experience in my life. It’s taught me patience, understanding, compassion, and also increased my love for music. I would never trade this hat for the world and I hope to continue wearing this hat for as long as I can.
  • “First Generation Immigrant”: I came to the states when I was 4. Yes, I technically spent the majority of my life growing up in the American culture, but I’ve also had the cool opportunity to blend and mix my Indian culture into my everyday life. It makes me who I am as a person and I couldn’t be prouder of it!
  • “Competitive Swimmer”: I was a competitive swimmer from age 8 all the way through high school. This is probably one of my most favorite hats I’ve ever worn. Through this experience I learned the value of teamwork, the importance of challenging yourself, and the benefits of showing dedication and working hard.
  • “Therapist”: I want to say this is a fairly new hat for me, but I’ve realized that I’ve worn this hat for a long time. I’ve always been the person that friends and family have always confided in. People do turn to me for advice and a listening ear almost on a daily basis. I guess I can say that this role is now transforming and growing with my internship. I’m fine tuning my skills and adding new techniques into my bag of tricks.

I really did enjoy my little side project throughout the week. Reflecting on the various roles I’ve played or continue to play in my life helped me learn even more about myself and who I am as a person. It helped highlight a lot of the strengths that I have to provide for my clients, students, family, and friends. I would highly suggest taking part in a similar activity. I think it’s important to know and understand the various roles you play in your life and how you effect others in those roles.

Along with figuring out my collections of hats this week I also ended up having a fun week dressing up as different Disney characters! I thought it all fit in well together with this week’s post, so I’ve included photos of my various outfits!!

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Thanks again for joining in! I hope you all have a wonderful week!


Teacher Feature: Kristi Lecocq

Teacher Feature: Kristi Lecocq

Kristi Lecocq has been teaching voice, piano, and guitar with Music Therapy Connections for a little over two years now, and just this fall joined our team of Listen & Learn class teachers! We love having Kristi as a member of our team and are so excited to share a little more about her in this month’s teacher feature! Check out what she shared about her musical background.

“I grew up in a very “von Trapp-esque” family. My parents, siblings, and I all sang in multiple choirs at church, and for several years we were even part of a larger community choral group called Festival Singers that performed around the St. Paul/Mpls area during the holiday season. Most of our extended family gatherings during my childhood incorporated some form of jam session or sing-along.

I earned a bachelor of music in commercial music (vocal emphasis) from Millikin University. After graduating, I moved to Nashville, TN to soak up the singer-songwriter life for a few years. I returned to central IL in 2001 and have been performing in local rock bands ever since. Bands included Blue Bus, Equinox, Pancake Supper, One-Eyed Red, Alligator Wine, and currently the original rock band, Fireside Relics, which released its second original album this past March. I was also an adjunct faculty member in Millikin’s music industry department from 2004-2009 and taught songwriting and vocal styles classes. I am also currently part of a Springfield musical duo called the Tater Tots that performs children’s music for sing-alongs, parties, and events.

Some memorable and unique musical experiences over my lifetime include: playing in the Rosemount MN High School Marching Band at the Metrodome for the 6th game of the 1991 World Series between the MN Twins and the Atlanta Braves; singing with the Millikin University Choir and Vocal Jazz Ensemble in Haiti and the Dominican Republic; singer-songwriter performances at the infamous Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, TN; a recording session two summers ago with my husband Scott (who is also a musician) and our two children at Sun Studio in Memphis, TN.

In addition to teaching voice, piano, guitar, and Listen & Learn classes at MTC, I also play the ukulele and the flute.”

Teacher Feature: Kristi Lecocq

Kristi also took the time to answer a few questions about her favorite things and share a couple fun fact about her personal life.

Favorite color: lime green

Favorite food: homemade egg sandwich + coffee & OJ (or most anything breakfast-related)

Favorite game: anything involving trivia

Favorite place to visit: Twin Cities to see my family and anywhere “up North” in MN, but especially the Boundary Waters

Favorite day of the week: Friday

Favorite non-musical activity: I’m a huge photograph nut. I love looking through old family photos, making photo books, and dabbling in photography, especially of my kids; I also enjoy being a “backstage mom” and “gymnastics mom,” volunteering at my children’s school with LEGO Club/library, and participating in political activism.

Weird talent: ??? I cannot think of a single one. My husband says I’m mundane! (I do shoot pool left-handed even though I’m a righty. Not sure that qualifies as “special.”)

We think Kristi is anything but mundane! She is a truly special part of MTC and we know all of her students agree. Let us know if you have a question for Kristi or if you are interested in filling one of her available lesson times.

Overcoming Chronic Pain: The Journey to Feeling Whole Again

Approximately 100 million Americans will suffer from chronic pain this year. That is compared to 25.8 million Americans who will suffer from Diabetes, 16.3 million Americans with Coronary Heart Disease, 7.0 million who will incur a stroke, and 11.9 million who will be diagnosed with Cancer (American Academy of Pain Medicine). The incidence of chronic pain is astronomical.

You may be wondering, what is chronic pain?

Chronic pain is any pain that lasts more than 12 weeks. Chronic pain may have an injury or cause associated like herniated or slipped spinal discs, major bodily injuries injuring nerves or nervous system responses, fibromyalgia, or they can have no apparent cause at all.

What are the common effects of chronic pain?

The most common effects of chronic pain include “fatigue, sleep disturbance, decreased appetite, and mood changes… reduced flexibility, strength, and stamina” which occur alongside the chronic pain and often lead to anxiety, depression, isolation, and senses of helplessness (Medline Plus).

Music Therapy Internship in Springfield, IL

This is my story, and how I am overcoming my chronic pain every day.

I was a 22 when I was diagnosed with my first slipped spinal disc. It was a lower back injury and very common. I sought some support from a chiropractor which alleviated much of my pain for the time being. When I was 23 I was diagnosed with my second slipped spinal disc, this time it was an upper back (cervical) injury. The pain was significantly worse and this time I tried medication. The muscle relaxers would help me sleep at night, but I hated the idea that I might need them long term, so I tried Physical Therapy. PT was a great therapeutic tool for me in reducing and managing my pain.

One month after I received my second diagnosis of a slipped spinal disc I saw my physician for my regular appointment.

For all of my life I have struggled with severe gut pain, food aversions, joint pain throughout my body and other minor health issues. In light of my pain, my physician started looking at the bigger picture and found that my body was working against me, instead of with me and she said the words “auto-immune disease”.

How I Got Through My Worst Year of Pain In The Best Way

  1. Understanding what triggered me- some of my pain triggers are weather related, but I noticed that I was often pushing my body too hard and creating injury on top of injury. I learned to give myself permission to step back and say no, not yet or no, not today.
  2. Safe, No Judgement Strength Building- My pain had made me almost entirely sedentary. By the time I had finished work I could barely move and would have shooting pains throughout my legs, back, arms, neck, and stiffness in my hands and feet. I started small. I walked around the block one time, then twice, then I jogged, then I ran. This momentum led to biking, and now I lift weights- yes weights!  When I lost muscle tone it was difficult to do anything. Now I have the strength to safely lift and carry my groceries without causing nerve and joint pain.
  3. Openness to treatments- Try diet modification, massages, essential oils, light exercise, chiropractic care, physical therapy, music therapy, try everything! See what works and what makes you feel even the slightest bit better and continue with those things.
  4. Using My Coping Skills- This is where things started to shift. I noticed that after 6 months my pain was decreasing and becoming much more manageable, but there was something that felt looming over my health journey- my mental health. I, like many people, have always struggled with anxiety and managing that can be very difficult. When I feel it becoming overwhelming I use a few simple coping skills. I like to meditate, read, retreat from social environments for a short time, or call someone I trust and love. These things decrease the weight of my stress and help fight loneliness and despair.
  5. Taking Care of Myself- Practice self love! You only have one body, so many days, and so many nights. At one point I had to choose whether I wanted to hate the body I was given and the pain it causes, or whether I was going to love the body I was given and the days and moments it gives me. We aren’t given many choices in life, but this one is yours!
  6. I Gave Myself the Gift of Patience- This was the hardest part. At one point I remember crying as I was talking with my husband on the phone saying “Im doing everything right I just want the pain to be gone and be done with it”. Healing doesn’t happen immediately, or steadily. It doesn’t always move forward, sometimes we backslide. This one was the toughest: though it may decrease, it may never be completely gone from my life. I had to learn the hard way to give myself and my body patience. No expectations. Every minute with no pain is a gift and every day is still a good day, because my pain can’t take that from me.

In January of 2015 my pain was almost unbearable. I could barely make it through a work day without crying. Now I would say 6/7 days are good days with minimal and manageable pain. I feel like I took my life back.

Over time I modified my diet, started taking multivitamins, started walking, then running, then biking, and finally, I got a gym membership. I get massages when I can to reduce the tension I am placing on my body. But most importantly, I started taking care of my mental health. I was able to use some of my favorite music therapy techniques to help myself in my own time of need during this difficult journey and what a difference it made! I specifically use relaxation, meditation, and song analysis techniques to create a sense of peace and comfort where I may not have that otherwise.

As a music therapist I tailor our therapeutic services to each individual’s particular background and ever-changing and varying needs. These are just some techniques shown to help those with chronic pain.

  • Music Assisted Relaxation- A relaxation technique used to engage and relax the mind.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation- A relaxation technique used to isolate muscles and relax them independently.
  • Song Analysis- In this technique we break down a given song and discuss some of its inner workings to process it more deeply.
  • Development of Coping Skills- This is wide reaching and often addressed throughout sessions. Coping skills are essential to processing the world around us without feeling overwhelmed.
  • Songwriting- Writing ones own song is a detailed act of self-expression. With the support of the therapist clients can write and even record their own songs.

If you or someone you know suffers from chronic pain and may benefit from music therapy services please send them a link to this blog post or register below.

Wishing you all a blessed day.

Adult Piano Lessons in Springfield, Illinois

{Intern’s Corner} Week 11: “Dig A Little Deeper”

Welcome Back Friends!

Thanks for joining in on week 11! This week started off a little rocky but then ended pretty well! Monday was an alright day; things were fine up until the end of the day at the hospital. I received a message that basically made me shut down. It affected me and put me in a really bad and anxious mood. That night I worked even harder to get my work done and attempted to sleep. I kept tossing and turning through the night and didn’t have a very restful sleep.

The next day, I woke with my anxiety going through the roof and my head throbbing from not getting enough sleep. I messaged my directors, explained the situation, and asked if I could take a mental health day. Rather than saying yes, my directors requested that I still come in. They understood that what I was going through was tough, but they said that I have a responsibility to my clients. They also said that I have the three of them as support, so I wouldn’t be going through the day by myself.

The first two thoughts that went through my head:

  1. “Rachel, you idiot! Why did you do that! You know you have clients that have to be taken care of, this isn’t school, this is your job. You don’t get to pick and choose.”
  2. “Rachel, you idiot! Good job, now by asking that you’ve probably disappointed your directors. Way to go!

I went into my self-criticizing mode and honestly didn’t help my anxiety at all. The day went by alright. My energy was low but I made it through sessions. The whole morning I was worried about how my supervision meeting was going to go. Like I mentioned a few posts ago, I like receiving criticism; I genuinely want to get better at whatever I’m doing, but internally my mind doesn’t handle it well. (I’m working on it, I promise!)

My supervision meeting went better than I thought it was. I actually made it through rep check (which I didn’t feel ready for) and we had a good conversation about my message from earlier in the morning.  There were some things that were really hard to hear. Again, I don’t like when I disappoint. But they were things I needed to hear. In all honesty it was a good butt kicking that needed to happen to get my self back on track.

This journey of self-discovery decided to happen right before my internship (perfect timing!) and continues to happen as I go through my internship. It’s been an interesting ride. There has been a lot of ups, downs, realizations, and discoveries. There has also been a lot hard work trying to rewire and retrain my brain from years and years of self-doubt, self-criticism, and self-loathing. 

This journey has been rough. There are days where things are so clear and everything makes sense and I feel so empowered. And then there are days where I feel like someone catapulted me off a cliff and I’m endlessly falling.

One of the biggest things I took away this week was the fact that these bad days happen. We can’t run away from them and instead we need to face them head strong. We have to “dig a little deeper” for that energy, but we need to do it. The jobs that we do — whether it’s being a therapist, doctors, engineer, teacher, etc. — they matter to someone else. The work that we do benefits others, and if we don’t do it, then those same people lose out, which isn’t fair.

My directors have been some of the biggest and best examples of how to be there for your clients even when days are extremely hard and tough. I have seen all three of them be complete superheroes for their clients, when sometimes they themselves needed their own superheroes to get through the day.

So when you’re having a hard day, here are a few suggestions of things you can do:

  1. Take a breath: Take a few deep breaths in (and out of course, don’t hold that stuff in…it makes you light headed!). Calm yourself down and clear your mind so you can think.
  2. Listen to Daniel Powter’s song “Bad Day” incase you need some affirmation for how you are feeling.
  4. Have a list of coping skills ready
  5. Be realistic: Come up with a list of things that you know you can realistically accomplish for the rest of the day. If there things you can’t do it’s fine, you always have tomorrow.
  6. Take a moment to remind yourself why you do what you do.
  7. Eat lots of food ( if you’re on a diet…it’s okay… you’ll survive)
  8. Create the “I’m having a bad” music playlist that may probably consist of a lot angsty, angry, hard core, music…that’s okay!
  9. Communicate with others: talk to someone you trust, let them know what’s going on and be honest with them with what you need to help you get through the day.
  10. Unplug: yes social media is good but sometimes it can be the cause of a bad day…..so SHUT IT DOWN!
  11. Watch a lot of funny, derpy, animal videos. (I do this on a daily basis even when it’s a good day. I think this is should be added on a list of “How to live a healthy life..”
  12. Cherish the good things that do happen…even if it’s a few.

After Tuesday, the rest of my week was fairly good. I had good sessions and I learned lots of fun new things! I ended the week by going to a pumpkin patch with my directors! IT WAS AWESOME!! I may or may not have bought too many pumpkins and then went back home and decorated the outside of my apartment. (Yes I live in an apartment and I decorated the outside…I don’t care…the neighbors can just enjoy it or deal with it!)

Since I mentioned it up above, I’ve included a link to Daniel Powter’s song in case you need a blast from the past!

I’ve also included pictures of my fun escape at the pumpkin patch today! I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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What Can A Studio Do For Me?

Music Therapy Connections | Music Studio in Springfield, IL

If you’re asking this question, then you’re in the right place! First, let’s chat about the difference between a studio and individual lesson providers.

Individual providers offer lessons, often out of a small location or home studio, to developing musicians studying one or more instruments.

Whereas a studio, like Music Therapy Connections offers lessons from many teachers with different backgrounds, specialties, and instrumental experience. Because we have so many fantastic teachers, we are able to offer ukulele, voice, piano, and guitar lessons ranging from traditional and classical to nontraditional lessons and all along that spectrum.

We love that we can talk with a new student and find his or her right “fit”. We want our students to work with a teacher who best suits their needs, style, and goals. As students grow and develop, they sometimes benefit from a new teacher, either for a fresh start or a new challenge. What is most wonderful is that our students at MTC have options!

We are a team at Music Therapy Connections, and more than anything we hope to instill the love of music into the lives of the people of Springfield and beyond!

Do you know someone who would benefit from an individualized lesson teacher? Register below!

Register here!

{Intern’s Corner} Week 10: “Someday”

Intern's Corner - Week 10

Hello friends!

Thank you for joining in on this week’s update of Intern’s Corner! This week as been an interesting week. For some reason I’ve been in a really weird mood all week and can’t really explain why. Honestly, it was a struggle to get out of bed every morning and by the end of my day I was extremely exhausted and completely brain dead.

Now, don’t get me wrong: therapeutically, things were going really well. I was leading more sessions, I was proud of most of my skills, and I felt like I was being an effective therapist. I especially had some great moments at the hospital this week.

Granted I spent both days working with the same patient for the majority of my time at the hospital. But in that time I was able to experience a dressing change, the removal of an NG tube, and co-treated/observed Physical therapy. The greatest thing in each of these scenarios was that I was able to contribute my skills to help the patient. Since I had already built rapport with this client, I was able to use my knowledge to help keep this patient calm during procedures and provide motivation during his physical therapy.

My two favorite moments from all these experiences were:

  1. The patient smiling, having fun, and accomplishing his goals!
  2. The physical therapist telling me that she was really glad to have me in the session. She said my presence was extremely helpful and effective and then she thanked me! YAS COTREATING WITH COWORKERS!

Thursday was another great day working with this patient. We had a great music therapy session followed by an awesome physical therapy session. My patient was also getting discharged.

It was also a sad day for a variety of reasons. Now due to patient confidentiality I can’t share too many details, but one of the reasons it was a sad day for me was that I was losing my little buddy that I had been working with for so many weeks. But my patient was leaving for a good reason and I couldn’t have been happier for them.

Since this week was emotionally taxing, I decided to amp up my self care for the week and went into an intensive mode which may or may not have included an entire large bag of pizza rolls. I mean, no one was keep track, so no one REALLY knows.

As I was sitting down on Thursday night going through myself care routine and processing my day/week, I made a few realizations:

  1. I freaking love my job: After debriefing about the patient I had worked with all week, my director asked me “How does that make you feel about your decision to become a music therapist?” I instantaneously responded that I was proud of it, I loved it, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.
  2. This week was the feast of St. Francis of Assisi: Yes St. Cecilia (patron saint of music) is who I chose as my confirmation name, but St. Francis also plays a strong role in who I am as a person. He is one of my all time favorite saints! His prayer talks about being the peace, the understanding, the love, and the care that someone else might need in their life. I really do try to live my life through this prayer and I think this week especially I was channeling this prayer even more. (I’ve shared the prayer at the end of this post, if you are interested.)
  3. Sunday’s tragic event in Las Vegas really broke my heart: It hurts to hear news like that and then it angers me that other people then begin arguing and fighting over all the wrong things. People lost their lives, people lost loved ones, people were scared, and people were hurt. There is no argument that can ever justify those outcomes, ever. It  also made me realize that sometimes life just sucks. It throws so many curve balls at you and makes you go through so many loop holes. But we as humans have this amazing ability to overcome those struggles and strive towards making the world a better place. It takes time and it takes a lot of hard work, but in the end it is completely worth it.

One of my directors wrote a blog post following the tragedy and in it she stated that one of the most important things we can do is to keep making the music. My favorite comment that she made was:

” In the face of tragedy, we still make music. Not because we should, but because we must.”


Her comment reminded me of one of my favorite sayings that I have hanging up in my room which is

“Where words fail, music speaks.”

This statement is true to so many people. It’s also something that shows why my profession is so effect. Music as such a powerful way of conveying feelings and emotions that sometimes our words don’t have enough power to describe. So to end my blog for this week, I share with you two things that I hold close to my heart.

One a prayer, and one a song. My favorite lyric from the song says that, “we will wish upon the moon.” I know some of you are thinking, “why not wish upon the stars, that’s what we usually do.” But think about it: stars have a lifespan. At some point this ball of gas explodes and is done, but the moon is forever. So close your eyes, really listen, and take a moment to imagine and wish for a better world.

Prayer of St. Francis

Lord make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon
Where there is doubt, faith
Where there is despair, hope
Where there is sadness, joy
O divine master grant that I may
Not so much seek to be consoled as to console
To be understood as to understand
To be loved as to love
For it is in giving that we receive
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned
And it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

I hope you all have an amazing week. Show compassion, be loving, care for another, be kind, and always strive for a better tomorrow.


We Will Still Make Music

I had originally planned to write about something entirely different… until I woke up this morning.

I heard the news about the tragedy in Las Vegas and my heart broke. After seeing the news on my phone, I noticed the time and that I had to leave soon. I made my tea and left for the gym as I always do on Mondays. I started on the treadmill, eyes glued to the live coverage in front of me. When my time was up at 8:30, I left for work.

As most of us do, I felt stoic, overwhelmed, and deeply saddened by the happenings in Vegas but when I arrived at my first classroom, my first set of clients, my first room of people we made music together. It was fun; we laughed, redirected behavior, and laughed some more.

Then at the end of that session, an adult and fellow professional in the room simply said “thank you for music”. That was it. What can I do? I can make more music. I need to make more music.

For clients and students- we will still make music

For celebrations and festivals- we will still make music

For lullabies to a newborn- we will still make music

For weddings and love- we will still make music

For memories, dancing, and joy- we will still make music

In the face of tragedy- we will still make music

Not because we should, but because we must.

{Intern’s Corner} Week 9: “Know Who You Are”

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Hello Friends!

Welcome back to Intern’s Corner! Thank you for joining me as I complete week 9 of my internship! I can’t believe I’ve already finished week one of month three!!! Time is flying so fast! This past week has been really good! Yes, as usual there were ups, downs, and frustrations, but like I’ve said before, without them I can’t learn how to become better.

Trying to figure out what I wanted to blog about this week was kind of a struggle. As I thought back through my week, a conversation with two of my directors stuck out to me. After a frustrating day with a client, my director sat me down and debriefed with me. During the conversation she made a comment that the criticism that is given to me comes from a place of love and care.

As much as I love constructive criticism, it is something that is really challenging for me to deal with. Meaning, I take in the feedback and then become extremely critical of myself. When things are pointed out, I get mad and frustrated at myself for messing up — even the tiniest of things. That’s the perfectionist in me.

Back in high school, I took two psych classes during which our teacher had us take personality tests. When I took the test back then, I had been placed in the INFJ, -A/-T  (Introverted, Intuitive, Feeling, Judging, Assertive, Turbulent) grouping. I decided to retake the test to see if I was still in that group or if maybe things had changed over the past 6 years.

While I was working one of my weekend jobs, I re-took the test whenever there was down time. Word of advice: don’t multi task when taking a personality test because you lose your train of thought and in all honesty, your results won’t be too accurate. When I finished the test, I found out that I had been regrouped into the ENFJ group.

To be honest, I wasn’t completely thrilled about this. As I read through the descriptions of this personality type, I did agree with a lot of what was being said but there were times where I was like, “ummm, no.” So before writing this blog, I sat down, focused and took the test again! And guess what!? I truly am an INFJ personality.

So, as a way for you all to get to know me a little better I thought I would give you all a summary of my personality type! (P.S. some of my own comments are in there!)

INFJ Personality Type: “The Advocate”

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  • 53% Introverted/ 47% Extroverted
  • 52% Intuition/ 48% Observant
  • 24% Thinking/ 76% Feeling
  • 67% Judging/ 33% Prospecting
  • 47% Assertive/ 53% Turbulent

Quick Facts about “The Advocate”

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  • Members of the Diplomat Role Group that have an “inborn sense of idealism and morality” and are “capable of taking concrete steps to realize their goals and make a lasting positive impact.
  • Advocates see helping others as their purpose in life and have a real passion to get to the heart of an issue so that people don’t have to be “rescued” at all.  (good thing I’m becoming a music therapist then!)
  • Act with creativity, imagination, conviction, and sensitivity to create balance. (AGAIN! Good thing I’m becoming a music therapist!)
  • Advocates must remember to take care of themselves; their passions can take them past a breaking point finding themselves exhausted, unhealthy, and stressed. (OH man guess who wrote an entire blog on SELF-CARE!?!!)
  • Other advocate personalities include: Martin Luther King. Nelson Mandela, St. Mother Teresa, Nicole Kidman, Jimmy Carter, and more.
  • Fun fact: My friends used to call me Pocahontas in high school; granted it was for my super long hair…but hey!



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  • Creative (Well duh)
  • Insightful (again, duh)
  • Inspiring and Convincing
  • Decisive (I mean I’m extremely indecisive when it comes to picking out the restaurant I want to eat at, but ask me about some bigger decisions and I usually have an idea as to what I want. )
  • Determined and Passionate ( oh that’s why I’m was always up until like 3 am working inn high school and college!)
  • Altruistic



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  • Sensitive
    • This one really stuck out to me when reading the description. It said that I am highly vulnerable to criticism and conflict. When I thought about this past week and some other occasions in the past I realized how true this was for me.
  • Extremely Private
  • Perfectionistic (THIS IS ME!!!)
  • Always need to have a cause
  • Can burn out easily

The profile continues onto to describe this personality type behaviors within romantic relationships, friendships, parenthood, work habits, and career paths. It then provides a conclusion about the personality type and opportunities to learn even more. (Of course which requires you to pay money…so I just stuck with the free version!)

So you are all probably thinking, “Rachel, why did you write an entire blog on your personality?!?! This was kind of boring and useless. Come on!” Well here’s my point. As I was thinking about how I was going to title this blog, I got a little worried because I didn’t think I was going to be able to make it Disney related (shocker! I know!). But then I remembered my absolute favorite scene from Moana.

In this scene Moana is facing Te Ka who is extremely enraged and has already damaged Maui’s magical fishhook. Te ka starts charging towards Moana full of anger, rage, and ready to destroy. Moana instead of cowering away and showing fear, stands tall and walks calmly towards Te Ka, closing the gap between them even faster.

As she is walking, Moana sings the following words:

I have crossed the horizon to find you
I know your name
They have stolen the heart from inside you
But this does not define you
This is not who you are
You know who you are

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I don’t want to give too many spoilers about the movie for those who still haven’t seen it, so go watch it! The first time I watched this movie at my friends place, I secretly cried to myself. I hid my face with the blanket and tried to make my wiping of tears a “I’m just itching my face” gesture. I was embarrassed and didn’t want my friend knowing that I was crying. This scene and the song really speaks to me and where I’m at in my life right now.

Leading up to my internship, my entire world was turned upside down. I was dealing with a lot of things and lost who I truly was in my heart. To be completely honest, not everything has resolved and it’s been a very long and hard journey trying to find myself again, but I’m getting there slowly. Something that has helped has been learning who I truly am as a person. In the past I had let so many people control me that I didn’t know what I truly wanted, I just thought this is how I’m supposed to be.

Through my internship and the help and guidance of my internship directors, I’ve been slowly finding my true self again. Taking this personality test really did give me a good insight about somethings that I didn’t know about myself. I think it’s really important for each one of us to truly know as much as we can about ourselves so that we can be the best version of ourselves. Now I’m not saying that the personality type you get and the descriptions are the law and that’s what you have to stick with, but it’s a good guidance that needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

My journey to finding myself again has been long and extremely hard and I know I still have a long way to go, but I also know that it is going to be completely worth it in the end. One of my favorite people in this entire world is St. Mother Teresa, who — get this — is also known as “The Advocate” personality. My favorite quote from her is: “Do small things with great love”. I try and follow this everyday and I have wonderful reminders of it. I’ve got to wall hangings and a notebook that were gifted by friends.

If you would like to find out your personality type and learn more about yourself I’ve included the website at the end of this blog. So friends, there you have it, that’s week 9 for you in somewhat of a nutshell. (Lies…this was more like a mini book! Sorry!)

I hope you all have a wonderful week and please remember: always do what you love and don’t be afraid to learn and understand things about yourself. What matters is what you do with that information, if you use it the right way, not only will you benefit from it but so will everyone that encounters you!

Have a wonderful week!