I hope you have had a wonderful week! This is my final blog post as an intern. Throughout this past week, I have experiences both excitement, sadness, and amazement.
During my first week as an intern, I created three goals for myself. Halfway through, I gave you all an update on my progress on these goals. I thought it only fitting I give you all a final update on my internship goals.
1. I will not let my anxieties and nerves get in the way of my growth.
Throughout my internship, anxiety has been a challenge I have worked hard to overcome. Although I still deal with it each day, I have not let it hinder my growth. I have become much more confident in my abilities and walk into each situation with more confidence than I ever could have before. As my grandma told me, I am “no longer the scared chicken who was afraid of her own shadow.” I am amazed with how much I have grown as a therapist, a professional, and a person with the support from the MTC team.
2. I will fully prepare for each day as best I can physically, mentally, and emotionally.
Although there were some days that I felt I was taking the day one hour at a time, I have improved on preparing myself. Since my first week as an intern, I have improved my diet, water intake, sleep schedule, and self care routines. While I am still no where near where I want to be, I have seen significant improvement over the past few months. I have felt more prepared for my day more often than I did during undergrad. I hope to continue working on this area moving forward to further better myself for my clients and team.
3. I will force myself to step outside of my comfort zone in all aspects that arise.
There have been many opportunities for me to step outside of my comfort zone throughout this journey. There are many things that I never thought I would have done when I started back in October. I never would have imagine I would lead a successful drum circle nor do a Facebook Live event. Both events were extremely out of my comfort zone but I pushed myself to do my best and learned a lot about myself. As I continue on a new journey as a profession, I will continue to find ways to step outside of my comfort zone. Who knows what else I’ll learn?
For those of you who have been following my journey, thank you for your support! Prior to internship, I had never written for a blog before. With each week, I became more comfortable sharing my thoughts with you. I have appreciated all the feedback I have received throughout this journey. Thank you for reading my thoughts each week!
I would also like to say a special thank you to my professors and instructors who taught me everything during my undergrad. At the end of my senior year, you told my class that we belong among the wild flowers. We would thrive no matter where we are. Although there were rough moments and hard challenges, I could not have made it this far without your guidance.
Lastly, I would like to say thank you to the team here at MTC. From day one, you pushed me in every aspect to improve myself and my skills. Thank you for both the tough conversations and the constant support over the past few months. I couldn’t have made it this far without you all!
Moving forward, I have the opportunity to continue working for this amazing team! I cannot wait to see what the future has in store for me!
I hope you have all had a fantastic week and have found time for yourself. This week, I completed my second-to-last assignment as an intern! This assignment consisted of reading and reviewing a book that would improve myself. I chose to read Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, with the suggestion from my supervisor. This week, I thought I would share some of the eye-opening revelations I learned from this book.
One thing that especially stood out to me while reading this book was the idea of giving yourself permission. Permission to exist, to take up space, to make mistakes, to take chances, or to be creative. Oftentimes we can be halted in our endeavor to grow or create because we may not feel as though we deserve to.
Throughout this book, Gilbert described Inspiration and Creativity as a magical force that goes through the universe looking for a suitable partner to bring it to life. These ideas go around in search of someone who is willing to work with inspiration to create something beautiful. When an idea pops in your head while you are driving or washing dishes, that may be inspiration paying you a visit. Will you answer the call?
Courage can make or break your success. Pushing through your fears is no easy task but it can be the difference between reaching your dreams or letting those dreams pass you by. No one ever said success was easy. In fact, fear can be your compass towards growth. Are you willing to push through and see what’s in store?
In addition to courage, we have to be persistent in our efforts. Very rarely will you ever be successful on the first try. As many of my professors told me, practice makes progress. The only way to reach your goals is to keep moving forward, no matter what.
Creative Living is the most rewarding way to live. When life becomes challenging, what do you turn to for a distraction or for relief? Music? Television? Books? Each of these are products of creative living. We as humans have the opportunity to spend our lives creating. Why not do just that?
When choosing to live creatively, you open up a world of possibilities. The most important aspect of creating is to create for you. Not for you possible viewers, readers, or consumers but for you. If someone else benefits or enjoys your creation, great! But it’s more than okay to simply create something because you enjoy it.
This week, I encourage you all to find a way to live creatively. You may not have the art skills of Picasso or the musical skills of Mozart, but as long as you enjoy it, that is the only thing that matters. This week, I might try to continue embroidery or crafting. What will you try?
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week.
Hello everyone! I hope you have all had a fantastic week!
This week, I stepped out of my comfort zone and did something new. I did a Facebook Live Event! This was not something I EVER thought that I would do. I especially never thought I would enjoy it to any degree.
In planning and implementing this event, I discovered a few things that helped make the process a bit easier. With social media becoming more and more important in branding and getting your company name out there, I though I would share a few of my tips and tricks that I discovered.
Make a Plan
Because you will be live, it is important to have a plan. What will you do to fill the silence? What will you do to entice viewers to watch? More importantly, what will you do to KEEP the viewers watching? For me, I chose to select and prepare a few songs that would be widely enjoyed by the adult population. I also selected a song for families for those who may have children watching. This allowed my to continue the flow and keep it fun!
Don’t Rely on Your Plan
With these event being live and real-time, you want to make sure that you are engaging with your audience. Depending on what your intent for the video is, you may engage and change your plan based on your viewers. While I used my prepared songs, I took time to answer viewer questions, as well as engaged with comments about the songs or events. The plan is there for only if you have little to no engagement from the audience.
Think of Your Set
An important aspect of your video is the set. The background should be visually pleasing and enticing. The background should add to your video without taking any attention from you. It can be difficult to find the balance. Important components include the lighting, background decor, and placement of your camera. What would you enjoy seeing in a video?
Facebook Lives by nature are best when you have an active audience to engage with! The best way to ensure this is to invite others. Make a few posts or tell your family and/or friends. Encourage those you know will come to lead by example by asking questions or make comments. This will encourage others who join to follow and will in-turn, make your event much more exciting to watch.
Just Keep Talking
The most awkward part of a video is watching someone stand in silence. It is important to fill those moments with something, be that music, talking, or making jokes. If you can’t think of anything to say, reintroduce yourself and the event to those who joined later in the video! No matter what, just keep talking.
The most important part of leading an event of any type is to just have fun. If you are smiling, moving, and have high energy, your viewers will be more engaged and likely to stay on. Find ways to include a bit of yourself in your events! It can be as simple as adding in jokes, common phrases, or briefly discussing something you enjoy. Just have fun!
Although I am in no rush to lead another Facebook Live event anytime soon, I am more open to it than I ever thought I would be. One of my goals for my intern-self was to try new things. In the past two weeks, I certainly have between my drum circle and my Facebook live events. I hope to continue trying new things and pushing myself to try new things in my professional life!
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week.
As I near the end of my internship, I am beginning to reflect back to my senior year of undergrad. I had begun my search for an internship site while still finishing up my coursework. This was a terrifying task and I felt as though I had no clue where to start or how to navigate this process.
Set a schedule for yourself! Give yourself deadlines for when you want to choose where you will apply, when you will put together the materials needed for these applications, or when you want to aim for your first interview. While many of these dates are out of control at the start, these deadlines will help keep you on track.
Know What You Want
Looking for ideal internship cites can be overwhelming. There are a number of factors to consider including location, setting, population, supervision styles, housing, and more. Before you begin searching, make a list of what is most important to you in an internship cite. This will help you narrow down your search.
It is important to keep in mind that you are looking for a good fit, not a perfect fit. Know what aspects are non-negotiable versus what you are willing to give up. Is it more important for you to be near family for a place to stay? Or to have the opportunity to work with the population you enjoy most?
Prepare and Practice for Interviews
Interviews are one of the most important aspects of the process. When preparing, remember that it is a two-way interview. While your potential supervisor(s) are determining if you would be a good fit for their team, you should be determining if you would enjoy joining their team. Prepare and practice both questions you might be asked and questions you would like to ask. Make your first impression a good one!
Don’t Let Fear Get in the Way
It can be scary looking at the next chapter in your life. It’s okay and normal to be scared or nervous about what is to come. However, it is important to not let these fears hinder you from opportunities, experiences, and growth. As I stated in my first blog post, “Fear, uncertainty and discomfort are your compass towards growth.” (Celestine Chua).
I hope that these tips help you in starting the new chapters in your life. Remember that you are not alone and have those around you that can help you out. You will do great things!
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week!
I hope you have had a wonderful week and have been staying dry during these storms. One of my favorite things to do is listen to the rain while reading, painting, or watching TV. The rain brings me a sense of peace.
As much as I love rain, it can be a bit of an inconvenience at times. I have been planning a drum circle event for the team at MTC over the past few weeks. My initial plan was do play outside in the parking lot to encourage social distancing and enjoy the fresh air. As the date gets closer, the projection of rain has yet to go away. As such, I am working to plan a back-up in case the weather is not conducive for outdoor drumming.
There are a number of things that go into planning an event that can be overwhelming at the start. This has been the first event that I have planned myself. In the past, I have had committees and team members to help cover some of the responsibilities. This time, I am in charge of everything.
Who, What, When, Where?
The first step in planning an event is deciding what type of event you would like to plan and who will be in attendance. Next, you need to decide when and where this event will take place. For my drum circle, I knew the what and who but I needed to know when would be best for the MTC team. I sent out a google form with time options and selected the time that worked best for the majority of the team.
The next step is figuring out why people should come to your event. What will be provided? Why is it important to attend? What will the attendees gain from coming? For my event, I created a flyer with a fun picture, brief information, and the reason for coming. Drum circles are a fun way to spend time with your co-workers and take a step back to simply enjoy making music together.
The Game Plan
One of the most important parts about planning an event is planning the event. This part is the most time-consuming part of the process. To plan the most effective event, it can be beneficial to do research and/or ask professionals. For my drum circle, I researched important things to include in a drum circle and how to be an efficient drum circle leader. I also set up a meeting with someone who leads drum circles as a living. These experiences provided me valuable knowledge to best plan a drum circle.
The last aspect of planning an event is setting up. They type of event you are preparing will determine how long your set-up time can take. It is important to make a plan of action for when you set up your event so that you make sure you have everything prepared. For my event, I must plan how many drums or instruments are needed, how many chairs, and gather plenty of glow sticks.
Planning and event can be overwhelming and stressful but breaking it down into smaller stages can help make it manageable. I personally do best with “To-Do” lists that I can check items off as they are completed. I hope that this helps you determine how to plan your next event!
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week!
I hope you have all had a wonderful week full of opportunities and excitement! This week, I have been working on putting together a list of apps that are beneficial for music therapy. Finding ways to incorporate technology into sessions can provide further opportunities for success for our clients. This week, I would like to share a few apps I have found that have be beneficial for my clients and a few that I plan to start using!
Guitar Tab is where I store the majority of my music. With the free version, I am able to save songs to my library, create client playlists, simply or transpose songs, and use auto scroll while playing! Additionally, there is an option to listen to a recording of the song while viewing the tabs. I use this app multiple times each day.
This is a user-friendly music recording app. With this, I am able to plug in a microphone (I use the yeti snowball), a keyboard, or any other electric instruments and record multiple tracks. GarageBand can be used to record your own music, music created for clients, or even client created music!
Much like GarageBand, iMove is a user-friendly program that allows you to edits videos that you can later upload to various platforms. This program comes with backgrounds, transitions, titles, and more! A benefit of this program is that you can include images in your videos to give further support to those watching the video.
IncrediBox and SoundForest
Both of these apps are musical games in which clients can create their own music while working on a variety of skills. With a few of my clients, I am able to work on identifying colors and shapes, counting, following directions, and decision making. These apps also provide an opportunity for creative expression.
Sono Flex Lite, Visuals2Go, or Card Talk
Some clients I see are non-verbal and use other forms of communication. These three apps are free that I can download and use to better understand the communication devices my clients may use. While most students who use AAC’s will have their own devices, these apps can give us as therapist more insight for if/when families ask us information about AAC’s.
Dropbox has been a lifesaver since the start of my internship. I am able to store and share resources including sheet music, song recordings, and facilitation guides. With the free version, I am able to store up to 2GB of storage. So far, this has been enough space for my needs.
I hope this list was insightful in the use of apps and technology in a music therapy setting! Thanks for reading!
This week, we have had beautiful weather here in Springfield, Illinois! I hope you have had the opportunity to get outside and enjoy the sunshine. During my supervision this week, the team and I brought bean bags and sat outside in the parking lot! This was certainly an enjoyable experience.
A few weeks ago, I helped my supervisor change the strings on the guitars in the office. Prior to this, I had only changed guitar strings once. We grabbed the guitars, the new strings, the tools, and pulled up a YouTube video to follow. After successfully changing the strings, the quality of sound improved significantly. For many of our other instruments, we clean them after each use. For instruments that we use less often, we store them in a safe place to keep them organized and protected.
For many of my sessions, I used visuals for a variety of uses including to provide a sense of structure, provide opportunities for communication, and to include an additional form of sensory input. During my undergraduate practicum, I colored all my visuals. Thankfully, I now have access to a color-printer, cutting the time it takes to create visuals down significantly. The best part about making visuals is the lamination process. This is especially beneficial as it allows my visuals to last much long.
As a music therapist, I have quite a bit of paperwork I am required to fill out each day. After each session, I document how my clients did with their specific goals/objectives as well as write down important details that occurred. This documentation process can look different in different settings. In addition to this daily paperwork, I write up a Progress Report on each client for the treatment period. The paperwork of this profession can be the most challenging aspect for many music therapists.
A big part of music therapy is using what you have and using your materials creatively. When working as a contracting music therapist, you may need to request materials from the company. In order to do this, you need to establish a budget and find the most efficient way to use these funds. This is a skill that is extremely beneficial, whether you are in private practice, contracted, a full-time employee, or any other setting you may be in.
Practice, Practice, Practice
One of the biggest aspects of music therapy is knowing a wide range of music. As a music therapist, I may not know if my client enjoys Dolly Parton, Kanye West, or ACDC. Because of this, it is important to know as much music as possible. I am constantly learning new music each week. A music therapist can never know too much music!
There is so much that goes on behind the scenes in the music therapy career. Throughout my internship, I have had the opportunity to gain a better understanding of some of the skills required to be a successful music therapist beyond planning and implementing a session. During my last few weeks of internship, I hope to continue building these “behind the scene” skills needed to be successful.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week!
I hope you have been enjoying this beautiful weather we have had lately!
In some of my past blog posts, I have discussed some of my weekly assignments. My most recent assignment was finding instruments and materials to expand our music therapy stock at the hospital. This was quite the challenge as I needed to find products that are COVID friendly and easily cleaned.
With COVID, we are unable to use any of our wooden instruments or instruments with fabric as these materials are not easily cleaned between patients. This restriction makes it difficult to find instruments that do not appear “childish”. For this project, I needed to find products that were appropriate in the hospital setting with a variety of patient ages and diagnosis. In order to best go about this, I came up with four categories that the instruments should fit.
Many of our instruments have received a lot of attention from many of our patients. Overtime, these instruments have begun to crack, break, or become unusable. Some of the instruments I chose to request included a new ocean drum, new castanets, and a new frame drum. These instruments are used often and could use a replacement.
Instruments Educational Instruments
With many of our younger patients, we work on academic skills such as color identification, counting, object identification, and more. To further work on some of these skills, I chose to include additional fruit shakers to continue building our collection. I also found egg shakers that show various emotions to work on emotional recognition. For after COVID, I found wooden animal shakers that could be beneficial for future uses.
Instruments for Older Patients
Many of our instruments and supplies are aimed for younger patients. I wanted to find ways to build our collection for our older patients. This was challenging as many “older looking” instruments are made of wood and other materials that are not easily cleaned. I was able to find a table steel-pan drum and a set of wah-wah tubes. Both instruments are made of metal and would be more appealing to some of our older patients.
Take Home Instruments
The last thing I looked for were instruments that would be small and cost-friendly that we could buy to give to some of our patients to take home. Many of our younger patients are especially drawn to our canary and quack sticks. These instruments are relatively cheap and provide joy and entertainment for our patients.
Finding instruments and materials that are both beneficial and feasible for a hospital setting can certainly be a challenge. COVID limits the types of materials used and makes it challenging to find instruments for older patients. However, an important aspect of music therapy is the ability to adapt, and adapt we shall!
I hope you have had a wonderful week full of opportunities and excitement while enjoying the warmer weather.
Throughout this week, I have been focused on gaining a better understanding of who I am as a therapist and what my role with my clients is. As a music therapist, I can use music to connect with my client wherever they are and help them reach their full potential.
Connection within Music
One aspect that drew me to music is the connection is leads to. The connection to the music, to your instrument, to your feelings and emotions that the music invokes. When creating music with others, you create one sound, one thought, and create something beautiful.
For me, music is a way to further connect with my family. Throughout the years, I have been able to create music with my grandparents and my sister. We formed a little band with my grandma on piano, my sister on flute, and my grandpa and I on trumpet.
During these moments, I am reminded just how beautiful the gift of music is. Not everyone has the ability to connect with others through music making. Being a music therapist allows me an opportunity to give others the ability to connect through music, no matter their musical background.
Connection within Therapy
When I think about therapy, the first thing that comes to mind is connection. In therapy, a relationship is formed between the therapist and the client(s). As time goes one, this connection grows deep and trust is formed.
It is important to provide a safe space in order for this bond to form. Without trust between the therapist and the client(s), the client(s) cannot maximize their potential during the sessions.
Connection within Music Therapy
Connection is an integral part to both music and therapy. When working with my clients, I can use music to help form that initial connection. Once this connections is formed, it can continue to grow and deepen as we move through the therapeutic process.
Music is a tool that can be used with a multitude of populations including those with Autism, those with dementia, those with mental health concerns, and so many more. Although not everyone has a musical background, music therapist can use music to empower clients and help them reach their full potential.
As I further grow in my professional career, my understanding my role and my therapeutic process will continue to evolve. I look forward to deepening this understanding of myself.
Thanks for reading! Stay safe and healthy this week!
I hope you are doing well! This week, I have been asked how my internship is going, where I work, and how many clients I see per day. I thought I would share with you a glimpse into the life of an intern, or rather my experience as an intern.
Since the start of my internship, I have had many changes to my schedule. Many of these changes have been due to the ongoing pandemic. Some sessions have gone between in-person and virtual depending on what the family or school decides is best. While there have been many changes, I have had a fairly regular schedule now.
I start my mornings at SASED. Here, I lead a mix of individual and group sessions with a number of students. After lunch, I have a meeting with my supervisor, Rachel, in which I have the opportunity to learn more about the business side of music therapy. In the afternoon, I teach a piano/guitar lesson followed by my own vocal lesson to improve my non-classical singing styles.
On Tuesday’s, I have begun working at HTDA where I lead two group sessions. These students are the newest addition to my case load. In the afternoon, I lead a virtual session followed immediately by my supervision. During supervision, I start with a rep check to continue building my skills. I then have the opportunity to ask questions and get feedback from my supervisors about my progress. The last thing I have is an in-person session!
In the morning, I virtually attend a meeting with the teachers and staff at Hope. I then record and edit a music therapy video for the students at Hope as we are not able to see these students in person yet. These videos are sent to the staff the following Monday to be played during their school day. In the afternoon, I have two virtual individual sessions and a virtual guitar lesson. Teaching guitar via zoom is quite the challenge!
On Thursdays, I spend my morning on the pediatric floor at St. John’s Hospital! I never know what to expect when I enter the building but I look forward to each opportunity. I then return to MTC leading a virtual individual session before lunch. After eating, I prepare and lead two back-to-back in-person sessions that are followed by a piano/voice lesson.
I also spend my mornings at the hospital on Friday’s! Every day at the hospital is a unique experience. No two days here are the same. In the afternoon, I lead another virtual individual session. I then have about two hours to plan, work on assignments, and catch up on work before leading an in-person individual session.
On average, I am able to see between 10 to 20 clients depending on the day. The days I see the most are the days I am at the hospital. It has certainly been a big adjustment going from one session a week in undergrad to multiple sessions a day. I have experienced and learned so much working with these clients and students.