Hello again everyone! We are really getting back into the swing of things here at MTC as our Listen & Learn classes start back up. It’s been an exciting week!
A month or two ago, one of MTC’s therapists, Molly, wrote a blog post about her typical schedule. I liked it so much that I thought I would give you a “Week in the Life” of an MTC intern!
My schedule has changed quite a bit since starting my internship, and it continues to change a little from week to week. I will share with you my current weekly schedule, as the school year is in full swing!
On Mondays I spend the morning at one of our school contract locations. I provide group sessions as well as a sing-along. I then head back to MTC and facilitate 2 one-to-one sessions. I have about an hour in between the sessions, so I use that time to work on my weekly assignment, documentation, and other prep that needs to be done. Then I finish out my day by taking a piano and guitar lesson with one of our amazing teachers here at MTC!
Tuesdays look very similar to Mondays. I’m back at the school contract throughout the morning, but this time I have both group and one-to-one sessions, followed by the sing-along. Afterwards, I head back to MTC and have my supervision meeting. This is a wonderful time for me to talk about how things are going and receive supervision from the four MT-BCs at MTC. Then I have a one-to-one session, teach 2 lessons, and practice during the extra time I have.
Now that Listen & Learn classes have begun, my Wednesday mornings are spent leading a class and observing one of Rachel’s classes. I then have a little break that I use to write my blog, do some practicing, and prep. In the afternoon I head over to a contract location, where I provide music therapy for a hospice group. Then I go back to MTC and provide 2 one-to-one sessions and finish off my day teaching another Listen & Learn class. Wednesday is the day I have the most diversity in populations served.
I do a bit of traveling on Thursdays. I start off at a daycare contract and lead one group session and observe the other. I then travel to the children’s hospital and provide music therapy to patients until the mid-afternoon. From there I head back to MTC and have 2 one-to-one sessions and teach a Listen & Learn class!
Fridays are my “short” days. I spend the morning to mid-afternoon at the children’s hospital and then practice and prep at home!
The weekends are my time. I typically travel to Macomb or back home and spend time with the people I love. I do make sure to dedicate some time during the weekend to prepare and practice for the next week!
This is a very generalized version of my weekly schedule as an intern at MTC. I hope this is beneficial for those who wonder what a music therapy intern’s schedule looks like! I love that I have such a range of populations in my schedule and get to work with almost every age. I truly enjoy going to internship every day!
Thanks for reading! Have a great week!
P.S. Here is a screenshot of my schedule on Google Calendar for all of us visual learners out there!
3 Things I Wish I Could Go Back and Tell Myself During Music Therapy Practicum
Hello everyone! It’s been a beautiful week here in Springfield! The skies have been blue, the temperatures warm, and the office has been full of music!
As the school year is now in full swing and music therapy students’ practicums have begun, I’ve been reflecting on my practicum experiences.
For those who do not know, music therapy students are typically placed in different settings throughout the community each semester as their practicum. At Western Illinois (where I have my undergrad training), students provide music therapy once a week to their own clients with supervision from music therapy professors or professionals.
My first practicum experience was as an observer the spring semester of my freshman year. I then co-lead a group the spring semester of my sophomore year. Every semester throughout junior and senior year is solo leading!
I remember practicum being terrifying but so exciting at the same time. This is the chance during undergrad to apply what you are learning in your classes in a real-life scenario. As I look back on my experiences, I want to share with you what I would have told myself back then.
I was a nervous wreck for a lot of my practicum sessions. I wanted to provide the best services I could for my clients, but I was also so scared that I would embarrass myself or do something wrong during the sessions. There was truly no reason for me to get so nervous, though it is normal to feel this way! It’s important to remember that you know more than you think you do, and your supervisors and other staff support are there to help you if something unexpected does happen.
Take It All In
Carefully observe everything you can during your sessions. This can sometimes be difficult as you are also leading the sessions, but it is so important to recognize how your clients respond to the music and interventions you bring. This is your time to try out new interventions, be creative, and see what works for your clients and what doesn’t. I found practicum to be one of the most beneficial aspects of my undergrad experience.
Getting to provide music therapy is such an amazing experience. Enjoy it!
Practicum is such a wonderful time for learning and growth in the real world. It can be scary at first, but know that everyone around you is there to support you as you develop your skills.
Leave a comment if you have any advice for current music therapy students during their practicum experience!
My Personality Traits and How They Impact My Role as a Future Music Therapist
Hi everyone! I hope you are having a wonderful week and had a great Labor Day Weekend!
This week on the blog I’m talking about my results from the Enneagram Personality Test. I’ve seen this test all over social media and discussed amongst my friends, so a few weeks ago I decided to take the test.
For those of you who do not know what the Enneagram Test is, it is a personality test that tells you which of 9 personality types you fit into. There are lots of personality tests out there, but this one seems to be the most popular right now.
I haven’t done a ton of research on this topic, but I wanted to share with you what my results were and how I see these personality traits impacting me as a future music therapist.
So, my Enneagram personality results were 6w5, in other words I am “The Defender.” Some of the traits of this personality type include intelligent, introverted, serious, self-doubting, problem-solving, and rule-following. Here are how I see some of the personality traits of a 6w5 in my work as a future music therapist:
I know what I need to do and do whatever I need to get it done. I also tend to just say things as they are, and sometimes I’m a little too blunt. However, I see this serious trait being beneficial in my music therapy work as I know when to get down to business.
If you have read my previous blogs, you know that this is something I struggle with. This is mostly seen as, perhaps, a negative trait. On the bright-side, this trait can help guide me through my limitations in the music therapy setting and establish what I need to work on.
This trait is so helpful in so many instances, whether it’s helping out a friend, talking with family, or in the music therapy setting. I think that this trait helps spark my creative side of deciding on adaptive materials, visuals, etc in how to best engage, communicate with, and help my clients.
I will be the first person to say that I am not the smartest person out there. I know that I have a lot of knowledge in my brain, but communicating that knowledge is difficult. The knowledge I do have helps me so much when planning as well as thinking on my feet during music therapy sessions.
These are just a few of the personality traits that I see influencing my work in the music therapy setting. I by no means am advocating for this test, but simply find my results incredibly accurate and helpful in understanding myself better.
Have you taken any personality tests? How do you see your personality traits influencing your practice? Let me know in the comments!
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve all had a marvelous week! Things at MTC are really starting to pick up as the school year gets into full swing. I’m looking forward to all the new opportunities I will be given in the coming weeks!
Around this time last year, I started the search for an internship. I know that many senior music therapy students have started or will be starting this same process very soon! Thus, I wanted to share what I looked for in an internship and some handy little tips I found helpful during the process.
What I Personally Looked for in an Internship
This played a big role in my search. I wasn’t gravitating to or straying away from any one population during practica and my undergrad experience. Though every population and age group is different, I truly enjoyed working with all of the people I had worked with so far. I knew that I wanted an internship that would provide me with experiences in a wide variety of populations. Most of the internships I applied for were private practices or businesses that could provide me with those experiences.
Although I like to adventure out on my own, I definitely knew I wanted to stay somewhere in driving distance from my family and friends. Thus, all of the internships I looked at were in the Midwest.
This is a huge one. As an intern, you will be learning from and working with these people for at least 6 months. I wanted supervisors that I knew cared about me as a student, but also as a person. I also wanted supervisors with whom I knew my personality would mesh. This is one that you will get a better picture of in the interview process.
Tips and Advice
I waited until the start of my senior year to look for internships, which is very doable. However, it is important to pay attention to application deadlines. As soon as you narrow down which internships you want to apply for, start filling out those applications and reaching out to the internship directors. It will save you from a lot of stress.
Since this is a music therapy internship, you will most likely have to perform some repertoire during your interview. I think it’s quite obvious that you should practice the rep you plan on using, but I found it helpful to also practice other aspects of the interview. I had my parents and friends ask me potential interview questions and I would practice responding to them. Some universities also have the option to participate in mock interviews in their Career Development Programs.
The interview process isn’t just about them interviewing you, but this is your time to ask questions and get to know your potential supervisors and site. Bring questions to ask and be engaged in conversation. Not only does it give you more important information, but it also makes you look invested, genuine, and professional.
Be open to new possibilities. Don’t rule out an internship site because it’s not with your dream population or because you don’t think you would ever get it. Take a leap and be willing to step out of your comfort zone. The world has a funny way of surprising you.
I’m not going to lie: the internship search can be a bit stressful, but I hope this blog post gave you some insight! It can be a bit daunting, but nothing feels better than securing that internship. I don’t normally cry happy tears, but I definitely did when I was offered the intern position here at MTC. Honestly, have fun searching for your internships and set your standards high!
If any other interns or professionals would like to add any advice, please leave a comment! Thanks for reading!
Embarrassing Moments and Things I Never Expected to Do in a Music Therapy Setting
It has been a wonderful week at MTC and I hope you have had a great week as well! I’m officially halfway through my internship! These first three months have been full of learning, growth, great moments, and some not so great moments.
This week’s blog is all about embarrassing things that have happened and things that I never expected I would do during my internship.
I am the first to admit that I am an awkward person. Not only am I awkward, but I’m clumsy. It was pretty inevitable that I would have some embarrassing moments during the first half of my internship.
It seems like whenever other staff are standing outside one of my contract locations, I trip and lose my shoe. I would like to compare myself to Cinderella, but it’s never that graceful.
One of the guitars I use in group sessions does not have the best strap on it. I think it is that way on purpose in case I need to take the guitar off quickly. However, it can be a bit of a hassle during sessions. The guitar ends up falling from the strap at least once a session. Thankfully my reflexes are fast enough to catch it, so it has not fallen to the floor (yet).
Stumbling Over My Words
One of my big goals during the last half of my internship is to get better at talking to other professionals. I tend to get nervous and stumble over my words as I try to process my thoughts and speak at the same time. It’s happened so many times that I cannot name one specific scenario, but it definitely makes me feel embarrassed every time. On the plus side, it’s getting better every day.
Performing my Rep Check for my Supervisor’s Kids
This one was actually a lot of fun. I did my Rep Check and then ended up improvising and creating songs with them. They created a lot of fun lyrics and we did this for about 20 minutes. It was a great experience, but also extremely nerve wracking to have an audience of people observing the music making; 3 of them being my supervisors and 2 of them being the parents of the kids.
So, some embarrassing and awkward things have happened. It’s a part of life. Thankfully, I am good at laughing at myself and then continuing on with my day. It’s all a part of the fun!
I have also had some experiences that I never pictured myself doing in a music therapy session.
Singing an Italian Aria
I now have a client who really likes opera. I promised her I would bring her an aria the next time I saw her, so I went digging through my old voice lesson repertoire. I ended up singing an Italian aria with her that went up to a high G and I accompanied myself on guitar. I definitely never saw myself doing this music in a music therapy setting. Current students: if you think you will never use the repertoire you are learning in lessons, you may be absolutely wrong.
Never ever in a million years did I think I would improvise songs as much as I do. Improvisation used to terrify me (and it is still a little scary). I was the girl in Vocal Jazz Ensemble that avoided scatting at all costs. Now a good portion of the music I use in sessions is improvised; whether it be to give directions, say hello or goodbye, or for relaxation. If you told me 4 months ago that I would be improvising as much as I am today, I definitely would not have believed you.
These first three months of internship have been absolutely amazing, with some embarrassing moments here and there. It’s a part of learning. I’ve also experienced some things that I never thought I would do in a music therapy setting. It’s been a wild ride, and I’m so looking forward to what the second half of internship brings.
Do you have any embarrassing moments? What about things you’ve had to do or sing in sessions that you never thought you would do? Please share them with me!
Hi again! I wanted to take a few minutes today to talk about what brought me to music therapy.
As a high schooler beginning to think about college, I had no idea what I wanted to do. After looking at my passions and hobbies, I settled on occupational therapy. By the beginning of senior year I had a college picked out and was planning on applying for fall 2015.
What brought me to occupational therapy? Throughout high school, the highlight of my weeks during the winter and early spring was volunteering with the local Special Olympics Swim Team on Friday evenings. I attended local meets and even State Games with the athletes, and learned that I had a passion for helping people. Naturally, this led me to occupational therapy.
However, there was always a little voice in the back of my head saying, “But what about music?” I couldn’t ignore that. I was very involved with my high school music department — in marching band, concert band, choir, the spring musicals, jazz band, even going to music camp for a week in the summer. I didn’t want to let that go. I knew I didn’t want to go into music education or performance, so I thought that a career in music just wasn’t possible for me.
As senior year rolled around and I was trying to get excited about a future in occupational therapy, that little voice grew louder. The college I had chosen didn’t have a band, orchestra, or choir and that just didn’t feel right to me.
At some point that fall, someone (perhaps my mom, a friend, or my band director) mentioned music therapy to me. I had no idea what that was but immediately knew that I had to do it. After looking it up, my heart was set!
After touring some colleges, I settled on Molloy College in New York and after applying, auditioning, an interviewing I was accepted as part of the Class of 2019. Four years later, I know I made the right choice. Music therapy is the perfect combination of my two passions: helping people and music.
As always, thank you for reading! I look forward to seeing you around MTC!
Hello everyone! I hope you’ve had a fabulous week! I’m sure it’s been a busy week for lots of you with the new school year starting.
This week I had my midterm evaluation. It’s amazing to think that I am halfway through my internship! I was so happy to hear from my supervisors that I am where I need to be. As expected, I am excelling at some things and need some improvement in other areas. One big thing we talked about during this meeting was confidence.
This topic may sound similar to my perfectionism blog post at the beginning of my internship, but I wanted to dive a little deeper this week. I can’t say that I’ve ever been a confident person. I am aware of my strengths and weaknesses, but tend to dwell on the things I’m not so great at. I think that this is a normal human thing to do, but it doesn’t necessarily help me in the therapeutic setting.
During sessions, I’ve been able to develop this “fake it till you make it” attitude. This doesn’t mean I come to sessions unprepared; this attitude just helps me take things as they come during the session. It helps me get out of my own head. My supervisors even tell me I look “cool as a cucumber” during most sessions. It’s the before and after that get me.
Before sessions, I tend to doubt my skills and knowledge. I get worried that I’m not going to be what my client needs. After sessions, I think “I should have done this,” or “I could’ve said this better.” Basically, I get in my head and it’s hard to get out.
I think these things, but in reality the sessions always tend to go pretty well. It’s my lack of confidence before and after sessions that are keeping me from fully succeeding. My supervisors and I talked about how if I gain more confidence, all the other skills that are still developing will fall into place.
The start of confidence is beginning to focus a little more on your strengths than on your weaknesses. So, this week for my self care I have been taking time throughout the week to write down some of my strengths. I feel a little strange doing this, but I think it will help in the long-run.
I know that I’m not the only one that struggles with confidence in themselves. I would love to hear how you pump yourself up and get into a confident mindset! Please feel free to leave a comment; it may help me and others reading this blog.
Thanks for letting me be real every week and for reading my blog posts. I appreciate it more than you know!
Hi again! I’m back to talk about the modern marvel of technology. It’s pretty amazing, and can be adapted and used in so many ways within music therapy sessions.
GarageBand. This one almost goes without saying. From recording songs for clients to giving them the opportunity to write their own music from scratch, this is an amazing resource for music therapists to have in their technology toolkit.
Music games. There are so many wonderful music games available that can help accomplish a variety of goals. Anything from rapport building to fine motor skills can be addressed through interactive music games. Some of my favorites available for iPads include Incredibox, Sound Forest, Piano Tiles, Auto Rap, and Ditty.
Organizing repertoire. I almost never rely on physical copies of music anymore. I have everything scanned in to meticulously organized Google Drive folders that I can easily pull up or access in a session, even without WiFi. I also use Guitar Tabs, which has lyrics, tablature, and chords for almost every song under the sun! I don’t have to worry about carrying around binders full of music or forgetting something at home. I can also look up client requested music in an instant.
Google Drive. I use Google Drive for EVERYTHING from tracking client and student attendance to documentation to organizing music as mentioned above to coordinating schedules and plans for the week with my colleagues. It’s easy to organize things and access from multiple devices — all password and fingerprint protected, of course.
This is just a small sampling of how I use technology in everyday sessions. Of course there are many other technology resources available for music therapists, but I find these ones to be the most accessible and successful for me.
As always, thank you for reading and have a great day!
We have been busy at MTC getting ready for the new school year. That doesn’t just include preparing session plans and getting materials ready. We even have a fresh look with fresh paint on the walls and new furniture! Lots of exciting stuff!
As the new school year approaches, I thought I would focus on music therapy students for this blog post.
Being a college student is so exciting, so difficult, and so rewarding. You constantly have new information thrown at you. You have more freedom to do the things you want and take the classes you like. You get so many opportunities with ensembles and clubs. The world is yours (or at least the campus is).
I personally found college to be the best time of my 22 short years. There were some hard times, but also great times. Here’s some things I learned during my 4 years on campus:
This is your time to explore things that you are interested in. College also gives you so many different opportunities that you may not get anywhere else. Join the clubs, intramurals, or fraternity/sorority. Do what interests you.
…But not too involved.
It’s great to explore and experience new things, but then before you know it you’re in 10 extracurricular activities. It’s important to remember that you’re in college to pursue a degree. It’s also important to remember that once you join something, you don’t have to stay in it all 4 years. So, do the things that will add to your learning and the things that make you the happiest.
Go to class!
This is a biggie. It’s tempting to stay in bed and skip that 8 am class, and, believe me, as a music major you will have a lot of them. Get out of bed and get to class. Not only are you missing out on important information, but you’re also letting money go to waste as you’ve already paid for the class.
Being a music therapy major is difficult…
Let’s be honest, there is a stereotype that music majors don’t have to do any real work, but wow is that wrong. You will have sleepless nights. You may have more classes in a day than you did in high school. It’s a lot of work and takes determination.
…But it is so worth it.
Seeing the progress your clients are making during your practicum session after a long week of school work, and knowing that one day you’ll get to do this all day every day, makes it all worth it.
If you’re nervous about the coming school year, it’s okay to be nervous. Know that you chose this major for a reason, and you are taking the steps to being a great music therapist every day.
Here’s my #1 tip: Take everything in and enjoy every moment.
I’ll be honest: moving halfway across the country was not easy. As many of you may know from my introduction post, I grew up in Connecticut and went to college right outside of Manhattan. While I was away from home at college, I was still close enough to go home on the weekends.
Moving to Springfield to work here at MTC has turned out to be one of the best decisions I could have ever made, but definitely one of the hardest. I miss my family, friends, and pets back on the East Coast daily, and I know they miss me too.
However, this has been an amazing learning experience for me in so many ways. Here are a few things I’ve learned about myself in my short time out here:
I’m a lot more independent than I thought I was! Going places alone used to be a little scary for me, but since I’ve been living on my own in a new place, I’ve found the joy in it. Taking myself out to dinner, seeing a movie by myself, or even going to a museum alone have been weekend activities I enjoy doing with me, myself, and I.
The importance of self care. In the past few months, I’ve really learned what self care is and is not for me. It’s made a big difference both with dealing with the emotional toll my work can take on me at times, and the emotional toll being so far away from my support system can take.
Although I’m far away from my support system, FaceTime, social media, and phone calls are wonderful things! I talk to my parents on the phone a few nights a week, and sometimes we FaceTime and they hold the phone up to each of the dogs and cats so I can see them. Although it’s not the same as being there, it really does help a lot to be able to so easily connect with my family and friends.
I’m enjoying figuring my new life in Illinois out, and not a second goes by where I regret my decision. I’m super grateful to the team at MTC for being so amazing and making my transition so smooth, as well as the wonderful families I serve at MTC. And not to leave out my incredible parents, who supported me through this journey — you guys are the best!
Thanks for reading, and I look forward to seeing you around MTC!