Comparing my internship experience to the internships of other music therapy interns, I have learned that no two music therapy internships are the same. Many music therapy internships focus their time in one population, such as some are strictly in hospice or in schools. Since Music Therapy Connections is a private practice, I have the opportunity to get experience in many different populations in the Springfield community. Weekly, I see a spectrum of clients in different populations, including: pediatric medical, special education, memory care, and early childhood.
This makes me think of one my music therapy classes in college. There we had a discussion about music therapists being a “jack of all trades” of sorts. This last week, I have been thinking about how much music therapists in private practice settings are “jack of all trades” because of how many settings they are in weekly. I thoroughly enjoy getting the opportunity to learn in all of these different settings. There are many advantages I have found getting to be an intern in a private practice setting.
Learning Under Multiple Professionals
I get to work directly under three different music therapists at MTC: Katey, Molly and Emma. Each of these music therapist has different techniques and skill sets that I get to observe and learn from. I have the opportunity to work with other staff at MTC. I mainly sang classically in college; I have the opportunity to work with one the voice instructors here to grow my contemporary singing voice. Additionally, I have weekly meetings with Rachel to discuss the business and technical sides of being a music therapist. It is amazing getting to know and to learn from all of these professionals.
Growing My Music Skills
With seeing so many different types of clients a week, I have needed to learn more repertoire! I learn many songs a week for the different populations I am in. The songs I am learning for my clients can range from children’s songs to classic rock songs. In some of the settings I’m in I need to sight-read music during sessions. This helps grow my repertoire and my musical skills. The MTC team has taught me different musical techniques that I did not learn during my time in college.
Seeing the Crossover in Populations
While there are differences in the populations that music therapists can work in, I’m starting to see crossovers between these populations. In some setting I am able to use use some of the same repertoire. Additionally, I use some of the same techniques between different clients. I am finding that working at St. John’s Children’s Hospital is the setting that I am seeing the most intersection of many of the different skills I am learning. At St. John’s I see many patients of varying ages, diagnosis, interests and needs. I’ve used my teaching skills I’ve learned working with students at MTC to teach a patient about the guitar. I have also made use of a range of songs with patients from Folsom Prison Blues to Stitches to You Are My Sunshine.
Along with the advantages of getting to see so many different clients, there are also some challenges. Sometimes with so much information and input given daily by my supervisors, it can feel like information overload. Additionally, I’ve found it to be difficult at times to switch from one mind set to another from setting to setting.
Overall, each music therapy internship has its own advantages and challenges. I am very thankful for how much my internship at Music Therapy Connections is teaching and pushing me.
I am around a month and a half into my internship at Music Therapy Connections. During this time, I have had my fair share of ups and downs. I am discovering the challenges and anxieties of transitioning from being in school to being in the professional setting. Along with these challenges, I have had many moments that have brought so much joy. This week I’m going to outline some of the challenges I have faced, but also the joys too.
I knew that going from a student to an intern would come with its growing pains. I am finding out how much of a transition it is to go from focusing on a few clients per week to multiple clients per day. There is more music to learn in a week, additionally I am learning a wider variety of music. As each client has different needs and goals, learning how to transition from client to client can be challenging.
Now that I’m an intern I no longer receive regular grades like when I was a student. Not worrying about grades sounds nice at first. However, I never realized how much validation I got from getting grades. Grades were a clear way for me to measure my progress. Without them, I am left to myself to determine how successful I am. This can be difficult, as I have found myself often to be my worst critic.
While I’ve found the transition to working with multiple clients to be a bit of a challenge at times I absolutely love getting to work with all of them. I enjoy talking with all of the clients about their days and exciting parts of their lives. I’ve gotten to celebrate with clients as they succeed. It brings me joy to make music with them and see the change music can bring. A favorite intervention I have done with a client so far was a rewrite of Good 4 U by Olivia Rodrigo about the client’s goals. Working with clients is the bright spot of my day.
Additionally I’m finding joy in some of the small, odd and ends things. The small progressions I have been able to see in myself since I started. I enjoy doing the singable stories during Listen and Learn and seeing the children’s reactions to them. Watching my supervisor’s excitement about the progress of a client. I have had so much fun planning and implementing sing along events at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. This past week we did a spooky songwriting event at St. John’s Children’s Hospital!
I have found it easy to let the mistakes and challenges take over my mind. This in turn has caused a lot of anxiety and stress. I see myself becoming more self conscious in some areas, but I am also feeling more confident in other areas. I am working to focus on the good over the mistakes. I’m discovering that no day is perfect, but there’s good spots to each one. I’m finding progress isn’t always linear. There are times I feel like when I take one step forward, I go three steps back. I’ll keep making my way slowly forward, and at the end of this experience I know I’ll be a better musician and therapist than I was before.
There are some growing pains right now, but I look forward to the exciting things and the different lessons I’ll learn and experience!
Happy Halloween week, all! Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. I love the decorations and the food, but my absolute favorite part of Halloween is dressing up in costumes! When I think about costumes, I remember the costumes I wore when I was involved in theatre. With Halloween coming up I thought it would be a fun time to reflect on how being involved in theatre has impacted me as a musician and future therapist.
My Theatre Background
I don’t have the most extensive background in theatre, but I had many wonderful opportunities to take part in theatre. As far as I can remember I have had an interest in theatre. My first role was as a bell in my elementary school’s Christmas musical. I was involved in my junior high’s musicals, most notably I was a narrator in Aladdin Jr.
When I got to high school I took part in the annual fall plays. During my last two years of high school, my school began doing high school musicals. Through these musicals I had the opportunity to portray Mother Abbess in The Sound of Music and Sandy in Grease. Along with traditional theatre, I took part in speech team in the storytelling and acting categories.
In college I joined the WIU Opera Theatre, where I got to continue performing musical theatre and learn how to perform opera. I was cast in Hansel and Gretel,Le Nozze De Figaro and Venus and Adonis, the latter production was canceled due to COVID-19. Additionally, I performed in 4 opera workshop showcases, where I performed both musical theatre and opera scenes.
Other than the joy I got from dressing up and performing, I learned so much taking part in theatre. Much of what I learned has helped grow my skills as future music therapist.
Going with the Flow
Mistakes can happen a lot in live theatre; its easy to miss a line or forget a cue. In those times it takes some quick thinking and to go with the flow to get the scene back on track. I had a few situations where I had to improv when a line was forgotten. I have had similar experiences in sessions. I’ve had situations where I forgot lyrics to a song, so I improved lyrics until I got the song back on track. Quick thinking is important in other situations during music therapy sessions, especially in fast-paced settings like hospitals. I’m still growing in my quick thinking skills, but I can credit some of the skills I currently have to my time in theatre.
Being involved in theatre, I’ve gotten to portray different types of people. This has given me to the opportunity to walk in other peoples’ shoes so to say. To accurately portray these characters I had to consider their motivations and what issues they are facing. I feel this helped me develop my empathy skills. I use my empathy skills daily when working with clients to help gage how they are feeling and what they need from me as a therapist during music therapy sessions.
When I was involved in theatre, I had my fair share of anxiety and stage fright. However, taking part in theatre helped me develop confidence in myself as a musician and a performer. Additionally, I learned how to efficiently and confidently multi-task. Confidence is important when conducting music therapy sessions. Confidence is one thing that I have currently lacking in since starting internship. I’ve been reflecting on when I have confidence to help myself figure out how to find my confidence again.
Thank you for reading! I hope you have a great Halloween full of fun costumes and yummy sweets!
Fall has been one of my favorite times of year for a long time for so many reasons. Two of my favorite flavors, apple and pumpkin, are in season, which means there are so many delicious treats to eat and make. Nature is so beautiful with the leaves changing colors. Halloween and Thanksgiving are two of the best holidays in my opinion. Some of my favorite people, particularly my parents, have fall birthdays. Additionally, I think I almost like the fall Hallmark movies more than the Christmas ones.
In the past, I have found ways to bring fall into my music therapy sessions. One of my favorite interventions I created for my clinical skills class was a drum circle based around fall topics. I came up with different rhythms based off of phrases that were related to fall. I made a visual with all of the phrases on it that I decorated with leaves from a tree outside of the music building. (pictured below) This intervention is a favorite memory of mine, as it was also one of the first interventions that I felt successful leading.
Until I came to MTC, I hadn’t considered just how much fall could be implemented into sessions. In almost every setting I’m at, I’ve seen my supervisors implementing fall topics and songs. I have gotten to observer fall theme interventions to fall-themed groups. I enjoy seeing how they use the fall season to reinforce their client’s needs and goals.
Counting and Colors
There are many fall themed counting songs that I have come across in the past month. I have found multiple songs that are variations of counting pumpkins. Along with leaf and bat themed counting songs. Fall is such a colorful season, which also gives the opportunity to reinforce colors. The colors brown, red, orange and yellow can be reinforced with leaves, pumpkins and apples. Additionally, I have seen peers use the Halloween song One Eyed, One Horn, Flying Purple People Eaters to reinforce colors and numbers.
I’ve discovered how singable stories are a way to bring fall topics into sessions. I have seen the There Was an Old Lady Who… books used in sessions. Those books have many fall variations with topics like fall foods, Halloween and scarecrows. I look forward to soon using the the book: We’re Going On A Leaf Hunt, which is a variation of We’re Going on a Bear Hunt.
I’m also discovering the use and fun of fall songs. These songs can give the space to discuss topics like the season change and fall events. Additionally many of the songs I have found also reinforce fall approve clothing and discuss fall foods. These songs can be a place to insert clients’ academic goals and to start discussion. My favorite fall song that I have discovered since starting at MTC is Fall, Fall, Fall from Listen & Learn Music.
For adults, I’ve seen the use of the song Autumn Leaves to be useful for discussing fall. Additionally, the song Over the River and Through the Woods is regarded as a Thanksgiving song, which can be used to discuss holiday plans and baking. I have seen that fall can be a way to narrow the subject for other discussion topics; such as “What is your favorite fall outdoor activity?” Instead of “What is your favorite outdoor activity?”
I’m enjoying seeing how my supervisors incorporate fall into their sessions. I look forward to seeing how I can continue to incorporate fall into my sessions and interventions in the future.
Hello All! I hope your week has been going well; for me here at MTC it been another week of learning! The last couple weeks I have been considering the importance of finding the value in the small things.
Not Everything has to be Big
I remember before starting my first practicum in college, I imagined that the interventions I was going to do would create a big, almost immediate change in my clients. So much of what we see posted online makes it look like music therapy can do that. In reality, therapy is mainly many small changes that build up to create the difference. I remember after my first practicum experience I felt so defeated when I didn’t create the big change I imagined. Little did I know this was just feeding my perfectionism.
This way of thinking stayed with me throughout my time in college. I could see that I was making some sort of impact, but I felt like I wasn’t being effective enough. However, when I started observing the music therapists at MTC, I noticed that the client responses were similar to what I had gotten from clients I had worked with in college. I began to consider that maybe I’m not as ineffective as I thought I was.
During the sessions I have been coleading currently, I find myself falling into that trap again. The clients aren’t responding in the ways I imagined; I have to be failing. However, I’m beginning to see it in a different way. The clients are responding to the music, they are answering my questions, following my prompts and emotionally engaging in the music. These aren’t the big immediate changes that I used to imagine, they are smaller impacts that can add up. I’m realizing that if I focus on wanting the big monumental changes, I don’t get the chance to appreciate the small impacts.
The Impacts are Easier to See when you Change your Focus
During voice seminars in college, after performing my voice teacher would always have us state at least three things we did well during our performance. It was a good way to have us focus on what we did well vs. only thinking about what didn’t go perfectly. I always found this to be difficult, as I view myself with a very critical lens; if I messed up even a little part of the song it practically ruined the experience for me.
One of my supervisors also uses a similar system when we are discussing sessions. Before we start any discussions, she has me tell her what I think I did well. I still have a difficult time answering this; I find myself having trouble coming up with things I did well. Additionally, when I do think I did something well, I find myself questioning if I really did well.
However, I’m beginning to find that in the moment when I focus on what I am doing right and not what I am doing wrong, I feel so much more confident in myself as a therapist and a musician. When I focus less on what I might be doing wrong, I am able to focus more on the clients see the impact on the clients so much clearer then before. I less apprehension and I feel a lot more successful.
Overall, I want to continue focusing more on what I am doing right; that way I can appreciate the small impacts. Thank you for reading!
It’s crazy to think that I have finished my third week of internship already! Internship has been such an amazing experience and adventure so far; however, it hasn’t been without some challenges. My second week of internship I started facing some anxieties and insecurities. I began to wonder if there was something wrong with me. I felt like I shouldn’t be feeling anxious this early; I’ve hardly even started.
I started feeling some imposter syndrome and insecurities about myself as a student music therapist and musician. Additionally, I began feeling a bit alone. I had spent the last four years having peers around me that were in the same stage as me that I could lean on, as an intern I don’t have that anymore. The most frustrating part was that some old nervous habits of mine started resurfacing.
I figured there was two directions I could go in: I could push the feeling down and ignore them or I could face them. I decided to choose the latter. I wanted to face my feelings and work on them now, not leaving them to be a problem for me in the future like I had done so many times before.
Don’t be Afraid to Open Up
From day one my supervisors told me that I could come to them with anything. I contemplated heavily going to them with what I was feeling, but I’m glad I did. They were able to help validate my feelings, and that it was nothing abnormal to feel anxiety at this point of internship. They also shared about their experiences of being an intern and the anxieties they faced. Additionally they were able to share with me self care tips that they use. Overall, it helped me feel a lot less isolated then what I felt prior.
Read a Book
My first day of internship Katey suggested the book You are A Bad*ss, as it was a book that a majority of the staff at MTC had read. My copy of the book came in at the end of my second week, which was good timing. I have never been into motivational/self help books, but I figured I would give it a try. I am part way through the book, and already it has me deeply analyzing my anxieties and fears. It also gave me some ideas of self care strategies I can do. I have now found myself making note of similar books that I want to read after I finish this one. Overall I would highly suggest finding a book to read that resonates with you and your emotional needs.
Seek Further Help if You Need It
This advice came from a conversation about internships I had with a young professional during my senior year of college. Being in a caring profession, it can be easy to fall into extreme stress and anxiety. There is no shame in seeing a psychologist or counselor to work through some of the feelings you are having. Remember that you are still a student, which means that your university’s counseling services are still available, and especially with the pandemic, many universities’ counseling centers are offering telehealth services.
Don’t get me wrong, these are not over night cure. I am still feeling anxious and self conscious at times, but it helps me feel better knowing I’m facing it instead of avoiding it. Take your time and find self care strategies that work for you. If you are a student or new intern, I hope you know that if you are feeling alone and anxious at the beginning of internship, you are not alone and there is nothing wrong with you for feeling that way.
Thank you for reading! I believe in you, and keep having compassion for yourself as you grow.
These first two weeks of internship I have stepped into a role that I haven’t been in since I was a freshman in college: an observer. In some ways, it feels weird to be an observer again after leading sessions for the past five semesters in school. However, upon reflection, I have found that there are benefits to being an observer at this point in my education.
The Opportunity to Get Comfortable
I have spent the last four years learning from and getting comfortable with the staff at WIU. This is the first time that I’m leaving my “music therapy” home to work on my skills elsewhere with new mentors. Being an observer again gives me the opportunity to get myself acquainted and comfortable in this new setting. Additionally, it also gives me the space to interact and get acquainted with the music therapists I am working with at MTC before the added pressures of co-leading and leading. I’m still working through some nerves, but I have found the music therapists at MTC to be very supportive as I get acclimated to life as an intern.
The Opportunity to Reflect
Observing the music therapists at MTC work has given me the opportunity to reflect on myself and my current skills as a music therapist in training. I have been able to reflect on how I would react to certain situations and compare that to the reactions of the therapists I am observing. There has also been the opportunity reflect on the areas that I feel comfortable and the areas that I need to work and grow in. I have the opportunity to reflect on my work with similar populations in the past and how I can improve upon my skills going forward. One such population I worked a lot with in college was older adults. The past two weeks I have been able to reflect on that experience and how I can improve while watching sessions at Concordia Senior Services.
The Opportunity to Learn
While I have learned about many different populations and experienced some during my time at WIU, there are some populations that I am experiencing for the first time at MTC. I have read about so many different populations, but I haven’t learned all I can about them. I am a very hands on and visual learner; observing gives me the space to learn about new populations in this way.
Pediatrics is one population that has always been of interest to me that I haven’t been able to experience yet. I have spent six mornings so far at St. John’s Children’s Hospital, which has already expanded my knowledge greatly in that area. It also gives me a new perspective to learn about populations that I have been able to work with during my time in school. Finally, it gives me the opportunity to learn more about the clients and spaces I will soon be working with.
The big difference between being an observer now vs. freshman year is that I am able to look at these experiences through a more educated lens. I am slowly starting to do more co-leading activities with the music therapists at MTC. I look forward to seeing how that compares to my co-leading experiences from my sophomore year of college.
Thank you for reading and remember to have compassion for yourself as you grow!
Hello, readers. My name is Lillian Schierbrock, and I am the new intern at Music Therapy Connections!
A Little Bit About Me
I was born and raised in the small town of West Point, IA. I have four older siblings and seven nieces and nephews. Additionally, I have a Tuxedo cat named Wonderful. When I’m not making music, I enjoy crocheting, sewing, watching Hallmark Movies and driving around listening to Taylor Swift songs.
I recently finished the course work for my bachelors degree in Music Therapy at Western Illinois University in Macomb, IL. During my time at WIU I participated in the Classical Guitar Ensemble, University Singers and the WIU Opera Theatre. I was also a member of the WIU Music Therapy Association, formerly serving as President, and I am currently serving as the Parliamentarian for the Great Lakes Region of the American Music Therapy Association for Students.
My primary instrument was voice and I also play the guitar, ukulele, piano and clarinet. Along with that, I love to collect and to learn a variety instruments. I was also a member of Mu Phi Epsilon, a professional music fraternity.
During my first week of internship, one of my assignments was to read the AMTA Code of Ethics. The AMTA Code of Ethics is an important resource that serves as a guideline for music therapists on ethical decision making and professional conduct. I‘m glad I took the time to read through the Code of Ethics, as it gave me a lot of food for thought. While reading it, some parts of it stuck out to me as subjects I want to hold onto and work on during my internship.
Have Compassion for Not Only Your Clients, But Yourself As Well
As music therapy is a caring professional, music therapists tend to be caring and compassionate people, especially toward our clients. However, we don’t always extend to ourselves that same compassion. Principle #2: Act with Compassion states: “It is important for music therapists to extend compassion to themselves when confronted with their own human limitations.”
Additionally, Principle #2, Part 2.7 further backs this up “practice self-kindness and mindfulness and extend compassion to self if faced with feelings of inadequacy or failure.” Practicing self kindness and compassion is something that I have struggled with myself. Many times I find that I lack compassion toward myself when I make small mistakes or don’t do something perfectly. During the next six months, I will be working on giving the same compassion that I give to my clients to myself, as well.
Striving for Excellence Does Not Mean Perfection
The first paragraph of Principle #5: Strive for Excellence states “Striving for excellence does not imply perfection, but the ongoing commitment to expand our knowledge and skills in all areas.” This sentence really struck me; as musicians it can be easy to become perfectionists, I know it has made me a bit of one. However, this pursuit of perfection can lead to a lot of anxiety and a lack of self compassion.
I have found myself falling into this trap many times of focusing all my energy into playing a piece perfectly and when I make even the smallest mistakes, I will internally antagonize myself about it. I love this idea of focusing on growth over perfection, and will be working on making that my mind set instead. In the famous words of Hannah Montana: “Nobody’s perfect, I gotta work it, again and again till I get it right.”
All of this is easier said than done. In my first week I have already found myself falling into these traps, but I’m going to keep working at it. My goal for myself this next 6 months is to focus on self compassion and growth over self criticism and perfectionism.
I’m so excited to bring you along on this journey! Have a great week!
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.