Intern’s Corner – Week 18

Hello all! I hope your week has been going well! It has been a chilly and snowy week here in Springfield. When it is cold out, one of my favorite activities is curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book. My assignment this week was to read and review a book that supports my growth as an individual and a music therapist in training. The book I was given to review was: You Are A Badass; How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life by Jen Sincero. This book got me thinking about many of my self-sabotaging behaviors and what I can do to combat them. For my blog post this week, I will sharing my biggest take aways from reading this book.

Be Aware of Your Self-Sabotaging Behaviors

I identified many of my own self-sabotaging behaviors while reading. I have always been an extremely self-conscious person. In addition, I have struggled with anxiety issues for a long time. It has never been debilitating, but it adds a lot of stress and makes going through life difficult at times. I had found ways to cope, but they would never last long term. Starting internship I found that my anxiety and self-consciousness grew exponentially. I attempted to deal, but I was finding that living with this extreme anxiety was hindering my growth as a person and a music therapist.

Live Your Life Without Worry and Fear

I often find myself worrying and fearing what others are thinking of me and if I am good enough. These worries and fears have held me back from pursuing many things I have wanted to do in the past. However, I have found the times that I have gone for it not thinking about what others think, I have had some wonderful experiences and I have learned a lot about myself.

On the other side of your fear is your freedom.”

-Jen Sincero

An example of this was when I decided to audition for the opera in college. I didn’t originally get cast the opera, but I was let into the opera workshop class. During this class, I met some of best friends and ended up being offered a part as a cover and ensemble member in the opera. I wouldn’t have had these wonderful opportunities and friends if I had listened to my inner critic and didn’t audition for the opera. These worrying thoughts and fears have begun to resurface as I begin looking at music therapy jobs. I question if I am good enough to apply for these jobs and if others think I am good enough. However, reading this book has inspired me to take a chance on these jobs and myself without worry and fear.

Practice Self Forgiveness

Chapter 15 is entitled: “Forgive or Let Fester”. This chapters focuses on why it is important for us to forgive ourselves and others. Extending forgiveness to myself is something that I often find to be difficult. In this chapter, Sincero states that when you do not extend forgiveness you lug around “guilt, shame, resentment, and self loathing”. Carrying around all of these negative feelings feed these self sabotaging behaviors. One of my favorite quotes for the book is:

“The moment you decide to forgive and let your negative feelings melt away, you are on the the road to freedom.”

-Jen Sincero

I want to feel this freedom and I know that not forgiving myself is holding me back as a person and a future music therapist. Self forgiveness is something I will be working on through the rest of my internship and into my career.

Love Yourself

Sincero ends almost every chapter with the words “Love Yourself”. Self love is another thing that comes hard to me. I tend to see the worst in myself and not the good. If there is anything that Sincero wants you to take from this book, it’s that the key to defeating self-sabotaging behaviors is to love yourself. To learn how to love yourself, Sincero suggests to practice affirmations, take part in things you love, and to forgive. I want to find this self love, I am using Sincero’s suggestions to work on this.

I highly recommend this book to anyone who feels like they need help working through self-sabotaging behaviors in both their personal and professional lives. I will end this blog post with my favorite quote from the book:

“We only get to be in our bodies for a limited time, why not celebrate the journey instead of merely riding it out until it’s over?” 

-Jen Sincero


Intern’s Corner – Week 17

Leading the “YMCA” in the video for our SPARC client

Hello all! I hope your first week of 2022 has been wonderful! As a music therapy intern, I have quite a busy schedule. For this week’s blog post I am going to take you into a week in my life as an intern at Music Therapy Connections!


On Monday’s I spend my mornings at St. John’s Children’s Hospital with my supervisor Katey. I then spend my afternoon at Music Therapy Connections. I have my business and technology meeting with Rachel Rambach. During these meetings, we go over different topics surrounding the business side of music therapy! Later, I lead two music therapy sessions with my supervisors, Emma and Molly. I end my Mondays with my voice lesson with Kristi, where I work on my pop singing voice.


On Tuesday’s I spend a majority of the day at the Hope School with my supervisor Emma. We lead sessions with 5 of the classes at the Hope School. In the afternoon, I go to Music Therapy Connections where I have some work and practice time while my supervisors have their supervision meeting together. Then I finish my day by leading an adapted piano lesson with my supervisor Molly.


On Wednesday’s, I typically go to SPARC with my supervisor Molly. We lead three sessions with the participants at SPARC. However, we are on a break from SPARC due to COVID-19 concerns, so we are creating videos to send to our participants there. I go back to Music Therapy Connections, where I lead two adapted lessons with my supervisor Molly. Additionally, I observe a voice lesson led by my supervisor Emma. 


On Thursday I start my day at St. John’s Children’s Hospital with my supervisor Katey. After, I go to Music Therapy Connections where I have my supervision time with all three of my supervisors. This is a time for me to ask questions and discuss different things pertaining to my internship and sessions with all of them. Additionally during this time, I have my repertoire checks. During this I present two or more songs/interventions to my supervisors to receive their feedback and help on them. I then have some time to practice and work on assignments. I finish my day leading a session with my supervisor, Emma.


On Friday’s I again spend my mornings at St. John’s Children’s Hospital. After I get done at St. John’s, I go to Concordia Senior Care. There, my supervisor Molly and I lead a session with many of the residents there. Additionally, once a month we will lead an additional session with residents in another part of the facility. After we finish at Concordia, I go back to Music Therapy Connections. On Friday afternoons I have time set aside to work on assignments and for self care.  

There is A LOT of driving time in my schedule. Often while I drive I will listen to music that makes me happy or podcasts. My current favorite podcast to listen to is the Music Therapy Chronicles. This driving time also gives me opportunities to reflect on my days and the sessions that I have lead!

Thank you for reading! Hope you have a wonderful week!


Intern’s Corner – Week 16

Happy New Year all! While everyone was celebrating the end of 2021, I was also celebrating the beginning of my 23rd year! A lot of change happens for me this time of year both my birthday and New Years. This often leads to much self reflection. This last week during my internship I reflected on the time times I felt confident in myself and the time I did not. I wanted to discover what makes me feel confident in myself.

Reflecting on the times I felt confident in myself I found that I felt:

  • Comfortable
  • In Control
  • Natural
  • Calm
  • I don’t over think
  • Decision making is quicker and easier
  • Small mistakes don’t affect me

Additionally, when I reflected on the times I did not feel confident in myself found I felt:

  • Uncomfortable
  • Awkward
  • On Edge
  • I over think
  • I make slower decisions
  • Small mistakes get to me

I find myself often getting frustrated with myself that I can’t always feel confident in myself. I thought that the difference between the two was not having fear. However, upon contemplation, I realized that the difference between the two wasn’t having no fear, but having trust in myself.

What is Self Trust to Me?

Self trust to me is looking at a situation, knowing what to do, and actions on it with out questioning myself. Additionally, it self trust is the ability to going into sessions feeling comfortable that I know what I am doing and that I know the music.

This year I want to focus on trusting myself. I will be finishing my internship, taking the CBMT exam, and starting my job search. Self trust is necessary for these important events I have coming up this year. I need to have trust in my abilities and knowledge. In turn, I’ll feel much more confident and comfortable in myself. I want spend my 23rd year and 2022 trusting and feeling like my most confident self.

I hope your 2022 is full of joy, success, and trust in yourself.


Intern’s Corner – Week 15

Hello all! I hope you all had a wonderful and relaxing Christmas! Now that Christmas is over, the attention is turned to New Years. 2021 has been another crazy year, but so many exciting things have happened too.

2021 GLR-AMTA Conference

The Great Lakes Region AMTA Conference was my first online conference! Attending conference from my college dorm room wasn’t quite the same as attending in person. However, I still got so much from attending! My research partner and I’s research project was chosen to be in the poster fair. This was incredibly exciting opportunity to get to share our research! Additionally, I was elected to be the Parliamentarian for the GLR AMTAS.

My Internship Search

 I began my internship search in Fall 2020, but a majority of my search happened in the spring of 2021. I applied for four internship sites and I made to the interview stage for three of those. During a discussion with my professor about what I wanted out of internship, my professor put me in touch with Katey at MTC. On March 10th 2021 I was offered an internship with MTC!

Finishing My Coursework

One of the biggest thing to come out of this year was the completion of my music therapy course work at Western Illinois University. I was incredibly proud to have completed my coursework with a 3.9 GPA. In addition to completing my course work, I performed in my final WIU Opera Workshop performance and sang in my final University Singer’s concert. I finished up my term as the president of the WIU Music Therapy Association. I was so glad I had the opportunity to walk in the WIU Graduation Ceremony.

Starting Internship

The second biggest thing to happen this year was starting my internship! Ever since I accepted my internship on March 20th, I eagerly awaited the start of my internship. It was incredibly nerve racking moving to a new place and to start internship. I am now halfway through my internship and have learned so many wonderful lessons. I have begun leading sessions and have begun to find my footing as a music therapy intern.

Overall, 2021 has been such a wonderful and exciting year! I am looking forward to many exciting events in 2022:

  • Finishing internship
  • Taking the CBMT Exam
  • Starting my job search

Thank you for reading, I hope you all have a happy New Year!!


Intern’s Corner – Week 14

A lot was supposed to happen this last week.

  • I was going to lead a new intervention with the students at the Hope School.
  • My midterm project was due.
  • I was writing an adapted piano piece to do with a client.
  • I was supposed to lead a majority of the group time at SPARC.
  • And more.

There was a lot to do this week.

Monday night I had a tickle in my throat. By the next morning I was congested and had a sore throat. I had a cold. Two years ago I would have shrugged it off and gone to my classes. I maybe would have worn a mask if I felt like it was truly needed. However, it is not two years ago and I now work with many clients who are immunocompromised. It is better to be safe than sorry to protect our clients, so I took a sick day. Then one day became two, two days became three, and three days became four.

I don’t particularly like taking days off. I dislike missing days, as it makes me feel unproductive and behind. Additionally, I was sad not to get to see our client for so many days. I did not like taking four days off. However, I still had a productive week. This blog post will be a little peek into what sick week is like for a music therapy intern.  

My Week

So I had a sense of normalcy, I woke up every day around the same time I typically do. Along with that, I got ready and dressed like I typically would. When I felt well enough to, I worked on projects and documentation during the mornings. I found time to practice piano, voice, and guitar.

While I missed out on going to some of our contract sites, I did get to zoom into some of the lessons and sessions at MTC. I was so glad for this, as this meant I at least had the opportunity to observe the sessions and lessons.  Additionally, we did repertoire check and supervision via Zoom.

To my dismay, I found myself also needing to take breaks to rest and nap. I was itching to get back to MTC and work with our clients, but I needed to feel better before I could. I made sure I was drinking a lot of water, eating regularly, and resting when I needed it.

Over this week I learned that:

It’s okay to not alway be productive.

When I originally took Tuesday off my thought was “I am going to get so much done today”. While I did get a lot done, I did not get as much done as I thought I should have. I originally felt upset with myself because of this. However, I realized that I wasn’t feeling well and I needed to also focus on feeling better so I could get back to my clients quicker.

Thank you for reading! I hope you all stay healthy and have a happy holiday!

Intern’s Corner – Week 13

One of my biggest musical inspirations and influences for a majority life has been Taylor Swift. This week is Taylor Swift’s birthday and my 13th blog post. I thought it would be fun to reflect on the influence Taylor Swift and her music have had on me as a person and a future music therapist. 

My Swiftie Origin Story

As a child I listened mainly to country music. Country music is very male-heavy, which, while I enjoyed it, didn’t resonate with me as a 9-year-old girl. I think this is why Taylor Swift’s music stood out to me. Her music was country, but held a similarity to the music in other media I was consuming, like Disney Channel. Taylor Swift’s debut album was one of the first CDs I owned and I was hooked from there.

Inspiration to Learn

As a child, seeing videos of Taylor Swift playing the guitar excited me. I wanted to play the guitar like Taylor Swift. I received a guitar for Christmas when I was in the 6th grade and I attempted to learn to play it for years to come. Taylor Swift’s songs were a helpful tool for me while I was learning how to play the guitar, ukulele and the piano. I used songs like “Mean” and “Stay Stay Stay” to learn and become comfortable with bar chords on the guitar. When I did my guitar and piano competencies in college, I used the songs “New Years Day” and “Stay Stay Stay.”

Soundtrack to My Life

Taylor Swift’s songs have a reputation for being about relationships and breakups. However, there are many songs that I was able to relate to as a child and then teenager listening to her music. Using Taylor Swift’s music, I learned how to emotionally relate and identify with songs. Additionally, I have many memories associated with the songs and albums of Taylor Swift.

  • “I’m Only Me When I’m With You” makes me think of my elementary school friendships. 
  • “Mean” got me through the ups and downs of middle school.
  • Her album, 1989, brings me back to driving around my hometown as a teenager with old friends.
  • Her album, Lover, brings me back to driving around Macomb, Il with my friends in college.
  • Her albums, Folklore and Evermore were bright spots to an otherwise dark year, 2020. 
  • “This is Me Trying” was a support for me during the stressful times in my senior year of college. 

A Uniting Factor

Taylor Swift’s songs have been a uniting factor in my life. I bonded with people in college who later became my friends because of Taylor Swift songs. Additionally, I have bonded over Taylor Swift songs with professors and supervisors. Since Taylor Swift is a very widely beloved singer, discussing and using Taylor Swift songs helped me build rapport with clients and patients who are Taylor Swift fans. 

Without a doubt, I wouldn’t be the person and musician I am today without Taylor Swift and her music. I am incredibly grateful for her music and am so excited about what she is going to do next.

Happy Taylor Swift Day!!!


Intern’s Corner – Week 12

Many music therapists make use of song rewrites of familiar songs with clients. In honor of the Holiday season and my 12th blog post, I decided to do a rewrite of the 12 Days of Christmas based on my internship experience. I give you: The 12 Days of Christmas at MTC!

On the first day of Christmas at MTC…

I Practiced One Piano Piece

I have been working on my piano skills lately, particularly practicing Silent Night.

I Read Two Singable Stories

We make use of singable stories during Listen and Learn sessions and our sessions at the Hope School.

I Talked with Three Supervisors

I work directly with three music therapists at MTC: Katey, Molly and Emma.

I Went to Four Contract Site

With the MTC music therapists, I go to four contract sites to conduct music therapy sessions: St. John’s Children’s Hospital, The Hope School, SPARC and Concordia Senior Services.

I Wrote Five Session Notes

After each session, we write sessions notes based on what happened during the session and the client’s goals and objectives.

I Strummed Six Guitar Strings

The guitar is the instrument that I use the most on a daily basis when working with clients.

I Sang Seven Listen and Learn Song

I have learned many Listen and Learn songs that I use during Listen and Learn sessions, at the Hope School and with patients at St, John’s Children’s Hospital.

I Played Eight Colorful Chimes

We use a set of eight chimes with one of the clients we see at MTC and many of the patients at St. John’s Children’s Hospital.

I Made Nine Garageband Songs

As an intern, I am required to do weekly assignments. For these weekly assignments I have written nine songs and made recordings of them on Garageband.

I Shook Ten Egg Shakers

I’ve found that giving clients instruments, particularly shakers are a great way to encourage participation!

I Lead Eleven Interventions

I’m not quite leading full sessions yet, but I lead many music therapy interventions a week with our clients during sessions.

I Wrote Twelve Blog Posts

Another one of my internship assignments is creating weekly blog posts. I have now written 12 Intern’s Corner blog posts!

I hope you enjoyed The 12 Days of Christmas at MTC!

Intern’s Corner – Week 11

Thanksgiving has sadly come and gone. The silver lining to Thanksgiving being over is that it’s now officially the Christmas/holiday season! I am so excited for all of the baking and Hallmark movies that the next month has in store. I have always had a love for Christmas music, so I’m going to ring in the season by sharing some of my favorite Christmas/Holiday songs!

O Come, O Come Emmanuel

I have known this song since I was a young child. However, it didn’t become one of my favorites until I was in the 5th grade. I was a member of a traveling choir at my school, which O Come O Come Emmanuel was a part of our Christmas set that year. Ever since then this song has had a special place in my heart. 

My favorite lyric: “Rejoice, Rejoice Emmanuel.”

City of Silver Dreams and Gold and Green

When I was a child, my mom LOVED the band, Sugarland. One year she bought Sugarland’s Christmas album: Gold and Green. I spent many Christmases listening to this album and still give it a listen at least once during the Christmas season. Out of the songs on this album the songs City of Silver Dreams and Gold and Green are my favorites. They are both very pretty ballads that bring about a feeling of nostalgia for me.

My favorite lyric from City of Silver Dreams: “Snowy night, catch the light, shimmer bright, Angels sing.” My favorite lyric from Gold and Green: “And everything looks better in gold and green, The lights on the trees in the eyes of our children, Are the prettiest I’ve ever seen.”

The 12 Days of Christmas

The 12 Days of Christmas is a song that I have always found to be really fun! It’s a long song, but easy to sing along with and the imagery is so fun to me. The music therapy adaptations for this song are really fun too! The song is a good template for song rewrites and adaptations. Additionally it is a great song to reinforce academic skills, particularly counting up and back. Since it is a well known song it is also a great song to encourage participation by having clients sing along and fill in words.

My Favorite Lyric: “On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love sent to me: 12 Drummers Drumming.”

Christmas Tree Farm

Everyone who knows me, knows that I am a BIG fan of Taylor Swift. Taylor Swift had released a short Christmas album in 2007 that I didn’t enjoy, I have held onto hope she would release new Christmas music at some point. Two years ago, Taylor Swift unexpectedly dropped a Christmas song, which was everything I could have wanted from a Taylor Swift song and a Christmas song. Christmas Tree Farm is an upbeat bop that feels so Christmassy to me!  Taylor Swift has recently released a jazzy version of Christmas Tree Farm, which I love so much too.

Favorite Lyric: “In my heart is a Christmas tree farm where the people would come to dance under sparkling lights.”

O Holy Night

During my freshman year of college, I was going to take part in a Christmas concert at a student center that I was actively involved in. On a whim I chose to sing O Holy Night as my solo for this concert. Not many people attended this concert, but I felt really good about the performance I gave. The beginning of my freshman year of college was a very stressful time for me, but singing this song really helped raise my self esteem. Ever since then, this song has held a special place in my heart

Favorite Lyric: “Fall on your knees and hear the angels voices.”

Happy beginning to the Christmas/Holiday season! I’m excited to get to sing and play our clients favorite Christmas/Holiday songs with them. Hope you all get the opportunity to sing and hear your favorite Christmas/Holiday songs this year!

Intern’s Corner – Week 10

Happy Thanksgiving week all! As it is the week of thanksgiving, I wanted to recognize the music therapists who I am thankful for. These music therapists have inspired and impacted my music therapy journey greatly.

Music Therapists Who Piqued my Interest

When I was in 8th grade I made the decision that I wanted to go into music. My mom started telling me about a daughter of a friend of hers, Hannah. My mom told me that Hannah was a music therapist and encouraged me to look into music therapy as a career. I have not gotten to meet Hannah, but I hope someday I will get to meet and thank her!

I am thankful for Hannah because without her I wouldn’t have discovered the music therapy profession. 

When I was a sophomore in high school I was telling everyone that I was planning on studying music therapy, but I wasn’t quite sold yet. At this time, an acquaintance of mine was sharing pictures of their young cousin’s cancer journey on social media. This acquaintance shared a photo of a music therapist working with their cousin at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. I can pinpoint seeing that picture was what really solidified in me that music therapy is what I wanted my career to be. Prior to starting internship I decided to look on social media to see if I could find that picture. Upon finding that picture, I recognized that music therapist to be Amy Love, the music therapist at St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital.

I am thankful for Amy Love, because seeing just a glimpse of her work solidified in me that music therapy was what I wanted to pursue.

The Western Illinois University Music Therapy Staff

The Western University music therapy department has been incredibly influential on me as a music therapist in training. I auditioned for three schools, but I am beyond grateful that I chose WIU. I am especially grateful because I had the opportunity to meet and work with the music therapy staff at WIU.

  • I am thankful for Dr. Garwood, who introduced me to the profession of music therapy during Introduction to Music Therapy. 
  • I am thankful for Mr. Holbrook, who was my first music therapy practicum supervisor.
  • I am thankful for Mrs. Coovert, who always pushed me to be my best as my practicum supervisor for two semesters.  
  • I am thankful for Mrs. Sevcik, who I learned so much from from as a teacher and a supervisor.
  • I am thankful for Dr. Jones, who helped me so much as a teacher, advisor, supervisor, and mentor.

Overall, I am thankful to the WIU Music Therapy staff for giving me solid foundation for my music therapy journey.

The Music Therapy Connections Staff

The Music Therapy Connections staff are the newest music therapists to come into my life, but that doesn’t decrease how thankful I am for them! The staff at MTC has introduced me to many different populations, ways of thoughts and techniques.

  • I am thankful for Katey, who has introduced me to the pediatric medical setting and has been a great person to talk through many of my anxieties as an intern.
  • I am thankful for Molly, who I have learned so much from about working with groups and giving piano lessons. 
  • I am thankful for Emma, who I have learned much from about working in schools and has challenged me to go outside my comfort zone. 
  • I am thankful for Rachel, who I learned so much from about being a business owner and the music therapy community. 
  • I am thankful for Cicely, who has been my friend for 4 years now and whose friendship I highly value. 

Overall, I am thankful that I have the opportunity to complete my internship at MTC and learn under all of these wonderful music therapists.

My Friends and Peers

Finally, I am so thankful for all of my peers and friends that I learned with during my four years at WIU. I am thankful for all of the wonderful learning experiences I have had with my peers. Additionally, I am thankful for all of the wonderful memories of working and learning with all of them.

  • I am thankful for my fellow 2021 graduates, I’m fortunate that had the opportunity to learn and work with you all.
  • I am thankful for the other WIU music therapy students I had the opportunity to meet and work with.
  • I am thankful for Rebecca, who was the best roommate/friend I could have asked for and I whose collaborations I highly value.

Overall, I am thankful to have them as a part of my music therapy journeys and to have been apart of their music therapy journeys, as well.

There are so many other people in the music therapy community that I am thankful for. I am so thankful for the for all of the music therapists and music therapy students I have encountered on my music therapy journey. Additionally, I am thankful to you for reading! Happy Thanksgiving All!!!


Interns Corner – Week 9

A phrase that has come to my mind a lot this past week is “one step forward, three steps back.” Other than this being an incredibly catchy Olivia Rodrigo song, “one step forward and threes steps back” is a commonly used phrase about progress. According to Google, this phrase means:

“You make progress but then experience events that cause you to be further behind than you were when you made the progress.”

I have related to this phrase often during my internship. I constantly have this feeling I’m progressing in some ways, then finding other places I have deficits in. This puts me in an often stressful place that feels like I’m back to where I started or even behind where I should be. The following topics are things that I have realized about growth and learning during my internship.

Learning Never Stops

When I started as a student, I perceived that college is where a music therapist learns everything. Then internship is where that knowledge is put into practice. This isn’t reality; there is so much to be learned during internship and beyond. I am learning so much during my time in internship. I am learning more about myself as a therapist, musician and person. The more I learn, the more I realize there is to learn. Learning and growth is never ending.

Imposter Syndrome

Imposter syndrome adds to this feel of going one step forward and three steps back. According to Google imposters syndrome is “feelings of self-doubt and personal incompetence that persist despite your education, experience, and accomplishments.” I have accomplished a lot and went to college for music therapy for 4 years. Even with this, I feel imposter syndrome almost every day. It seems at times as soon as I am feeling comfortable with one area, I find another area that I am not comfortable with. These two ideas feed each other, leading to stress, anxiety and feelings of inadequacy.

Finding New Places for Growth

I worked very hard on my musical skills throughout my life. However, performing music for new people brings up nerves and stress that can affect how I play. Additionally, my supervisors have different musical techniques that I didn’t learn when I was in college. I came into internship feeling like a fairly confident musician, but I’ve quickly seen areas where I can still grow. I’ve had to learn that it’s not a bad thing to find new areas in which I can grow.

From talking with my supervisors I have learned that feeling like you’re continually going one step forward and three steps back is a shared feeling that stays with you your whole life. I am still in my schooling and in a transition period in my life during internship. Right now the feeling of stepping back can feel so huge and the steps forward so small sometimes. 

The idea of going one step forward and two steps back can seem like a negative thing, but I’m realizing that there are positives to it. It helps me remember that I can’t be perfect and there are always places for me to grow. It helps to remind me that I can celebrate my steps forward, but give myself kindness for the perceived steps back. Even with the positives, this feeling can bring anxiety and lower my confidence. I just keep reminding myself that each step, not matter how big or small it feels, is taking me closer and closer to my goals.