Sunday, October 28, 2007

A Helping Hand...
For the October version of the public relations brochure that my facility sends out to friends and family, I was asked to write an article about music therapy. I love opportunities like this and relish the chance to offer both the official definition of music therapy and my own interpretation of music therapy. It is an interesting exercise to sit down and write out what you believe. I try to do this every couple of years, especially when I'm preparing to train others in music therapy skills. If you don't examine your own philosophy, I feel you run the risk of becoming stagnant and burning out of the profession. That hasn't happened to me yet. I think the philosophical review helps.

Saturday, October 27, 2007


One of the things I like to know about music therapists is how they found out about music therapy in the beginning. Here's mine.

My story starts with my mother, the Occupational Therapist. I knew what OT was and who OT's worked with and I liked the idea of being in a helping profession. I was always the kid that kids with special needs sought out - classmates, strangers, you name it, if there was a diagnosis involved, the kid would find me and quickly be my best friend. I also enjoyed singing and playing the trumpet. The singing is what eventually led me to music therapy. I went to a Girl Scout Wider Opportunity in 1984. The Wider Opportunity program offered professional experiences for older scouts. Mine was in Evansville, Indiana at the University of Evansville and was a fine and performing arts seminar. I spent two weeks in Indiana with 104 other scouts from around the country. I was a vocalist and in addition to master classes and choir rehearsal, we also attended lectures on "Careers in Music." The last lecture was led by a professor in the Music Education department of the University. I listened (I had thought about being a music teacher). At the end of the lecture, the professor casually stated, "Oh, there is another degree offered here. The music therapy professor couldn't be here, but she left some information for you." I went over and picked up a poor replica of the NAMT propaganda of the mid-80's - a brief definition of MT and a list of the schools that offered degrees. Something in my head clicked and I knew that I would be a music therapist. After that, all of my choices were based on the certainty that I would be a music therapist. Nothing else felt right. I thought I would get an additional degree in another field (to increase my marketability, of course), but I realized that I would be wasting my time in another field. All I really want to do is music therapy.

If there are other MTs who stumble upon this blog, please send me a comment describing your entry into MT - I am really interested!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

So, only you, Tawnya, will be really missing me, but I'm back from a blogging hiatus! Today's topic...
Interns, or Teaching the next generation!
I love being a Clinical Trainer. I like the challenge of encouraging others to find their own way in the world of music therapy. It always opens my eyes to what MT is and can be when I see my interns learning and growing and discovering.
I have two interns right now, a phenomenon that I have not experienced since the heady days of Gina and Lindsey. Training two is harder than training one - I can't always keep track of what I have told each one of them, so have to take copious notes! On the other hand, they are teaching each other quite a bit about music therapy.
One of the reasons that I have been avoiding having two at once is the potential for personality conflicts. The two interns that are with me right now are well-matched. They are both teasers, sarcastic, and appear to enjoy each other as well as the clients we serve. I have really lucked out! I guess, right now I am interested in watching them as they stretch their MT wings and show me new places to go. I am also looking forward to finding my own creativity - interns do that for me!
Hope to see you in Louisville - good night, viewers!!