Interview performed by Bri Schrage
What is your title?
-I am considered a music therapist
How did you get started in this career?
- I learned about the career of music therapy when a music therapist came to present to my high school choir class my senior year. I have always loved music, but didn't want to be a performer or teacher. I wanted to help people and work with people who have special needs, or in a medical setting, so I was planning on going to school for nursing. After I saw the music therapy presentation I decided to look into that, and I never looked back! I love it.
What education would you need to be in this field?
-You need at least a bachelors degree in music therapy. If you have your bachelors in something else you need to go back to get a masters in music therapy. After your masters your need to do a 6 month internship and pass a certification exam.
Is it more playing music with/for children or is it teaching them music?
-It is much more than playing music with kids or teaching music! Music therapists are therapists. We assess the needs of our clients, create goals, develop treatment plans, track progress, document, and reassess. Goals vary according to the population. In a pediatric hospital, goals often include promoting self-expression, decreasing perception of pain, or easing distress. Music therapists who work in nursing homes also use music to decrease agitation, promote reality orientation, and promote socialization. In rehab settings, music therapists work alongside physical therapists to encourage movement in various areas of the body as well as provide emotional support. Each of these goals are reached through music interventions. Interventions could include singing, instrument playing, lyric discussion, songwriting, etc.
What is most challenging part of your job?
-I work in a medical setting, often with children who are in critical condition or with the families whose children are dying, so emotionally it can be very hard. Not all settings are so emotionally demanding, though, so don't let that scare you away! In Indiana, many many many music therapists work with individuals who have special needs and receive music therapy services on the Medicaid waiver. These music therapists often drive to their clients homes for sessions.
What is your favorite part of your job?
-One of the great things about music therapy is that there are so many different settings music therapists can work! I love my job. I love that I get to use music to promote healing emotional and physical. I love bringing peace into stressful situations.