Music Therapy at The Hope Institute

A little over four years ago, I began my professional career as a music therapist at The Hope Institute in Springfield, Illinois.  Although many of my new coworkers at Hope, a residential school for children with multiple disabilities, were unfamiliar with music therapy, they were amazingly supportive of me as I started developing the program.

At the same time, I was slowly growing a private practice.  After an 8-hour day at Hope, I hit the road as a traveling music therapist and voice/piano/guitar teacher, working with my students in their homes.  I did this 5 afternoons a week, for two years, until my husband and I moved into our new home and I opened a home studio.

Ten private students increased to 20, which eventually increased to 30.  I loved the work that I was doing at Hope, and I loved the work I was doing in my private practice.  Life was good.

But life was also exhausting.  When I added my church music job, elected IAMT officer position, and Listen & Learn to the mix, I sometimes marveled at the fact that I actually found time to sleep.  Oh yea…and then there was my husband and dog, with whom I was spending less and less time.

12-hour workdays were doable, at least for the time being.  But what would happen when Zach and I started a family?  And was it really good for my health to be this busy and stressed all the time?  I found myself asking these questions on a daily basis.

So what did I do?  I took on new students.  Over 20 of them, actually, totaling to 52 private students for the upcoming summer and fall sessions.

And then I made the scariest and most exciting decision of my entire life thus far: I gave notice of my resignation at The Hope Institute.

This moment, which I had been dreading, turned out to be like something out of a fairy tale.  My principal told me that I would be greatly missed, but that he completely understood my decision and supported it wholeheartedly.  And then upon my recommendation, Hope hired Karen, my wonderful intern who has been such a blessing to the music therapy program this year.

I am infinitely grateful to my colleagues and students for providing me with such an amazing, challenging, rewarding, overwhelming, fun, and educational experience these past four years.  My work at Hope not only gave me credibility in my community, but it also connected me with so many people who enriched my life and opened the door to countless opportunities.

I’m going to miss this place.  But as sad as I am to be leaving, I’m equally excited about this new chapter in my life.  Going full-time with my private practice will be a challenge, to be sure, but it will also allow me the flexibility and free time I’ve not had thus far in my career.

June 2 is my last official day at Hope.  I’m going to enjoy this final month to the fullest, and then prepare for what promises to be quite an exciting adventure.  I hope you’ll come along with me.

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