The Life of a Music Therapist During a Pandemic | Listen & Learn Music

Wow, what a wild ride the past half year has been! It’s been an interesting several months, and I’m so glad to be back on the blog to share what life as a music therapist has looked like during this time.

Going back to my previous posts, the last one I shared was in February: A Week in the Life of a Music Therapist. Little did I know that the world would soon be flipped upside down with a pandemic. As I’m sure many people have experienced, my typical week does not look much like it did back in February!

As Illinois began sheltering-in-place in March, Music Therapy Connections had to temporarily close its doors. Clients still needed their services and students continued lessons, so we made a quick jump into virtual services.

Virtual Services

Transitioning into the virtual world was a process. This included trying to determine which interventions would work virtually, getting used to the lag time, and dealing with internet connection issues. Though it wasn’t always easy, many good things came out of it as well.

Music Therapy Connections decided to use Zoom for our services. This provided many new opportunities for us to discover. The screen share function allowed us to share visuals, song recordings, drawings, and more, directly to the student or client’s screen. This brought additional learning opportunities, and I even saw many clients and students thrive in this environment!

From March through August, I spent my full work week in front of a screen. (Thank goodness for blue light glasses!) Each day consisted of working on projects and prepping in the mornings, with a mix of music therapy sessions and music lessons in the afternoons. The number of clients/students I saw virtually each day ranged from 4-8!

Though providing virtual services has its challenges, I’m so grateful for all I have learned through the experience. Be on the lookout for future blog posts highlighting the highs and lows of my time with telehealth and virtual lessons!

Return Back In Person

After 5 months of strictly virtual services, Music Therapy Connections was able to reopen its doors. The excitement that I felt to get back to seeing my students and clients in person again was overwhelming!

Of course, we have been taking proper precautions to keep everyone safe. It has been another transition for both myself and my clients to return back in person. Adjusting to new guidelines, tolerating wearing masks, seeing their therapist or teacher in new personal protective equipment, and maintaining social distance can be difficult, but the adaptability of everyone I work with has been phenomenal!

Since August, we have offered the option to our MTC families to remain virtual or return in person. I currently am seeing about half of my caseload in person, and the other half has continued virtually. I’ve also been lucky to have my caseload increase throughout this time as well! I continue to prep in the mornings, record videos and create materials for my school contract, and see approximately 8 students and clients each day.

Though things have not been easy, I’ve learned valuable lessons along the way. As this is my first year of being a board-certified music therapist, I think the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that I am capable and adaptable. It gives me confidence knowing that I can handle whatever is thrown at me.

What has your professional life looked like during this pandemic? What have you learned about yourself? Let us know in the comments!