My Brush with Burnout as a First-Year Music Therapist

Today I want to tell you a quick story about how I came dangerously close to burning out my very first summer as a music therapist.

As a brand new professional and the first-ever music therapist in a school for children with multiple disabilities, I felt an immense amount of pressure to make a good impression and be incredibly effective.

So prior to starting my first week there, I spent nearly every waking hour of each day going through music books, doing google searches, and collecting songs that might possibly be applicable to my students. I spent a whole lot of money I didn’t have on new materials, thinking that I needed to build up my music therapy repertoire.

I remember sitting in the middle of my spare bedroom, surrounded by songbooks and photocopies, feeling completely overwhelmed. I wondered if this was going to be a regular part of my work as a music therapist.

When it came time to actually work with my students, I realized that I still had to make a ton of adaptations to the music I had spent countless hours collecting. I felt like I was reinventing the wheel with each session I planned, and I was EXHAUSTED. Not to mention super stressed.

After a few months of this, I gave up combing through existing songs and materials. I started writing my own songs, tailored to my students but that were super adaptable so that I could adjust them based on specific goals and objectives.

I enjoyed writing my own songs so much more than searching through other people’s, and I also understood that this could potentially help other music therapists who felt like I did in the very beginning. That’s why I started Listen & Learn Music.

Thinking back to that summer was a big reason I created the Essential Listen & Learn Collection, and why I made it available at the beginning of the summer. I want to help YOU build up your repertoire with my tried and true songs rather than have you spend countless hours doing what I did all those years ago.

I made a quick video to tell you more, and share one of my songs from the collection:

Essential Collection Video

Tell me: can you relate at all? Watch the video, and then let me know in the comments or via email if you’ve had a similar experience when it comes to planning and repertoire building.

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