Sometimes being a music therapist is hard. Music therapy, like parenting or teaching, is seldom a cut-and-dried job, and every once in a while I have to question whether what I’m doing is right, or best, or even working at all. Since I don’t have any music therapists as colleagues in my proximity, it’s almost always my students and their parents who provide that feedback.
As the summer begins and I prepare to take on several new clients and students in my private practice, I find myself second-guessing my work more frequently than usual. This can be a little overwhelming, but it’s actually a useful tool that I think is helping me grow as a music therapist. It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut and rely on the interventions that have worked in the past, but I hate the thought of being like those teachers who teach the same lessons, assign the same homework, and give the same tests year after year. I’m much too creative for that :)
In the last few days I’ve had the opportunity to do quite a bit of self-reflecting, and in that time I’ve also been lucky to have several positive affirmations passed my way. The first was in the form of my end-of-the-year evaluation at school, where the music therapy program rests in my hands. Talk about pressure! But the wonderful feedback I received gives me great peace of mind. I had a similar experience with several parents of children who attend my music therapy class at The Autism Program…one even said that it was the “best music experience” her child ever had. That was huge.
But the best affirmation I’ve received all week, I think, came from my 2-year-old niece Kaitlin, who lives in Denver. Her mom accidentally left the CD I recorded and sent her at home, instead of bringing it to play in the car on the way to daycare as usual. Well, Kaitlin was not having this at all, and threw a tantrum all the way there. “I want Aunt Rachel singing!!!” were her words, I believe. Upon hearing this, I made a second CD (with all new songs for my sister’s sake) and sent it out immediately!
These are the things that inspire me every day, and assure for me that I’m in the right place. My job might not be the easiest, and it may not be the highest-paying, but the benefits are countless.