Where do you work and who are your clients?
I work at Cortica, a pediatric outpatient clinic forneurodiverse individuals. Cortica is a unique place to work because we use a holistic approach and offer not only therapeutic services, but neurologic and medical services as well. I get to work alongside Occupational Therapists, Music Therapists, Speech Therapists, BCBA’s, neurologists, medical doctors and nurse practitioners. My clients range in age (2-14) and range in neurodiversity (Autism, ADHD, Epilepsy, ADD, etc.).
What is your favorite part of your profession?
One of my favorite parts of my job is seeing how music can effect change. I’m a Neurologic Music Therapist and it’s really fascinating to learn the effects music can have on the brain. I also love getting creative with the aesthetics of music (rhythm, tempo, instrumentation) to prompt responses from my clients.
What inspired you to become a music therapist?
I’ve been playing the violin since I was 4 and have always had a passion and love for music. I wanted to find a profession that mixed my love of music and my passion for helping others. It wasn’t until high school when I first came across music therapy. I was in an orchestra rehearsal and one of the cello players was talking about majoring in music therapy. She made it sound so intriguing. At the time, my sister was an undergrad at the University of Iowa and she told me that music therapy was offered as a major. I immediately emailed the professors and music therapists at the University of Iowa to set up a meeting. After meeting with as many music therapists as I could, I felt this overwhelming sense of happiness, pride and excitement. I finally found what I wanted to do. The next year, I was sitting in my first music therapy course at the University of Iowa…and the rest is history.
What do you do for self-care?
I’m a HUGE Harry Potter fan, so I listen to the books on audible. I’m also a big foodie and I love to cook. Cooking for myself and my family brings me so much joy. I play the violin, listen to music as often as I can, journal, go to therapy and go to the spa. Recently, I’ve been buying myself flowers every Sunday as a self-love gesture. I’ve also found myself interested in podcasts recently; one of my favorites is called “Be Well Sis”. It’s a podcast geared towards black women and discusses self-care, wealth management, community, mental health and radical self-acceptance.
What’s one piece of advice you have for students and/or new music therapists in the field?
Take care of yourself. Our jobs are uplifting, fun, exciting and creative. But our jobs are also hard, demanding, challenging and emotionally taxing. We see, hear and experience a lot on a daily basis. It’s important to remember to take care of yourself, whether that be mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally. Remember to fill your cup. I wish I had heard this at the beginning of my clinical practice. It’s something I’ve had to learn and I think I’ll always need to revisit. Take care of YOU.